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Grydzewski, Mieczysław

(Grycendler; 1894–1970), editor, publisher, publicist, and literary critic. Mieczysław Grydzewski converted to Protestantism before World War I, studied in Moscow and later in Warsaw (under the direction of Marceli Handelsman), and earned a doctorate in history in 1922. As a student, he wrote for the academic journal Pro arte and studio. Beginning in 1920, he published—and, from 1921 on, edited—a monthly associated with Skamander, a group of poets. In 1924, he began copublishing, with Antoni Borman, Wiadomości Literackie, the most prominent literary and cultural journal in interwar Poland, of which he remained the only editor until the outbreak of World War II.

The journal’s editors, publishers, and readers were for the most part assimilated Polish Jews. A promoter of Jewish integration, Grydzewski criticized the separatism and backwardness of Jews who did not Polonize, while defending the general right of Jews (increasingly questioned by Polish Catholic nationalists) to participate in the creation of Polish culture. A liberal, Grydzewski kept Wiadomości open to diverse, sometimes even hostile, views. His radically assimilationist stand tended to draw negative responses from nationally minded Jews.

In September 1939, Grydzewski left for Paris, where in 1940 he founded Wiadomości Polskie, which he continued to publish in London (1941–1944) after taking refuge there. After a brief break he reactivated the publication, issuing it still in London from 1946 to 1966. In the 1940s alone, Grydzewski also published seven literary almanacs and two anthologies of Polish poetry. In the column Silva rerum, featured in Wiadomości, he occasionally dealt with contemporary Jewish themes, continuing to downplay, as he had done before the war, the significance of antisemitism. Grydzewski is remembered as a one-man cultural institution, an outstanding editor and manager, energetic and inspiring.

Suggested Reading

Książka o Grydzewskim (London, 1971), includes contributions in French; Magdalena Opalski, “Wiadomości Literackie: Discussions on the Jewish Question, 1924–1939,” in The Jews of Poland between Two World Wars, ed. Israel Gutman, Ezra Mendelsohn, Jehuda Reinharz, and Chone Shmeruk, pp. 434–449 (Hanover, N.H., 1989), also appeared in Polish in Przegląd Humanistyczny 10 (1990): 77–78, and in Hebrew in Ben shete milḥamot ‘olam: Perakim me-ḥaye ha-tarbut shel Yehude Polin

li-leshonotehem, ed. Chone Shmeruk and Shmuel Werses, pp. 419–432 (Jerusalem, 1997).



Translated from Polish by Christina Manetti