Lifelong Struggle of Polish Professor Is Study in Freedom

By McClellan, Bill | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 14, 1996 | Go to article overview

Lifelong Struggle of Polish Professor Is Study in Freedom


McClellan, Bill, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


LIKE EVERYONE applying for U.S. citizenship, Michal Rozbicki had to take an oral exam. In his case, the examiner asked him to explain the significance of the First Amendment and its relevance to freedom of speech.

He hesitated, and tried to compose his thoughts. Rozbicki was born in Poland 49 years ago. He grew up in the rubble of Warsaw, which had been devastated in the second World War.

One day, while playing in a friend's attic, he came across an old issue of Life magazine. The lifestyle revealed therein seemed glamorous, and what's more, when he examined the date of the issue, he saw that it was from 1944. It was wartime, and yet the people seemed so happy and prosperous! Rozbicki was 9 or 10 years old when he saw that Life magazine, but it created an image he never forgot.

His father had been educated before the war, before the coming of the Russians, and in the privacy of the family's apartment, he taught his son a version of history that was forbidden in the Stalinist schools. This was not unusual. All over Eastern Europe, the young intelligentsia learned on two parallel tracks that never intersected. What you learned at home you were not allowed to repeat in schools.

Eventually, Rozbicki went to the university, and he majored in English and American literature. What he was really studying, though, was American culture. That old copy of Life magazine was still, more or less, his guiding star.

In fact, the impression it had created was only reinforced as he grew older.

"When you live in a totalitarian state, everything is censored," he told me. "When we wanted to find out the truth, we used to listen to Radio Free Europe."

And where did this voice of truth come from? The United States of America.

Rozbicki was an excellent student. Only once did he fail an exam, and that exam was administered by a member of the Communist Party.

"We all had to have military training. At the end, we took an exam. The question was about NATO, and I answered it at some length. `You know a lot,' the instructor said, `but you didn't sufficiently condemn NATO's hostile plans.' "

Although his military career was checkered, his academic career was not. Rozbicki earned two doctorates, one in English history and one in American colonial history.

When Solidarity rose out of the shipyards of Gansk in 1981, Rozbicki was teaching at the university, and he was one of the first at the school to join the movement. After the union was crushed and martial law was imposed, Rozbicki, like the other dissidents, opted for patience.

"We never suspected that the government would suddenly collapse," he said. "Instead, we were hoping for a gradual liberalization. You see, you cannot preserve a totalitarian regime in partial form. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Lifelong Struggle of Polish Professor Is Study in Freedom
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.