- April 2, 2014
Roman Lachowicz: my book is aimed at history lovers
“I deliberately omitted three aspects: Paneriai, Glitiškės and Dubingiai, because I didn’t want to exacerbate the situation”, told zw.lt Roman Lachowicz, a long-time history teacher in Polish schools in Lithuania, who published a handbook “A Short History of the Polish Nation” himself.
Where did the idea of publishing a book about Polish History come from?
The idea came to me, because I used to work as a history teacher and between 1994 and 1999 I taught history in John Paul II School. I couldn’t throw away preserved outlines of lessons. When I retired, I decided to publish them in the form of a book. I went through the handouts, developed them, added something and this way, one topic after another, I composed this manual of Polish history.
So your book is designed for students, first of all?
This book is aimed at history lovers – there are lots of them in Lithuania – and at senior pupils, to raise their knowledge about history of their own nation.
What is the situation with teaching of Polish history in Lithuania? Is there any approved textbook?
No. We do not have any approved textbook. At that time there wasn’t any approved textbook either. Preparing the outlines, I used encyclopedia and historical books, as I have a lot of them. I made information available.
Apparently the book enjoyed great popularity on the book fair in the House of Polish Culture?
Is there any possibility for schools to buy the book?
I had a conversation about it. The Educational Society has sent a message to schools so they know that such book exists. I also visited some schools. I call them, we talk, they ask me about the book and I’ve already received information that the book is very much needed. Everyone who has read the book claims that was very easy to read. The most important thing is that since the earliest times until today not a single important event has been missed. I want to emphasize that I deliberately omitted three aspects: Paneriai, Glitiškės and Dubingiai.
Because it can exacerbate the situation. There is a lot of material. One person will understand it some way, somebody may understand it differently. In the second edition I will probably describe these events more specifically. I mean, I mentioned them, but without any commentaries or digressions. I just gave facts. Because when there are facts, one can draw conclusions on their own, however, I deliberately omitted this part.
The book is titled “A Short History of the Polish Nation”, so I understand that the history is not only about Poland, but also Poles in general. Is there something about the postwar fortunes of Poles in Lithuania?
Yes, of course. I recall deportations to Siberia, Katyn. I also described an event which took place on October 9th, 1920 – establishing of Central Lithuania and the attitude of Piłsudski. He expected federation with Lithuania. Not immediately did he order Lucjan Żeligowski to “rebel” and attack to Vilnius. Later, however, he had no choice. On January 8th, 1922 a plebiscite was held and on its basis Central Lithuania became a part of Poland. I gave a lot of attention to the beginning of the World War II and the transfer of Vilnius to Lithuania. On October 10th a part of the Vilnius region gas given to Lithuania and the Polish nation suffered, because it was not allowed to pray in Polish, the Stefan Batory’s University was presumptuously closed. After that Lithuania was incorporated into the Soviet Union and Poles suffered again, because they had to go to Siberia. I described these moments in great detail.
And the Soviet period, regaining independence by Lithuania, was it mentioned?
I mentioned these events, but maybe not that specifically. I wrote less about the Soviet period. I described in detail the Baltic trail, when people joined hands from Vilnius through Riga to Tallinn. I also described the events of January 13th, when we defended the TV Tower and later – the building of the Supreme Council. We stood there together with Lithuanians. The book ends with information about the Polish minority in Lithuania.
You self-published the book. Didn’t you seek any sponsors, or maybe no one agreed?
I was looking for sponsors. There were three of them at the beginning, I don’t want to mention them now, but when the time to pay for printing came, they all disappeared. So I paid for everything by myself.
How big is the edition of the book and where can it be bought?
Circulation has 300 copies. One half of them is already sold. The book is available in bookstores DKP and Elephas and in a bookstore in Nemenčinė.
Translated by Agnieszka Drabik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.