Paczkowski, Andrzej 1938-
PACZKOWSKI, Andrzej 1938-
PERSONAL: Born 1938. Education: University of Warsaw, first degree, 1960, doctorate degree, 1966, Habilitation degree, 1975.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penn State University Press, 820 North University Drive, University Support Building 1, Suite C, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Historian and educator. Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland, assistant professor, 1975-91, professor of history, 1991—, director of Political History Laboratory. Collegium Civitas, professor. Member of board, Institute of National Remembrance.
AWARDS, HONORS: Polish Academy of Sciences prize; J. Mieroszewski Prize; Clio prize.
Zakopane i okolice, Sport i Turystyka (Warsaw, Poland), 1968.
Prasa polityczna ruchu ludowego (1918-1939), Panstwowe Wydaun (Warsaw, Poland), 1970.
Czwarta wladza; prasa dawniej i dzis, Wiedza Powszechna (Warsaw, Poland), 1973.
Prasa polonijna w latach, 1870-1939, Biblioteka Narodowa (Warsaw, Poland), 1977.
Prasa i spolecznosc polska we Francji w latach, 1920-1940, Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich (Wrocław, Poland), 1979.
(With Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Karel Bartosek, and Jean-Louis Margolin) The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, translated by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
The Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles fromOccupation to Freedom, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 2003.
Editor of Intermarium: An Online Journal of East Central European Postwar History. Member of editorial board, Harvard Project on Cold War Studies.
SIDELIGHTS: Historian Andrzej Paczkowski is a professor at the Institute for Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. In collaboration with colleagues Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Karel Bartosek, and Jean-Louis Margolin, he wrote The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. The book provides "the first global balance sheet of crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes since the October Revolution in 1917 in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union's European satellites, and the Soviet-backed countries in Asia and the Third World," stated Jolanta T. Pekacz in the Canadian Journal of History. Alan Ryan, writing in the New York Times Book Review, stated that "this is the body count of a colossal, wholly failed social, economic, political, and psychological experiment. It is a criminal indictment, and it rightly reads like one."
Originally published in France, The Black Book of Communism is based on extensive documentary evidence, particularly the newly opened Soviet archives once forbidden to Western researchers and journalists. "The crimes documented in this volume first and foremost document mass murder on a massive, spectacular scale; imprisonment and the institutionalization of forced labor on a similarly grand scale; the deprivation of people of a wide range of political, personal, or group freedoms and rights; and the adoption of policies resulting in widespread material deprivations (including famines) in the service of rapid industrialization and militarization," noted Paul Hollander in the Partisan Review. The authors estimate that between eighty-five and 100 million people were killed under Communism, murdered directly, left to die in prison camps, or slowly killed through enforced starvation and destructive hardship. These numbers include more than twenty million in the U.S.S.R.; sixty-five million in China; two million in North Korea; 1.5 million in Afghanistan; 1.7 million in Africa; and more than one million in Eastern Europe, reported Jeffrey Herf in the Washington Post Book World. The level of atrocity committed under Communist regimes, the authors assert, outstrips that of even the reviled Nazi regime.
For example, the "Great Leap Forward," a policy launched by Mao Tse Tung in China in 1959, led to orchestrated famines, widespread cannibalism, unrestrained repression and torture by the government, and the deaths of between twenty and forty-three million people. Another example occurred in a single day in 1920, in the North Caucasus, when "300 people were taken from their homes and executed as an example to the rest of the population," noted Michael Scammell in the New Republic. Conducted by the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, these public mass murders had a tremendous effect on local populations. "The victims were murdered as an instrument of intimidation, and in many cases their women and their children were thrown out of their homes and the women turned into prostitutes," Scammell stated. As time went on, the Cheka became uncontrollable and unstoppable, looting and killing at will. In Cambodia, the communist Khmer Rouge regime practiced the "deliberate elimination of the weak, the sick, and the infirm," Scammell noted, and condemned entire regions of the country to death.
As a contributor to The Black Book of Communism, Paczkowski focuses on atrocities committed against his homeland of Poland, considered the "enemy state" of Soviet Russia. He analyzes the political turmoil in Poland from 1917 to 1944 and discusses documented massacres that occurred in Poland and in Soviet-controlled areas of the country after 1939. Jack M. Lauber, writing in History: Review of New Books, related that "most of the chapter [contributed by Paczkowski] is devoted to the repression carried out by the Polish Communist government from 1944 to 1989, when mass terror was used in varying degrees of intensity."
The Black Book of Communism "is an extraordinary and almost unspeakably chilling book," Scammell remarked. "It is a major study that deepens our understanding of communism and poses a philosophical and political challenge that cannot be ignored." Scammell further commented that "Courtois and his collaborators have performed a signal service by gathering in one volume (for the first time, as far as I am aware) a global history of communism's crimes" committed in the communist-controlled areas of the world. The book's arguments "will be hard to refute," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, as the crimes and abuses are "all chillingly documented from conception to implementation." Lauber concluded that The Black Book of Communism "is an important book for anyone interested in understanding the role of communism in the twentieth century."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Canadian Journal of History, August, 2001, Jolanta T. Pekacz, review of The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, p. 311.
Foreign Affairs, March-April, 2004, review of TheSpring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2000, Jack M. Lauber, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. 99.
Insight on the News, November 13, 2000, Robert Stacy McCain, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. 26.
Journal of American History, December, 2001, Shane J. Maddock, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. 1156.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, winter, 2002, Amir Weiner, review of The Black Book of Communism, pp. 450-452.
New Republic, December 20, 1999, Michael Scammell, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. 32.
New York Times Book Review, January 2, 2000, Alan Ryan, review of The Black Book of Communism, pp. 12-13.
Partisan Review, spring, 2001, Paul Hollander, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. 306.
Publishers Weekly, August 23, 1999, review of TheBlack Book of Communism, p. 36.
Washington Post, January 23, 2000, Jeffrey Herf, review of The Black Book of Communism, p. X9.
Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DCWeb site,http://www.polandembassy.org/ (November 18, 2004), "Andrzej Paczkowski."
Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences Web site,http://www.isppan.waw.pl/english/ (December 17, 2004).*