Famed Polish Historian, Dies
Condensed from an article by Amy Rabideau
Silvers of the Milwaukee Sentinel Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Marian Kamil Dziewanowski, accomplished historian, writer and professor, died of natural causes at the age of 91 on February 18, 2005. A firm believer in the principle that "to rest is to rust," Dziewanowski began his active professional life in Berlin as a diplomatic news correspondent for a Polish agency during Hitler's rise to power. After being driven out of the Ukraine by Bolshevik revolutionaries, he and his family fled to Warsaw where his ancestors had lived 200 years earlier.
During his early days as a correspondent, Dziewanowski witnessed Adolph Hitler's war preparations and covered Benito Mussolinfs visit to German. "I had no doubts I was dealing with a band of criminals," he later stated.
When Hitler attacked Poland in September, 1939, Dziewanowski was serving in the Polish cavalry. On one day during the invasion, his unit fought the Germans on the western front in the morning, then the Russians on the eastern front in the afternoon. Later captured by the Russians, he managed to escape to Sweden, then made his way to England, where he served as instructor at the Institute of Parachutists and Saboteurs, preparing personnel for action in Germany.
Later appointed assistant military attache at the Polish government-in-exile in Washington, DC, he translated President Franklin Roosevelt's statements into Polish for Polish dignitaties.
After the War, Dziewanowski earned a doctorate in history at Harvard University and became a U.S. citizen in 1953. He taught at Boston College until 1965, then at Boston University until 1978, when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65. Due to pressure from the Milwaukee Polish community, a Polish Studies program was created at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1979. Dziewanowski taught in that program until mandatory retirement at age 70.
His wife of 58 years, Ada Dziewanowski, recalls, "He lived history, because of seeing Hitler, (Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph) Goebbels, Churchill and Roosevelt. He was in the same room with them, heard them speak. He was really a witness to history, starting with the revolution."
His books include Poland in the Twentieth Century, War at Any Price, and Russia in the 20th Century, histories of Poland, World War II, and Soviet Russia, respectively. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political science professor Donald Pienkos fondly remembers Dziewanowski as "one of the eminent scholars in the area of Polish history." Dziewanowski is survived by his wife, daughter Basta, son Jan, and grandsons.
M. Kamil Dziewanowski
Historian, journalist, author
Born Jun. 27, 1913, Zytomierz, Ukraine; came to U.S., 1947; son of Kamil and Zofia (Kamienska); married Ada (Karczewska); children: Barbara, Jan.
Education: Licencie en Droit, French Institute, Warsaw (Poland), 1937; Master of Laws (M.L.), University of Warsaw, 1937; Master of Arts (M.A.), 1949, Ph.D., 1951, Harvard University, Cambridge (MA).
Career: correspondent, Polish News Agency, Berlin (Germany), 1937-39; editor, BBC Radio, London (United Kingdom), 1941-44; assistant military attache, Polish Embassy, Washington (DC), 1944-45; prof., Boston College (MA), 1954-65, Boston University, 1965-79, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1979-83; visiting prof., European Graduate University, Florence (Italy), 1979; Retired.
Author: The Communist Party of Poland, 1959, 1976; Jozef Pilsudski, 1918-22, 1969; Poland in the 20th Century, 1977; A History of Soviet Russia, 5 editions, last 1992; War at any Price, 1987, 1990; Alexander I, 1990.
Member of: Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (P.I.A.S.A.); Kosciuszko Foundation.
Honors: Cross of Valor (2 times); fellowship, Ford Foundation, 1969; grants, American Philosophical Society, 1970, 1976, 1983; A. Jurzykowski Award, New York City, 1991; corresponding member, Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (Poland), 1991; Chivalry Cross-Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, L. Walesa, President of Poland, 1994
Served with: Polish Army, 2nd lieutenant, 1939-47
Affiliation: Roman Catholic
Languages: Polish, French, German, English, Latin
Hobbies: swimming, writing limericks, horsemanship
From: "Who's Who in Polish America" 1st Edition 1996-1997, Boleslaw Wierzbianski editor; Bicentennial Publishing Corporation, New York, NY, 1996