2017 Vol. 9 No. 1—Spring

Good Night, Cosmopoles

Nature’s fireworks: a giant cluster of ~3,000 stars called Westerlund 2

Welcome to our final issue of Cosmopolitan Review. It is hard to say good-bye to all our readers, both the old faithful ones and to new ones who keep discovering CR, often by casually browsing looking for something new and different about things Polish. We love hearing from all of you.

In this, our farewell issue we highlight some of our most popular articles – book reviews on history, culture and contemporary issues; feature stories about Polish kids – yesterday’s refugees – in Iran, India, Africa, New Zealand and Mexico; a prewar artist’s work discovered in India and his dramatic life; and many others that still attract new readers. And since by definition, a Review concentrates on reviews, we can’t bid you farewell without a couple of new ones. But there are a lot of great stories beyond the highlights – some by well-known authorities on the subject, others by young writers just finished, or even still completing, their studies. So do browse around.

You will also find some new work – a gripping review-essay by Tom Frydel; some commentary on the much-discussed film, The Zookeeper’s Wife; a look back on that most unusual program in Polish Studies and the birthplace of CR: Poland in the Rockies.

The much discussed and widely reviewed film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, based on Diane Ackerman’s book by the same title, could not help but come to our attention. In some cases, people wrote to ask how much of the story is true, and how much is fiction. One could be snarky and say, “Read the book.” But CR does not do snarky so, being long acquainted with the story, it is included in Irene Tomaszewski’s book Codename Żegota, (American edition 2010, first published in Canada in 1994), and is cited in Ackerman’s book, we decided instead to look up thirty-some reviews and then review the reviewers. Hope you enjoy it. Just one advance note: Jan Żabinski, a zoologist, and Antonina Żabinska, a successful nature writer, were infinitely more interesting, enterprising and gutsy than the Oscar-winning Oskar.

Tom Frydel returns to CR with a review/essay on Martin Winstone’s 2014 book aptly titled The Dark Heart of Hitler’s Europe: Nazi Rule in Poland Under the General Government. Nazi Germany’s colonial plans for Poland were the underpinning for the treatment of the population as savage as anything in King Leopold’s Belgian Congo, or indeed any colonial enterprise that existed for the sole purpose of exploitation and eventual elimination of the original population. And as always, the men who implemented the plans were mediocrities drunk with the sudden acquisition of power over conquered territories and over the lives of the people living there. Martin Winstone is a writer working with the London-based Holocaust Education Trust.

Frydel writes about Europe in mid-20th century, when it was a sea of violence that marked the nadir of European civilization, with the Nazis matching in cruelty anything that is now being visited on the people of Syria and Iraq by ISIS… and Poland was the heart of Europe’s darkness. Slavery, wholesale massacres of civilians, bombing of civilian targets including hospitals, women herded into brothels, public executions, medical experimentation on humans, and genocide.

If there is one word in the English language that is truly abused it is unique. It quite simply means one-of-a-kind and is not a synonym for fantastic, amazing and all other similarly abused words.

With that in mind, in this issue we are about to declare something unique: the program in Polish Studies called Poland in the Rockies. PitR, as it was affectionately called, was the petri dish that contained the medium for incubating creative cells, and that’s where CR was conceived. There really has never been anything like PitR – forty students and ten speakers from across North America gathered together in the Canadian Rockies to talk about Poland and Poles. As one journalist from Poland put it: “I have never been in the company of 50 Poles and all of them happy!” So with fond memories of those happy times CR proposes a toast to PitR’s founder, Tony Muszynski, and CR’s creator, Kinia Adamczyk.

Goodbye and thank you to all our readers, to our contributors, to our donors, and to Małgorzata Bonikowska and Tomek Kniat who stepped in to help in our final year.

CR: Irene TomaszewskiJustine JablonskaMaureen Mroczek Morris

CR publishes book + film reviews, interviews, profiles and more. All with a Polish slant, in English.
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  1. Simon Mayeski says:

    Will the site be still available for reading and research?

  2. Maureen Mroczek Morris Maureen Mroczek Morris says:

    Yes! Thank you for your interest.

  3. the cessation of publication of the CR leaves a big void in our hearts.
    Monika Malecka

  4. Małgorzata Dzieduszycka-Ziemilska says:

    You have done a marvelous job! I will go back to these texts. What a pitty that there is no continuation!

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