9.05.2023 Aktualności, Events, History, Literature, News

Barbara Skarga’s Notes on the Gulag with an introduction by Alicja Gescinska

As part of Europe Day with Poland as host, Alicja Gescinska introduces us to philosopher Barbara Skarga. She made her name with philosophical essays, but one of her most important works remained unnoticed for a long time. In 1985 she published under a pseudonym her personal testimony of her life in the gulag camps. Alicja Gescinska wrote an introduction to her gripping life story (translated by Steven Lepez). “Na de bevrijding” (“Po wyzwoleniu 1944–1956″) is an important book, especially now that a better understanding of Russia’s complex reality and relationship with its neighbors is more necessary than ever. Fragments from the book will be read by Sara De Roo. 

“The end of World War II is in the air. You are 25 years old, the sun is shining. You put on a light summer dress because it promises to be a beautiful day. And then you are picked up by the Russian army, endlessly interrogated, and after a mock trial you end up in the gulag camps as an enemy of the Soviet Union for ten years.”

The meeting will be held in Dutch

May 9, 2023, 8 pm
Huis van Herman Teirlinck
Uwenberg14, 1650 Beersel

Join the Facebook event

Barbara Skarga (1919-2009) is the most important Polish philosopher of the 20th century. She was born in Warsaw, but grew up on an estate near Vilnius. During World War II, she joined the resistance movement. In September 1944, she was caught by the Red Army and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. After her release, she was still forced to work in a kolkhoz, so it was not until 1956 that she was able to resume the threads of her life in Poland. She graduated, obtained her doctorate and worked as a professor all her life. She actively interfered in public debate and was involved in the Polish solidarity movement Solidarnosc. She left behind a rich philosophical oeuvre.

Alicja Gescinska (born in 1981) is usually described as a Polish-Belgian philosopher and writer; sometimes also as Polish-Flemish or Belgian with Polish roots. She was born in Warsaw during a difficult period for Poland. Her parents decided to leave the country and all its difficulties when she was seven. The family stayed for several months in an asylum center in Brussels; it was a short stay, but the memories of it settled deeply and permanently in her mind. They settled in Lede and Alicja attended school there, learned Dutch, but continued to speak Polish at home. From an early age, she sought answers to questions about her identity. Many of those questions reverberate in her philosophical work; they became the beginning of the search that led her on the paths she still walks today.

Sara De Roo (born in 1970) studied at the Conservatory of Antwerp, where she was taught by Luk Perceval and Dora van der Groen. Until 2018, she was one of the faces of Toneelspelersgezelschap STAN. She also acted in films such as „Rosie” by Patrice Toye (nomination best actress Joseph Plateau Prize) and „Nowhere Man”. On television she appeared in series such as „De Parelvissers” and „Met man en macht”. For a few years now, she has been the head of the Conservatory theater program.


Meeting organized by Het huis van Herman Teirlinck in cooperation with the Polish Institute Brussels.

More information

photo of young Barbara Skarga a the top: heritage Barbara Skarga

Scheduled Aktualności >Events >History >Literature >News