Overview of the Ludwik Kowalski papers, 1946-2011

Processed by Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305-6010
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© 2011
Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Ludwik Kowalski papers, 1946-2011

Hoover Institution Archives

Stanford University

Stanford, California
Processed by:
Hoover Institution Archives Staff
Date Completed:
2011
Encoded by:
Machine-readable finding aid derived from MARC record by Jill Golden.
© 2011 Hoover Institution Archives. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Title: Ludwik Kowalski papers
Dates: 1946-2011
Collection Number: 2011C18
Creator: Kowalski, Ludwik, 1931-
Collection Size: 7 manuscript boxes (2.8 linear feet)
Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Diaries, other writings, computer disk interview recording, and correspondence, relating mainly to communism.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages: English and Polish

Administrative Information

Access

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Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ludwik Kowalski papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2011.

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at http://library.stanford.edu/webcat . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical/Historical Note

Polish physicist and communist; subsequently anti-communist émigré in the United States.
Ludwik Kowalski, a retired physics professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey, has an extraordinary biography. He was born in 1931 in Warsaw to a Jewish family. Shortly after his birth, his naively idealistic parents, deceived by Soviet propaganda, moved to the Soviet Union. In 1938, Ludwik's father, an engineer, along with tens of thousands of Polish Communists and ethnic Poles, was arrested on false charges and sent to the GULAG. He died of exhaustion in the Kolyma gold mines at the age of thirty-six. His father's tragic fate did not shake Kowalski's blind faith in the Soviet system, and he became a dedicated young Communist. Ludwik spent most of his childhood in Moscow, receiving a thoroughly Stalinist education; he and his mother returned to Poland a few months after the end of the war. He completed his secondary and university education in Warsaw, followed by graduate studies in France, from 1957 to 1962; he received a doctorate from the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Orsay. After a brief visit to Poland, the young scientist was invited to a scientific conference in the United States. That 1964 visit led to a research position at Columbia University and his immigration to the United States.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection includes the original notebook diaries (in Polish), hundreds of letters, and personal documents and photographs, relating mainly to communism.
Kowalski began keeping a diary in secondary school in Poland. In it he recorded his reactions to developments in his private life, with observations on major developments on the national and international scene. Kowalski continued to write his diary through much of his life, though his notes from the 1950s are most extensive and interesting as a source on Polish society, education and culture during the early years of the communist regime.
The diary also provides a record of the author's gradual intellectual de-Sovietization and the search for his own identity. Kowalski's reactions to the death of Stalin, the revelations of the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, the Hungarian revolution, and the Polish October 1956 are important landmarks in the young scholar's personal liberation, a process that was very private and took decades to complete. As a university professor and a scientist, he concentrated on his teaching and research and did not reveal his complete political metamorphosis until he retired from academia in 2004. Since that time, he has written two books: Hell on Earth: Brutality and Violence under the Stalinist Regime (2008) and Tyranny to Freedom: Diary of a Former Stalinist (2009). Both books were published by Wasteland Press in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Communism.
Communism--Poland.
Polish people--United States.


Collection Contents

Box: 1-7

The collection has not yet been described. Please let the Hoover Institution Archives know if you would like to see this material described. Contact us at hooverarchivesinfo@stanford.edu