Polemics & Exchanges

Not Crazy

In “Borderlines, Part 2” (News, June), Mr. Hugh Prysor-Jones takes on a great deal in covering a vast section of Europe.  Apparently, his understanding of some of the background is, at least in some places, a bit shaky.  To wit, he writes of “various Polish/Lithuanian empires.”  There most certainly was a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which just as emphatically was not an empire.  That was left to the neighbors, who duly had empires and kaisers and czar/imperators, with all that has implied.  Could Mr. Prysor-Jones name an emperor of his rather snidely imagined “Polish/Lithuanian empire”?

His sneer continues through the “yearning” of Polish patriots for “the Krezy (pronounced ‘crazy’).”  The word is Kresy (borderlands/frontiers), and it is pronounced just as it is written, though one will naturally forgive a modern English speaker for not rolling the r.

These are the lands of my maternal ancestors who, like Marshal Pilsudski, were Polish-speaking Lithuanians, and so these are matters of which I have some knowledge and historical memory.  Caveat lector.

        —Fr. Raymond Gawronski, S.J.
Crestone, CO

Mr. Prysor-Jones Replies:

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