Thoughts of a Polish Jew: To Kasieńka from Grandpa

Thoughts of a Polish Jew: To Kasieńka from Grandpa


Artur Lilien-Brzozdowiecki
Translated from the Polish by Marya Lilien-Czarnecka & Joanna Grun
Edited by Sergey R. Kravtsov

Series: Jews of Poland
ISBN: 9781618114976 (hardcover)
Pages: 168 pp.; 32 illus.
Publication Date: April 2016

Add To Cart

Thoughts of a Polish Jew: To Kasieńka from Grandpa is a document of a personal and family memory, authored by Artur Lilien-Brzozdowiecki (1890‒1958) in 1944/45. This memoir, which was written in Polish and translated to English for the family circulation alone, now becomes a public asset. Lilien invites his new-born granddaughter to encounter her family, generations of Polish Jewry: merchants, lease-holders, bankers, industrialists, politicians, communal leaders, army officers, scholars, physicians, artists, and art collectors. They dwell in a broad Jewish and Christian world, integrated into the national life of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Habsburg Empire, and the Second Polish Republic. The reader is encouraged to enjoy reminiscences of this worthy life and bitter choices that challenged Polish—particularly Galician—Jewry in the twentieth century.

Dr. Sergey R. Kravtsov is a researcher at the Center for Jewish Art, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was trained as an architect in his native Lviv, Ukraine, received his doctoral degree in architectural history in 1993, and has worked at the Hebrew University since 1994.

Table of Contents

Preface: Artur Lilien-Brzozdowiecki and His Reminiscences
by Sergey R. Kravtsov

To Kasieńka from Grandpa
by Artur Lilien-Brzozdowiecki
English translation by Marya Lilien-Czarnecka and Joanna Grun

Appendix: Thoughts of a Polish Jew
by Artur Lilien-Brzozdowiecki
English translation by Joanna Grun and Sergey R. Kravtsov



Memoirs can help understand the past, they can show how people have perceived their own past and they can lead readers to reconsider the past. This fascinating book does all three. The author wrote it for his granddaughter and now she is sharing this intimate document with the broader public. The story of her family, a rich and privileged one, challenges many popular assumptions about the Jewish experience in Poland and raises many questions—but gives no superficial answers. This is precisely what we expect from a good memoir—and this is a very good one.
— Shaul Stampfer, Rabbi Edward Sandrow Professor of Soviet and East European Jewry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Artur Lilien-Brozdowiecki’s family memoirs have a particular, intimate, charming quality, involving the reader in his family chronicle lovingly written for his little granddaughter. He proudly presents his lineage—from the era of emancipation, through a staunch Polish assimilation, to World War II—seven generations of Liliens and the closely related great Jewish families of Brody and Lemberg/ Lwów/ Lviv, remarkable Jewish men and women. A Jewish success story is rising from modest origins to financial standing, responsible positions in Jewish community as well as in general public bodies. Many of the lively described relatives are portrayed in beautiful illustrations published for the first time.
— Dr. Victoria Lunzer-Talos, Head of the Art History Library, Vienna University