Jaroslaw (Andrzej) Piekalkiewicz is professor emeritus of Political Science and Russian and East European Studioes at the University of Kansas. At age 18, he fought the Germans for sixty-three days in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. For his bravery, he was promoted to the rank of Platoon Sargeant and awarded Krzyz Walecznych (Cross of the Brave). Obviously, in the chaos of fighting, he did not get the actual metal cross. Neither was he decorated during the communist rule of Poland. He chose asylum in the United States.
Now, after so many years, his nomination was found in the archives of the Polish Ministry of Defense. The Polish Minister of Defense, delegated the Counsel General of the Polish Consulate in Houston to perform the decoration. It will take place in the Piekalkiewicz residence, in Lawrence, Kansas, on July 24th, Jaroslaw’s 95th birthday.
Dance with Death is an ambitious work that attempts to address the totality of the Final Solution within Nazi-occupied Poland during WW II. . . Piekalkiewicz (emer., Univ. of Kansas) was a young member of a Home Army unit at the time and took an active role in opposing the Nazis. He offers valuable insights into its successful and failed operations and critiques its actions against the Nazis, drawing analogies with asymmetrical postwar conflicts. He also tackles the controversies and complexities of relations between Polish Gentiles and Polish Jews prior to and during the war, addressing anti-Semitism and efforts to rescue Polish Jews. The narrative is interspersed with excerpts from Piekalkiewicz’s unpublished recollections that add a personal touch and tremendous understanding to the account. . . a worthwhile read. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. All levels.