26 May 2011 Maciej Zaremba’s Z dziejów eugeniki in Polish!
Maciej Zaremba Bielawski’s Higieniści.Z dziejów eugeniki book appeared in bookshops on the 10th of May, under the imprint of Wydawnictwo Czarne. Zaremba, who was a guest of the 2nd edition of the Conrad Festival (he took part in a discussion entitled: Thinking live: What we cannot talk about, what needs to be discussed) emigrated to Sweden in 1969. Today, he is there one of the most valued journalists. In 1997, with his uncompromising articles printed in one of Sweden’s biggest daily newspapers, he appalled the collective awareness of the country, which was used to turning a blind eye to dark sides of its history – he revealed that Sweden pursued a policy of forced sterilisation for 40 years, until 1976. This is where the idea of a book about the world history of eugenics, which is now available in Poland (the book was translated from Swedish by Wojciech Chudoba), came from.
Higieniści… is a well-developed book version of those articless, enriched by essays concerning the history of eugenics, its promoters, objectors and fanatics from such different countries as the United States, the Third Reich, Sweden and Japan. Zaremba shows that the utopia of humanity improvement by means of breeding has a long and surprising tradition. In the 1930s it was also supported by outstanding and progressive Poles, such as Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński and many other well-known doctors. In chapters written especially for the Polish edition, the author is trying to understand their motives and explain why they did not find too many followers in Poland.
‘Maciej Zaremba’s book is a terrifying story of how perverse human thought may be. The programme of elimination of ‘unnecessary’ individuals was not Hitler’s invention, but the final fulfilment of a much earlier eugenic thought. In the 19th and the 20th centuries, thousands of people were the victims of pseudo-scientific motivated eugenics or ‘well-being’ of the interested party (we are sorry for a blind person, because they cannot see), or well-being of a society (those individuals are no good for us, we have only expenses),’ writes Father Adam Boniecki about Zaremba’s book.
Maciej Zaremba is a Swedish journalist of Polish descent, publicist and translator (of Zbigniew Herbert’s poetry). In 1969, after his school-leaving examination, he emigrated to Sweden together with his mother, grandmother and brothers. He delivered packages, was a hospital attendant and a crane operator – this is how he learned the language and life. He studied film history and the history of ideas. He started working as a journalist in 1981 by reporting from Poland about Solidarność, which was coming into being at the time. Currently, he works for the Swedish daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, where he writes about culture and politics. One of his most important texts include an article written after the death of John Paul II. His publications are at the same time incredibly thorough essays on the Swedish mentality. His works have won him many awards, such as the Award of the Swedish Legal Chamber and, a couple of times, the Award of the Swedish Academy (the same which awards the Nobel Prize). Maciej Zaremba is married to Agneta Pleijel, a Swedish writer, also known in Poland.