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Art and Architecture Overview

Architecture Intro - A-J - K-R - R-Z Art Intro - A-LM-Z

The Introduction to

An Annotated Bibliography of Eastern European

Folk Architecture

Prepared for a Class with Henry Glassie

by Danusha V. Goska, PhD

The Illusion of Protection

An annotated bibliography of works in English

on folk architecture

in Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland,

and Ukrainian immigrants to the New World

"...the imagination functions in this direction whenever the human being has found the slightest shelter: we shall see the imagination build walls of impalpable shadows, comfort itself with the illusion of protection." Gaston Bachelard


Bases for Article Selection

                The Carpathian mountains served as ground zero for this 1996 bibliography on folk architecture; the Indiana University library and lender libraries as the data base; English language was the final criterion. The Carpathians have been populated by Poles, Slovaks, Ukrainians, Lemkos, Jews, Gypsies, etc. This mélange of peoples encompassed by rubber band borders was neatly summed up in Yale Strom's 1996 documentary, "Carpati, Fifty Miles, Fifty Years" when a Carpathian resident said, "I had my bris in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, my bar mitzvah in Czechoslovakia, my divorce in the Soviet Union, and I'll be buried in the Ukraine, but I've never left my hometown." One might suspect that the speaker had spoken too soon; he may yet be buried in some new political entity.

Impressionistic Response to Articles

                Given the lack of significant interest demonstrated by Western folklorists in the Christian peasants of Eastern Europe and politically imposed limitations on scholarship within that territory, there is a paucity of worthy and easily accessible English-language scholarship on Carpathian folk architecture. An American scholar's notion of worthy material is informed by the Constitution, especially the first amendment, the scientific method, the legacy of the Greek philosophers, and recent trends demanding a semblance of what power groups define as multivocality and multiculturalism. Some works included here do not comply with current American demands for scholarly literature.

                For example, American scholars, even while applauding nationalism or "race pride" in works by African American scholars like Derek Bell and Henry Louis Gates Jr., show great hostility to any national identification among Eastern Europeans.[1] Many of the scholarly works on Eastern European folk architecture cited here include works mourning an almost infinite series of historical assaults, works that assert the humiliated individual's right to exist, and that attempt to atone for the blood of the tragically murdered dead. Many of these works demand, "Why?" and attempt to offer a reassuring declaration, "Never again." Writers take sides; one side is bad, and has caused mass destruction; the other side is good, and stands for the forces of generation. The bad side is usually a neighboring ethnic group. This partisanship enters swampy intellectual ground when it must be admitted that the bad guys were the ultimate source for the very folk art form treated as proof of the good side's generative brilliance.

                An example of the above-described pattern can be found in tensions between Poles and Jews, two of the main Carpathian ethnic groups. Some Jewish scholars identify Poles as bad, as sources of destruction, and Jews as good, and sources of generation.[2] One of the cited proofs of Jewish generation and virtue was Jewish synagogue construction and architecture. How to argue for a unique Jewish virtue and creativity, though, and Polish vice and destructiveness, when Polish folk architecture served as the inspirational model for Jewish Eastern European folk architecture, and, indeed, Polish carpenters contributed to the construction of Jewish synagogues? Similarly, one of the most famous Polish folk art forms, the paper cutout, or wycinanka, relied on Jewish merchants for its distribution and acceptance[3]. This pattern of declaring one's own group to be the virtuous source of generation, even while demonized groups are essential to that group's folk art, can be found between Poles and Ukrainians, Slovaks and Hungarians, etc. Folk art itself, constantly and joyously flaunting its mongrel roots, tells a very different story. Folk art and folk architecture testify irrefutably to the intertwining creative energies, inspirations – the shared spiritual bodily fluids, as it were – of Carpathia's varied peoples.

                I was looking forward to writing this paper. After five years of immersing myself in works on my chosen topic of stereotyping, I looked forward to casting aside ugly terms like "Polak" "Kyke" and "genocide," and weaving a paper out of the pure vocabulary of man's effort to carve space into beautiful shelter, vocabulary words like "right angle," "vaulted arch," "clerestory." These architectural terms, not present in my active vocabulary, carry no echoes to me; they had the promise of a fresh, clean page.

                When I opened Architecture Association Quarterly, the journal that contained the first article I searched for, the first words of that article were these:

'The Slovaks in Hungary...breathe with care...they feel themselves watched...harassed by a police force whose bloody ferocity shows itself on every possible occasion…Everywhere they feel themselves the butt of a jealous and hostile malevolence. No intellectual life whatsoever. The savants and literary men live an immured life, confined to themselves. Only the mountain and village population continues to decorate its houses, wooden objects and embroideries with harmonious colors in a naive and fresh style' (quoted in Walker, 45).

The above-quoted speaker was William Ritter, a Swiss human rights activist in Slovakia. Another work about folk architecture, in order to adequately address all pertinent data on that subject, had to pause to also record such non-architectural data as the ethnic cleansing of one form's architects:

'...the strong mountain vegetation began covering the burned-down ruins of houses and farms, leaving only the occasional chimney to hint at the former existence of human life. The sun dried the grass that no one cut, and the wind husked the grains from ripe wheat, while weeds covered fences' (Jan Gerhard, quoted in Varyvoda, 68).

The Lemkos, builders of fine, wooden churches, had been so thoroughly ethnically cleansed from their homeland after WW II that, though I had once been in what I now recognize as an Orthodox Lemko church on Lemko territory, I had never heard the word "Lemko." I was told I was in a Polish, Catholic building. Thinking of this church now, I do not reflect, primarily and initially, on its clever perfection in such a rude and impoverished setting, its sublime exploitation of the artistic possibilities of timber, but, rather, on how thoroughly a group of people can be erased. Lemkos were wiped out by Communists under Stalin.[4]

                Other articles focused on architecture contained understated references to the thorough, irrational destruction wreaked by Nazis. A Nazi-made film in Warsaw acquaints the viewer with kulturkampf. German soldiers, working according to plan, went from church to church, museum to museum, to simply erase a culture slated for total destruction. In the below-cited windmill and pastoral construction articles, the reader can discover that Nazis worked not just to eradicate the elite culture created by Slavs, but also folk culture.

                A 1935 article in the glossy journal Burlington Magazine contained the most chilling sentence of all. There was no way the author could have foreseen the complete accuracy of his prediction. Four years before Nazi Germany invaded Poland, a scholar of architecture wrote: "...the synagogues of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will soon be in a ruinous condition, impossible of restoration..."

                I e-mailed a supportive friend in California. She replied:

I would have thought writing a paper on architecture would have been to explore an art form that was cool, glorious, detached, calculated...I would have thought such an exploration would have been a calming intellectual exercise, something like the papers I wrote for my undergraduate art-history courses. I mean, you think you're going to be reading about fussily arranged piles-of-stones-through-the ages and instead, what do you get? Flesh. (Amanda Moody, personal communication, 1996).

Feeling for stone, finding flesh.

                The agony recorded in these articles makes clear: architecture is an essential art. Architecture is not merely an accessory of the well-cultured, not merely something one travels to Agra to see under the full moon once in a lifetime. People like Dusan Jurkovic gave up home precisely in order to devote his life to recapitulating, in more sophisticated settings, the architecture of his own beloved peasant Slovakia. Nazis burned architecture, not just obvious statements like synagogues, but shepherd's huts, peasant mills. They sacrificed soldiers from a two-front war in order to carry out this work, assessed as essential in genocide. Leonid Mohuchov, a talented man who could have traded his talent for an easy life, at least another room in the house in which his invalid wife and daughter share space with many others, instead chose sacrifice and insecurity. He did this to paint the architecture of his native Ukraine. Only a compelling call could have inspired a man to make that life choice.

                The area around the Carpathians has never been secure. The word "slave" comes from "Slav." Slavs first entrance into history was as a people targeted for special exploitation. Nazis follow in a long line of invaders. If I lived there, I would want to live in a featureless underground bunker. Indeed, Albania's Enver Hoxha (1908-1985) pocked his countryside with a series of such bunkers, architectural scats of territorial insecurity. Once, while I was visiting Poland, a Polish friend asked me, "Will you return to the San Francisco Bay Area after you get back to America?"

                "Yes," I replied.

                She gasped. "What about the earthquakes?"

                I stared at her. "What about the Germans and the Russians?" We both laughed, ruefully.

                In spite of political insecurity, poverty, constantly shifting frontiers between warring peoples, the folk architects of the wooden churches devoted time, much time, a year to seasoning timber alone, patience, effort, to spinning fanciful confections of local wood. According to British scholar David Buxton, these "churches were not expected or intended to last indefinitely." Those nameless folk architects' determination to create something fanciful, beautiful, in a perpetual war zone, is a challenge to the more fortunate among us and the conditions we feel we require before we can create art. The builders of many of these churches, the Lemkos, are little known. Lemko immigrants to America, coal miners and steel mill workers, were subsumed under the "Hunky" stereotype. Such folk are meant to be dumb, crude; they are hardly associated with sacrifice to creation of fabulous beauty. These nameless architects, though, had the wisdom of the creators of ethereal Tibetan sand mandalas, art objects that are erased upon completion. Apparently beautiful architecture is not only something people must have; primarily it is something people must do.

                "What was it like in Poland?" My father would address this question only once, tersely, bitterly, a few years before he died. "You've seen the aborigines on TV? Well, it was like that, only we had clothes." I get out of bed in the morning, work and dream, for beauty. I wonder what my grandmother saw. Since my life is conducted in my mind, I wonder, did she who worked in fields and lived in mud, did she who never learned to read or write, have a life? Was her mind full of Neanderthal grunts, or were there words? How were they strung together to form what sentences and paragraphs? Could she see? Describe? Remember?

                She could see, research for this paper has reassured me. Peasants themselves called their homes without adequate ventilation "chorna hata," "black cottages." After the end of serfdom in the 1860's, homes evolved, and a room could be added that could be devoted to show. These unheated rooms were called "light rooms," "white rooms," "clean rooms," "beautiful rooms." Heat was necessary; soot was inevitable; aesthetic deafness and blindness did not result.

                My research focus is on verbal art: narrative, jokes, proverbs. I now recognize architecture as an essential part of what, with my mindset, I can only call the Eastern European "story," but what others, more focused on architecture, might call the Eastern European "edifice." The same themes I have encountered in pursuing narrative are played out in architecture, in scholarship about architecture, and in the dilemmas faced by "ethnic" architects in a "non-ethnic" market.

                One obvious theme is distance and limitation, resulting in marginal survivals and a culture often dismissed as primitive. Wooden churches, for example, are part of an Eastern European log architecture that is a marginal survival of a previously more widespread European technique. They were erected far from the kind of mutually beneficial cultural and material exchanges that take place at world ports. Carpathian peasants had wood and some metal to work with, and few models. Some of their churches may have been built without the use of a single nail. According to Buxton, architectural scholars have dismissed wooden churches as aesthetically and historically unimportant. Buxton does not dismiss the churches as primitive, however, but describes them as works of art in which builders worked the material they had at hand to its aesthetic limit, its "apotheosis." He assesses the churches as worthy of note not just by local populations, but by the world.

                Eastern European peasant dwellings have been read as evidence that the humans inhabiting them were evolutionarily retarded. An American consul who opposed early twentieth century Slavic immigration testified to Congress that Slovak houses were proof of Slavic racial inferiority. Slovak houses, he pointed out, were not separated into bedrooms; rather, Slovaks slept together in one room "promiscuously."[5] The more careful scholars cited here, Podolak and Botik, for example, emphasize that in such one room houses, parts of rooms were assigned to certain tasks, and no one did the work or social activity assigned to one space and time in the space or time of another. The peasants themselves, with their own behavior, maintained the divisions that their material reality lacked.

                Wordsmiths and architects alike faced genocidal pressures followed by life in the post-Apocalypse. Thanks partly to the late and slow death of serfdom and foreign colonization in Eastern Europe, it remained peasant and rural longer than Western Europe. Millions of peasants faced jarring confrontations with the twentieth century. Modernity may have arrived in the form of a Nazi tank rolling across fields defended by Polish cavalry; it might have first been confronted after a Slovak in a sheepskin coat disembarked in New York harbor and within days became a cog in a steel mill. Modernity could have been agribusiness, the invisible opponent a Ukrainian peasant jousted with blindly when choosing a homestead in Canada's west. These confrontations all asked the same question: "What will you do with your peasant culture?" What will you do with that mud / log / wood / wattle house, with its "flamboyant" decoration?

                Some wanted to start from scratch, like the Polish poet Tadeusz Rozewicz (b. 1921). He broke with ancestors like the Romantic Adam Mickiewicz (1799-1855). Mickiewicz lived in exile from a czarist-controlled Poland. He reconstructed that Poland in an epic poem. Pan Tadeusz was literary ethnography that enshrined Polish-Lithuanian folkways under threat by Russian colonization. A century after Mickiewicz, a uniquely destructive world war and new post-war borders separated Tadeusz Rozewicz from the lost Poland of his own youth. Rather than recreating that Poland or its poetry, he turned to a basic, ethnically neutral, telegraphic style. He described the process of starting from scratch in his post WW II poem "In the Middle of Life:"

After the end of the world

after my death

I found myself in the middle of life

I created myself

constructed life

people, animals, landscapes

this is the table, I was saying

this is the table

on the table are lying

the bread the knife

the knife serves to cut the bread

people nourish themselves with bread.[6]

                Architects, too, felt the same urge to start with a clean slate as did the poet, Rozewicz. In a country whose population was majority peasant, Polish architects Helena and Szymon Syrkus created low-income housing without any reference to folk architectural traditions. They began their careers after the cataclysm of WW I. The author does not describe them as being insensitive to the needs of common people; neighborhoods were designed, Czaplinska-Archer wrote, based on how far children could comfortably walk alone. Data like that were apparently worked out anew, rather than discovered through study of folk architectural forms and configurations.

                Any urge to completely jettison the old can never meet with complete success. Nazis bombed Warsaw more thoroughly than any other city was bombed during the war. The goal was to leave no stone on top of another. Poland's elite architects and artists earned the admiration of the world when they recreated Warsaw's old Town Square. According to Allen G. Noble, common people took a different route. They built post-war homes free of any distinctive, Polish, folk ornamentation in an ethnically neutral "Eastern European" plan. These "new" homes in a "new" plan were not entirely new, however; they were built of rubble salvaged from the ruins of Warsaw.

                Some architects were driven to incorporate the shapes and proportions of their native cultures in their commissioned work. Successful exploitation of Eastern European folk expression in high culture is rare, but it has happened. Isaac Bashevis Singer wonderfully worked Eastern European folk narrative traditions into literary creations that earned a Nobel Prize. Henryk Gorecki created a worldwide musical phenomenon, his 1976 "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs," using folk musical forms. Dusan Jurkovic, unlike Helena and Szymon Syrkus, did attempt to tap folk architecture from his native Slovakia in modern commissioned buildings. While Jurkovic was able to support himself with this work, his buildings did not avoid being labeled "flamboyant" and "quaint."

                Ukrainian peasant immigrants to this continent, according to John C. Lehr, recreated folk architecture in their first homesteads. Unlike commissioned architects, these peasants were not formerly educated city dwellers who remade chatas out of a desire to assert "ethnic" values in front of an elite, perhaps hostile audience. They were, rather, simply building the only way they knew how to build. As they assimilated to Canadian values, they abandoned their chatas, which died out without influencing any new architectural forms.

                Radoslav Zuk does not accept this erasure of his peasant cultural patrimony lightly. A modern day Ukrainian-Canadian architect, he wrote with clarity of the forces pushing for assimilation, and the weak forces that resist: kitschy kitchen towels printed with smooching Cossacks, for example. Zuk's assessment of this dilemma is hardheaded, his solution, Romantic. Ukrainian-Canadians must go to the folk, he adjures, and there soak up the ur[7] cultural forms, which are timeless and transportable, to be integrated into the selection of everything from houses to cars. He claims he has successfully carried out this process in his church designs.

                In his work on Ukrainian peasants in Canada, John C. Lehr wrote of short-term retention and long-term change. As Canadian agribusiness introduced new functions into the old immigrant homesteads, transplanted Ukrainian peasant builders changed the forms of their constructions. Barns placed in such a way as to be convenient for subsistence farmers working on foot needed to be reconfigured to meet the needs of crews in combines. Lehr wrote that home interiors, where women were the primary workers, did not change as rapidly. The functions of churches, too, did not undergo an equally drastic change. Thus, they have served as arks of the architectural forms peasants brought with them to Canada.

                In addition to seeing similar themes expressed in narrative and architecture, I experienced similarity in the reaction I had to the scholarship about architecture and scholarship about other aspects of culture in Eastern Europe. Frustrations with nationalist hyperbole and hostility, Soviet-era restrictions, and Western neglect were very familiar.

                Authors writing about the expressive products of forgotten or endangered peoples confront a terrible burden. Even a discussion of shepherds' huts necessitates reference to genocide. Sometimes authors' response to this burden is hyperbole and the positioning of value-laden adjectives to do all the work of their writing. Synagogue frescoes must be described as "magnificent," Lemko churches must be "masterpieces," the huts that peasants built before Stalin's farm reform and attendant mass famines must be "cozy." Nowhere would you find a mediocre synagogue fresco, a just okay Lemko church, or a squalid and claustrophobic peasant hut.

                People without armies or even representational governments may want to avenge their dead through scholarly writing, but that well-intentioned work only backfires. Hyperbolic, adjective-larded prose will only be read by narrow-minded nationalists. The wonder and beauty of a Lemko church or a synagogue fresco can best be captured not by using adjectives summing up value for the reader and telling him how to respond, but by delivering the facts at hand. Objective, measurable facts, such as heights, breadths, palettes, techniques, length of workdays, training of folk architects, methods of procurement of materials, clarification of obscure themes and allusions; these, rigorously researched and well communicated, will produce goose bumps much more reliably than sentences like, "It was beautiful and masterful and should be respected and loved."

                A certain kind of folklore scholarship flourished under the Soviets. There was much collection without sophisticated interpretation. It was permissible to exalt the ingenuity of peasants. Such exaltation had to stay within tight ideological controls. The articles in this bibliography that were published under Soviet systems are jam-packed with details. You can find out, if you must know, exactly how many quintals of flour the windmills of a given district in Poland could produce in 1950. In Czechoslovakia, a below-cited researcher claimed that Socialism gave Slovak shepherds the outhouse. Even if it did, they paid too a high price.

                Soviet-era folk scholars, and their scholarship, have their worth. They reflect a concern for place that may have an impact on society. An American might find a forty-three-page treatment of windmills ridiculous. If nothing else, this article is proof that someone in Poland knows about the history of individual architectural sites going back to the Middle Ages. Others care enough about that information to publish that information and to read it. I have encountered this awareness of place in Europeans. Once I asked a Polish friend, "If you were reincarnated, what would you be?" "I would be one of the stones in the ancient walls surrounding Krakow," she said, without hesitation. A visiting German student said to me, "Bloomington [Indiana] depresses me. I don't know why...I walk around the is depressing. I think of my town in Germany. I walk down the street; I know people have been walking down that street since the Middle Ages. I know their history..."

                Sometimes Americans comport themselves as if no one is looking. Young Americans are often not taught the history of their own towns. Since they are placed into a vacuum of narrative stones, in which the oldest building in town may be torn down at any moment in order to build a history-less strip mall, people may conclude that they will be as invisible to their followers as their predecessors are to them. Among Europeans I do not get this sense of invisibility. Someone is seeing, caring, even only if history itself, if stones themselves. There is a record. Funding a scholar who cultivates an exhaustive knowledge of windmill history keeps the warp and weft of the history tight, contributes to that sense of connection.

                A final comment on Soviet-era scholarship: it was not above racist formulations. An example that speaks for itself:

The Lemkos are of medium height, with wavy hair, dark eyes and dark complexions. They are energetic and inclined towards emotionalism. These characteristics are readily discernible in the Lemkos' manner of speaking and in their general behavior. Lemkos are deeply religions (Varyvoda).

                Some of the best articles in this compilation were not written in Eastern Europe, in spite of their closeness to the objects of study. The best articles were free of Soviet restraints. They were not like Stella Hryniuk's and Roman Yeremiuk's piece on Ukrainian churches. Here Ukrainians and Orthodox believers are good, and others are predators on them. In spite of the superiority of Ukrainian Orthodox believers, a paragraph must be devoted to defending them to their presumed enemies and critics among Anglo Protestants and Polish Catholics. This article provides so little information about its purported topic, that, after reading it, someone unfamiliar with the topic could not identify a Ukrainian Orthodox church.

                Yes, the harsh realities of conflict must be presented, but there are better ways to present them. David Buxton's writing is exemplary in his treatment of the diverse ethnic groups, living across several borders, who have built wooden churches. He presents the history and ethnography of each group in turn, with compassion and honesty, without working to further the cycle of hatred and violence. No group in his work can afford to be the bad guy, since each neighboring group has contributed to the whole corpus of wooden-church architecture. No one needs to be a bad guy; Buxton is British, and he displays no interest in promulgating one group to the detriment of others.

                Oppressed architects and the peoples that produced them can be honored in a scholarly article. They were honored best by authors with no obvious ax to grind; their only ax was drawn to illustrate construction techniques. Reading Tom Ward's or William Wonders' detailing of the exact labor necessary in the construction of a log barn gave me a lot more respect for Ukrainian settlers than I felt reading Hryniuk and Yeremiuk insist that Ukrainians were resistant to the plots and blandishments of Polish priests and the Pope of Rome. It seems redundant, if not perverse, to attempt to rekindle old hatreds with discussions of architecture. With a Ward, Wonders, or Lehr article, one lays hands on the ingenuity and muscle of the Ukrainian builder, and one could, with enough rye, poplar, muscle and determination, build one's own Ukrainian barn.

                Eastern European folk architecture faces crushing pressures. Sometimes Communists worked to destroy distinctive architecture. Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu (1918-1989) bulldozed whole villages inhabited by his own citizens. He argued that their peasant architecture was outdated. Stalinism worked to turn the mostly peasant populations of Eastern Europe into industrial laborers, because, according to Marx, only a proletariat could create a Communist revolution. Hastily and desperately constructed "modern" industries, like Nowa Huta, like Chernobyl, were forced onto razed peasant settings, with disastrous results. Another force for change comes from common people. Eastern Europeans want to escape the stigmatization of the peasant stereotype. They want to grab onto the power and ease that, it is assumed, come with modernity.

                Open-air museums, David Buxton wrote, are wooden churches' best hope for the future. This is true of Ukrainian folk homes in Canada and may be true for peasant houses in Eastern Europe. There is a newly roofed wooden church in Buxton's book, its roof evidence of some generosity from a Soviet government that made worship in the church impossible, thus denying the church its raison d'être. The Soviets, H. wrote in his Forum article, went to great effort to haul Ukrainian folk architecture, via tractors, trucks, and horse drawn carriages, to an open-air museum. This may be a blessing for preservation, but it could also be a form of euthanasia.

                The thing, the wooden church, can be found, if under glass. These churches are more than objects, however. Just in gazing at them, one can sense invisible networks. The churches speak of rich forests, strong and capable peasants, intact communities and great faith. They speak of people who had little authority transforming the power that they did have into beauty and a concern for the transcendent. The powers channeled were great: power to unite and plan, to come to consensus regarding the disposition of territory and vital resources. They speak of people intimate with and confident of their bodies, their physical surroundings of forest, and their cultural surroundings of history, religion, and design. Jacking up a church from its site and using any means necessary to move it to a concentration camp of buildings similarly marked as obsolescent does not speak of an investment in preserving the non-material message of the wooden church or peasant hut.

                The factory worker grandson of a peasant grandfather will, probably, have more leisure hours, a more diversified diet, and a greater selection of consumer goods than his grandfather had. It is questionable whether or not he will ever acquire a compensatory competence, however. Unlike Oleksa Makowichuk in the below-cited article, he will probably never be able to walk into a stand of alder and turn it into a self-sustaining homestead within months. Beauty and attendant meaning may become things he has to purchase, rather than a creation and process that flow from his hands.

                If the below-cited works are correct, Eastern European folk architecture will soon disappear, with the exception of churches. The loss of the thing is very sad; what is worse is the loss of the unique forests, communities, strength, spirit and creativity that generated the folk architecture of Eastern Europe.


[1] An interesting essay on this topic can be found in Davies, Norman. God's Playground; A History of Poland. Volume Two 1795 to the Present. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, pages 3-80. Here Davies wrote: "The spectacle of western liberals comfortably reproving the conduct of people whose ideals were repeatedly tested in the fire is as ridiculous as it is offensive" (5). Recognizing, and rejecting, Western scholars' bigoted dismissal of any Eastern European scholar's engagement with the national concerns of his research subjects does not have to entail abuse of nationalism in folklore. Responsible scholars are certainly aware of the abuse of nationalism in folklore, and avoid that end of the spectrum that begins with contempt and distance at one end, and proceeds to over-engagement at the other end. A study of the notorious abuse of folklore for an evil form of nationalism's ends can be found in Dow, James R. and Hannjost Lixfeld, editors, The Nazification of an Academic Discipline: Folklore in the Third Reich Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

[2] See, for example, Wolitz, Seth. "The Battle Over the Murals of Pain" The New York Times June 22, 2001, 20. In defending Yad Vashem's illegal and secretive 2001 appropriation of Bruno Schulz murals from a house in Ukraine, formerly Poland, Seth Wolitz, the Gale Jewish Studies Professor at University of Texas at Austin, declared, "I find the dispute over the ownership of Bruno Schulz's wall paintings an endless source of ugliness…The Eastern European countries always claim important artists of Jewish origin as their own…What we are seeing are nations picking over the spoils of a murdered Jewish culture. There is national prestige and tourist money involved here and not any concern for the victims and the survivors. Jews in Eastern Europe were always a distinct nationality. The Schulz paintings belong to the direct inheritor: Israel" (Wolitz).

[3] Hertz, Aleksander. Jews in Polish Culture Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1988, 232.

[4] Snyder, Tim. "'To Resolve the Ukrainian Problem Once and for All' The Ethnic Cleansing of Ukrainians in Poland, 1943-1947." Journal of Cold War Studies I: 2 (Spring 1999): 86-120.

[5]Consul Sterne on page 136 of The Immigrant Invasion New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1913.

[6] Milosz, Czeslaw. 1983. The History of Polish Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 462.

[7] "Ur" is a term used in folklore studies. It means the original, primitive, or prototypical version of a form.



Copyright 2004, Danusha V. Goska

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