Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tygodnik Powszechny Publishes an Article on "Bieganski"

Tygodnik Powszechny, a Catholic Polish weekly magazine, is an historic publication. It was founded in 1945 under Adam Stefan Cardinal Sapieha, himself an historic personage who helped Poland survive Nazi and then Soviet occupation, and who mentored a young Karol Wojtyla.

Tygodnik Powszechny has published Maria Czapska, who had taken part in Zegota, Karol Wojtyla, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Leszek Kolakowski, Stanislaw Lem, Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert.

After anti-Semitic attacks in post World-War-II Poland, for example the Kielce pogrom, Tygodnik Powszechny was one of several "outstanding literary and public-interest weeklies" in Poland that protested. "The moral pitch of their articles is so high, so dramatic, so full of exasperation, that one reads them as mourning prayers." Poles "spoke in print, forming the republique de lettres and humanities of postwar Poland" according to "Lessons and Legacies: The Holocaust in International Perspective" (85).

Tygodnik Powszechny was closed in 1953 after refusing to print Stalin's obituary. Jerzy Turowicz, Tygodnik Powszechny's editor, decided that since he could say nothing good about Stalin, he would say nothing at all.

Under Soviet domination, Tygodnik Powszechny gave voice to the opposition. The Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Politics reports that it "constantly pushed the limits of censorship" and that editor Turowicz's "masterful Aesopian prose often transcended those limits."

Under Soviet domination, Tygodnik Powszechny was "Poland's best newspaper: the most reliable source of undoctored information, and the most stimulating forum for social commentary … [it] unmasked the ideological pretensions of the regime and sketched the contours of a truly democratic society with an intellectual integrity and depth that could not be approached by even the most sophisticated of the communist journals.

The regime constantly harassed Tygodnik Powszechny … [including] by manipulating its circulation through the government's control over newsprint … readers passed issues along through a network of intellectual dissent … there were also direct threats on editors and contributors … Bishop Karol Wojtyla was unofficial protector of the newspaper's staff." from "The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism" by George Weigel.

In January, 1987, Tygodnik Powszechny began a new era in Polish-Jewish relations when it published a groundbreaking essay by Jan Blonski, "The Poor Poles Look at the Ghetto."

Tygodnik Powszechny is the only publication, other than Italy's Il Tempo, to have interviewed Pope John Paul II.

After Czeslaw Milosz won the Nobel Prize, Tygodnik Powszechny was the only magazine in which he published his poems.

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Tygodnik Powszechny is scheduled to publish an article about "Bieganski: The Brute Polak Stereotype in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture" by Danusha V. Goska. The article is scheduled to appear in its May 29, 2011 issue, and I encourage interested readers to support Tygodnik Powszechny by purchasing a copy of the magazine and having a look.

I thank Magda Rittenhouse, author of the article. For his invaluable help, I am indebted to Witold Turopolski.

"Bieganski" is the cover story of the May 29, 2011 issue of Tygodnik Powszechny. 

Link to online preview of the article that will appear in full in the print version.

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Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
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