Maria Manteuffel letters from the period 1844–1859 offer invaluable insights into the life of Polish gentry in the former Polish Livonia (Infl anty Polskie), incorporated into the Vitebsk Governorate of the Russian Empire. These letters of mother to her son Gustaw Manteuffel, student at the University of Dorpat (now Tartu, Estonia) who was to become one of great Polish historiographers of late 19th century, are an important historical source. Although they deal mainly with family matters, the mundane is interspersed with notes and comments which throw light on the Russian tax burdens and the social life of the aristocracy and the local gentry. An eye-catching feature of that correspondence is a string of Latvian (Latgalian) words and phrases which are interspersed into Maria Manteuffel’s sentences. There is not much we know about her life. Born in Wielony in 1811, she was heiress to the Drycany estate. In 1828 she married baron Jakub Manteuffel. Of their children only four sons survived to adulthood. Born into a Polish-Livonian family, Maria Manteuffel became a Polish patriot, patroness and sponsor of various patriotic initiatives. When the Drycany estate was sequestrated by the Russian authorities after the 1863 January Uprising, she moved to Lesno and later to Riga where she died in 1874. She was buried at Drycany beside her husband; in 1916 her son was buried in the same family vault.
This article discusses definitions of crimes included into the Act of 18 December 1998 on the Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, and their usefulness in prosecuting individuals who committed international crimes. It is argued that the provisions of the Act cannot constitute a ground for criminal responsibility of individuals, as they violate the principle of nullum crimen sine lege certa.
This article analyses the amendments of January 2018 to the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (INR) of 1998, which has raised doubts in light of in ternational law and provoked diplomatic tensions between Poland on one side and Germany, Ukraine, United States of America and Israel on the other. The INR is a national in stitution whose role is, among others, to prosecute perpetrators of in ternational crimes committed between 1917-1990. The article proves that the wording of the amendments is in consistent with in ternational law, as it ignores the principles of in ternational responsibility, definitions of in ternational crimes, and disproportionately limits freedom of expression. In consequence, it cannot be expected that third states will cooperate with Poland in the execution of responsibility for violation of the newly adopted norms.
The fifth part of letters by Maria Harsdorf nee Gniewosz covers the very sad, last period of her friendship with Helena Mycielska from the region of Wielkopolska. It was in this period that the letters’ authors father died, soon and rather unexpectedly followed by her husband, Tadeusz Harsdorf. In about 1910, Maria’s short life also came to an end. In her last letters, Maria devoted a lot of space to her family, expressing concern about the condition of her parents, and in particular her seriously ill father. She often told her friend about the great loneliness she experienced after her husband’s death. As a deeply religious person, she believed that everything in her life happened out of God’s will and she consented to it. Despite the tragic experience, she was vividly interested in the congregation for the local female land owners, which was established in 1902, and she even agreed to become their president. As a result, she was in close contact with Józef Teodorowicz, a Lvov archbishop of Armenian rite. She remained interested in the activity of Polish “feminists”, although she was always critical about it. She described difficult moments connected with the agricultural strikes in 1906. She recalled the books she had read: mainly religious and philosophical ones. She shared her thoughts concerning her trips undertaken in order to repair her constantly deteriorating health. She dreamed of going to Italy together with Helena - a trip which subsequently never happened. The two friends never met again either, although Maria very often wrote how much she wanted their encounter and referred to it.