Józef Mackiewicz was constantly attacked for his uncompromising anti-communist attitude or for loudly raising issues that were taboo in society. The writer was particularly accused of an alleged collaboration with the Germans, which was due to the publication of his texts in the German “Goniec Codzienny”(eng. Daily Messenger). So what were these texts about?
During the German occupation in 1941, Mackiewicz was offered the position of editor-in-chief of the German daily “Goniec Codzienny”, published in Polish. The writer flatly refused. Czesław Ancerewicz became the editor. The magazine was published on July 26, 1941. From that day, Mackiewicz, the journalist, returns, publishing five of his articles in the pages of “Goniec”, signed with the initials of J.M.
The first article, entitled “We’ve survived the ghostly reality”, contains a story about the Soviet massacre of the Prowieniszki camp. In the introduction, the author justifies why he writes in the German “gadzinówka”: “I use the first columns printed in Polish to ask them for hospitality. I don’t know if it was more of a longing to write or a hatred of the Bolsheviks. In any case, I am not ashamed of either of these feelings.”
The text also defines and criticizes the Bolshevik system: “If someone asked me for the most essential definition of the Bolshevik system, I would say: an ideal state devoid of public opinion. A state that has reduced the concept of citizenship to the concept of slavery. ” At the end of the text, he presents his ideological attitude: “In this last war, I would rather not be a Pole than defile myself with an alliance with the world’s greatest enemy – the Bolshevik state.”
Then there were four episodes of the article “My discussion with the NKVD” (dates: 31.VII, 1.VIII, 2. VIII, 3.VIII.), In which Mackiewicz refrains from assessing and criticizing politics, and describes in detail his arrest and interrogation by the NKVD. He published a fictionalized version of this story in the novel “Droga donikąd” (eng. Road to nowhere).
The article “It would only be a defeat” (10th of August) is devoted to a deep criticism of the Bolsheviks, presents the enemy of all nations – the Soviets and their threat to the whole world. The author sees the only salvation: “only Germany can save Europe from the Bolshevik plague” and adds: “Germany’s victory over the Soviets should not be doubted.” Finally, the author comments that an agreement between the Anglo-Soviet coalition would be “for Poles the greatest disaster surpassing all the previous ones in history.”
The last article by Józef Mackiewicz, entitled “The Prophet from Popiszek” was included in four episodes (October 7-10, 1941). It is a fictionalized reportage about the “miracle” in the village of Popiszki, which was later included in the novel “Droga donikąd”.
In the subsequent issues of the Daily Messenger of 1941-1942, there were no texts with the signatures of J.M. Probably the reason for the discontinuation of the publication was that J. Mackiewicz quickly noticed the bestial attitude of the Nazis towards the population of the occupied territories and adhered to the view of “no cooperation with the occupant”.
The last publication of Mackiewicz in “Goniec Codzienny” was his account of his stay in Katyn, entitled “I saw with my own eyes,” which was released on June 3, 1943. As he wrote: “At a secret meeting held at Kalwaryjska Street in Vilnius, it was decided that I should not only go, but at the request of the Germans (…) I should publish an article in their Daily Messenger. (…) Not having confidence in this last decision, I stated that at best I would give an interview about what I had seen”.There is no evidence that Józef Mackiewicz was the editor of “Goniec Codzienny”, while the texts published in “Goniec Codzienny” were probably his authorship. They appear in the novel Road to Nowhere and other publications of the writer, although he never admitted to them. Włodzimierz Bolecki in the monographic outline “Ptasznik z Wilna. About Józef Mackiewic” explains: “After revealing this fact, Mackiewicz would be immediately sentenced”.
Translated by Joanna Zawalska