“The defeated guilty lived on in their victims:” Ashes and Diamonds by Jerzy Andrzejewski – A talk by Jaroslaw Anders

What: “The defeated guilty lived on in their victims:” Ashes and Diamonds by Jerzy Andrzejewski - A talk by Jaroslaw Anders followed by Q&A moderated by Dr. Malgorzata Pospiech

When: Tuesday, October 24, 2023, 4:00 PM ET

How to join: Zoom Webinar - registration link will be provided in September

Ashes and Diamonds, a novel published in 1948, continues to provoke heated debates and sharp divisions. A masterpiece of Polish prose or crude propaganda? A politically motivated attempt to discredit the anti-communist underground after 1945, or a bid to portray the tragic choices faced by the generation of the Home Army? And who was the author whose life follows a strangely convoluted not atypical course: a respected Catholic writer before the war, Czesław Miłosz’s colleague in literary underground during the Nazi occupation, a communist toady pilloried by Miłosz as “Alpha the Moralist” in The Captive Mind, and finally a dissident and co-founder of the Committee for the Defense of Workers?

Jaroslaw Anders discusses these and other questions surrounding the novel, the author, and Andrzej Wajda’s internationally acclaimed film against the backdrop of communist and post-communist cultural politics.


Jaroslaw Anders is a Polish literary critic, translator, and editor living in Washington DC. He is the author of Between Fire and Sleep: Essays on Modern Polish Poetry and Prose (Yale, 2009), and many essays published in The New York Review of BooksThe New RepublicThe Los Angeles Book Review, and other publications. He translated into Polish books by Susan Sontag, and into English Barbarian in the Garden by Zbigniew Herbert, Rondo by Kazimierz Brandys, and The Subtenant by Hanna Krall.

Dr. Malgorzata Pospiech is a writer, documentary filmmaker, journalist, and photographer. She is a published translator, including Arthur Penn in Conversations, 1992-1995 (appearing in 2011). Her three novels were long-listed for Central Europe Literary Award: A Little Town, 2014, Ariadne’s Labyrinth, 2017, and Fog over River Styx, 2019. Professor Pospiech is in charge of the Polish language and literature program in the Division of Russian and Slavic Studies at CUNY Hunter College.


The webinar is presented together with the Polish Program at CUNY Hunter College and is part of the Tadeusz Solowij Lectures of the Kosciuszko Foundation. It is free and open to the public. Spots are limited, and registration is required. In lieu of admission, a donation towards the KF Cultural Fund is appreciated.

Featured visual: a frame from the movie “Ashes and Diamonds” by Andrzej Wajda based on the novel by Jerzy Andrzejewski.

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