More interesting appreciations of Leszek Kolakowski, who argued Stalinism was not an aberration of Marxism, but its natural consequence, in the LA Times … London Times … Slate … Telegraph … NY Times … Dædalus (PDF) … Open Democracy … The Guardian … New Criterion … Weekly Standard (hat tip: www.aldaily.com )
Timothy Garton Ash writes:
Leszek Kolakowski – the philosopher, historian of ideas, analyst, critic and co-dismantler of communism, who died in Oxford last week – recalled his experience of the war in occupied Poland. How he was sent to work making wooden toys at the age of 15. How, since the German occupiers had closed down the schools, he educated himself by reading in a half-plundered library. (From the encylopedia he knew everything about A, D and E, he joked, but nothing beginning with B and C, because the local farmers had taken those volumes to use as firewood.) How with his own eyes he saw the merry-go-round that continued to play on Krasinski square in Warsaw while the ghetto burned nearby and “in the air there fluttered charred scraps of clothing”. (A scene immortalised by Czeslaw Milosz in his poem Campo di Fiori.) How whenever he saw a low-flying plane he had the instinctive feeling, even in old age, living in England, that any minute it would start dropping bombs. And how his father was arrested and killed by the German occupiers of Warsaw in 1943.