The 21st century, a digitized world with unlimited access to information in the blink of an eye. In the multitude of millions of texts, sources, books – some characters can, in a sense, become distant. This is because humans are simple-minded creatures who don’t want to strain themselves too much to get to the heart of the story. One of the figures who remained in the shadows is Józef Mackiewicz. His name rarely appears in the public space, sometimes only associated with his brother – Stanisław. So, according to the idea that what is popular is good, can we conclude that Józef Mackiewicz should not be important for society? I will try to convince you to get to know the great writer, publicist and staunch anti-communist.
The first and at the same time the key piece of the puzzle are the experiences of the author himself. He lived a story that cannot be told in one evening. From birth in St. Petersburg, moving to Vilnius, to experiences in the Polish-Bolshevik war. A very important element of his biography is also the account of the Katyn massacre, for which he was convicted by the Home Army – all this creates the image of a man who experienced such experiences that would suffice for several CVs.
“Only the truth is interesting” – this is Józef Mackiewicz’s life credo. It is worth getting acquainted with the genesis of this idea. As he said, “fiction itself bores me. So-called “fiction” of people or situations serves to supplement the truth that the author sees. Only God knows the whole truth, but the author is responsible in the description not only for what he sees, but also for what he sees and consciously conceals. Even more so if he does so on orders or under some other pressure from above. Regardless of the authorities or the mood of society, the landscape, the people in it, everything should be real. I am particularly interested in a man against the backdrop of historical documents,’ he said in one of his interviews in Munich in 1981. This quote allows us to see only a glimpse of what we can discover by reading Józef Mackiewicz’s works.
Another element convincing to get to know the author is his unorthodox, and at the same time extremely current for the young society, concept of patriotism. Today’s world is globalized and it is no discovery that this phenomenon is gaining strength. At the same time, deviations of extreme patriotism are growing, taking on more and more national-chauvinistic features. Józef Mackiewicz presents us with a naturalistic version of love for his homeland. It is the patriotism of the landscape – love for the country as it is, from beautiful architecture to nature. “Only the patriotism of the landscape embraces the whole – because the air, forests, fields, mud, and man – as a component of the landscape” – writes Mackiewicz in his book “Left Free”.
All this, as well as many other aspects of his life or even thoughts, create a person who not only can still shape views, ideas, visions – he is the personification of what we should be aware of, a history that cannot be escaped, which should be important for everyone, because it is responsible for creating the world. No one can tell us it better than the person who witnessed it first hand.