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Poland’s Past

To the Editors:

In Professor Malia’s penetrating survey of Polish history there is but one, albeit not insignificant lapse. To suggest that the restoration of Catholicism in Counter-Reformation Poland “was voluntary and without persecution of the still numerous dissidents” (p. 21) is to overlook the tragic expulsion from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of at least one radical Protestant sect: the Polish Brethren. This forced exodus resulted in a seventeenth-century diaspora which both prefigured in many ways the Great Emigration of the Nineteenth Century and transplanted to Western soil the seeds of Unitarianism. George Huntston Williams, whose sensitive intellectual biography of John Paul II Malia discusses, recently published a momentous study devoted entirely to this difficult chapter of the Counter-Reformation in Poland: The Polish Brethren, Documentation of the History and Thought of Unitarianism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and in the Diaspora, 1601–1685 (Harvard Theological Studies, vol. 30, Scholars Press, 1980). Professor’ Malia must nevertheless be commended for the exceptional insight, sensitivity, and balance which he brings to the discussion on Poland.

Alex Kurczaba

University of Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

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