The authors of Marek Edelman: Being on the Right Side Witold Bereś and Krzysztof Burnetko met at the Washington D.C. office of the Kosciuszko Foundation with representatives of the American Polonia. The meeting had an emotional factor (a screening of a movie about Marek Edelman, which was a part of the evening, had a huge impression on many guests) and the guests had endless questions and comments.
But the venue itself had a yet a different dimension.
First, Barbara Bernhard, director of the Washington office of the foundation, said jokingly, that there are some connections between Marek Edelman and Tadeusz Kościuszko. In fact, it is not a joke: The Kościuszko struggle for equality (between peasants and townspeople) is well known. Yet, it is not widely known that Kościuszko, before he took an oath at the Cracow Square (as the leader of an insurrection), visited the nearby Jewish town of Kazimierz and assured the Jews that they were citizens of the Polish Republic with full rights. Few in Poland also know that Kościuszko, who received an estate in the U.S. from the American government for his struggle for American independence, decided to free the slaves he received together with the estate. Beyond any doubt, such attitudes would be extremely dear to Marek Edelman.
There is little wonder, therefore, that Prof. Bruno Damiani from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. in his word of thanks said that the discussion was excellent and thought stimulating about the very said chapter of the Second World War, in particular, the Polish history.
In turn, John Feffer, American journalist with interest in Poland’s modern history, reminisced about his unsuccessful attempt to meet Marek Edelman, a fact he regrets until now. He added that the idea to show the Kościuszko story anew was very intriguing.
Will the theme reemerge in future? The time will show.
John Feffer remembers Marek Edelman:
At the Kosciuszko Foundation Washington office: from L to R: Krzysztof Burnetko, consul Sławomir Zagórski, director Barbara Bernhard, Witold Bereś