Tematyka krzyżacka i grunwaldzka w ilustracjach książek beletrystycznych dla dzieci i młodzieży w Polsce w latach 1945-1989

Jacek Friedrich


In the Polish 19th – and 20th-century historical consciousness, the themes of the Teutons and Grunwald held a special place and gained new relevance in 1945, after the experience of the war and the fear of the 'German revisionism' fanned by the Communist authorities. Anti-Teutonic and, in fact, anti-German propaganda was spread in Communist Poland in various ways and targeted at different audiences, including children and young people. One mode of propaganda was images in literary works for young readers. Over the period (1945–89), several dozen published works of literature featured pictures of the Teutons and Grunwald. These images, to a large extent, were derived from the Polish art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Teutonic pillager, the crafty Teuton, the swords of Grunwald, the Teutonic corpses lying at the feet of the Polish victors – all these motifs had been present in Polish painting and sculpture before World War I. Their communicative virtues were enduring; this explains their return in postwar depictions, including those in books for children and young people. At the same time, the fact that these images were targeted at young readers probably meant the mollification of the anti-Teutonic rhetoric, or at least a dulling of the most brutal images originally designed for an adult viewer. This could explain the relatively numerous depictions of Teutons as picturesque medieval knights, not substantially different from their Polish equivalents. We can certainly confirm then that in the period discussed, book illustrations were not entirely vulnerable to the official, anti-German propaganda, and were, to some degree, produced autonomously. After all, we cannot forget the dynamic inscribed in the visual material itself – the stereotypical figure of the Teuton as a heavily-armed knight on a mighty steed, with a shock of peacock feathers on his helmet, and above all, wearing a white coat with the prominent black cross emblem, formed an extremely attractive image. Many illustrators of Polish books after 1945 did not want to miss the opportunity to depict such an impressive image. This is most likely one of the main reasons for the equivocal propaganda effect in this material.
Author Jacek Friedrich (FH / IAH)
Jacek Friedrich,,
- Institute of Art History
Other language title versionsTheme of the Teutons and Grunwald in illustrations for Polish literature for children and young people in 1945-89
Journal seriesPorta Aurea, ISSN 1234-1533, (C 10 pkt)
Issue year2017
Publication size in sheets1.65
Languagepl polski
Score (nominal)10
ScoreMinisterial score = 10.0, 24-07-2019, ArticleFromJournal
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