Polish encounters

Zbigniew Brzezinski's death this year is a huge loss to me and my wife. He was America's greatest strategic thinker and had a significant impact on my professional life, as did many other Polish and Polish-Americans throughout the last 40 years or so. I have visited Poland frequently since the 1970s. As an American teacher and scholar on Central and Eastern Europe, I found it useful to meet not only academics but politicians as well. Although I do not speak Polish, I could pronounce most of the names fairly well; the name of Janusz Onyszkiewicz was among the more difficult ones. My Polish encounters were largely limited to those who spoke English. The irresistible Adam Michnik was an exception: our conversations needed an interpreter. If I may say so, our friendship has managed to develop nevertheless. I try to see him every time I am in Warsaw, most recently in the autumn of 2016.

October 4, 2017 - Charles Gati