FURTHER FATE OF MACKIEWICZ’S PUBLICATIONS
When Józef Mackiewicz’s health began to deteriorate, Barbara Toporska, his life companion, more and more often sent potential publishers of Mackiewicz’s books to the emigrant Nina Karsov, who from the beginning fiercely torpedoed all publishing initiatives. Already in the 70s, a group of people friendly to Mackiewicz, grouped in the ‘Society of Friends of Józef Mackiewicz’s Works’, in Orlando, Florida, USA, had serious fear that the writer’s copyright had been appropriated by Nina Karsov-Szechter.
Barbara Toporska, tormented by the disease, did not lose understanding of reality, although Karsov considered her such. Even in the last moments of her life, Toporska never called Nina Karsov her daughter, which at the time was not so important, because everyone in exile knew that there was no relationship – family, racial, and especially ideological – between Nina Karsov-Szechter and Mackiewicz family. Mackiewicz himself never intended to entrust his literary heritage, or copyrights to her, to strangers. Especially, that he had few, but self-sacrificing friends in exile and in Poland the closest family, with whom he felt connected. Mackiewicz could not understand Nina Karsov-Szechter’s interest in his fate and literary output.
After Mackiewicz’s death in 1985, copyright was inherited by his life companion Barbara Toporska, who in turn gave it to Nina Karsov, the owner of the Kontra publishing house from London. Since 1994, copyright proceedings have been pending before the District Court in Warsaw for the works of Józef Mackiewicz, to whom the writer’s daughter and Nina Karsov are parties.
He transferred the rights to second-rate national editions to his daughter Halina, who, however, during martial law burnt papers because of the fear of a search, because the letter contained the names of people from the underground. However, after 1989, Nina Karsov-Szechter retained all rights and did not allow official national editions, explaining this with the “will of the deceased” given to her and consistently brought lawsuits to anyone who published wider fragments of his works without her consent.
Although Mackiewicz was against publishing his books in PRL publishing houses, he never said that he was against publishing his works in free Poland.