Borderland Biography is a story of an extraordinary man: first, a Polish scout fighting in WWII, then a POW/DP in Western Europe, finally as a penniless immigrant in post-war America who eventually became a world-renowned academic.
Anthony Kruszewski's almost-incredible life story stands out from his entire generation. Few of those who survived the war and occupation in Central Europe, and then found themselves in exile, managed to succeed in their new homelands. Moreover, his story is a microcosm of 20th-century history, covering various theatres and incorporating key events and individuals. Kruszewski walks a stage very few people have even stood on, both as an eye-witness at the center of the Second World War, and later as vice-president of the Polish American Congress, and a professor and political scientist at world-class universities in Chicago, New York, and El Paso. Not only did he become a pioneer and a leading figure in Borderland Studies, but he is a borderlander in every sense of the word.
Z. Anthony Kruszewski (born in 1928) was a Polish scout fighting in the Warsaw Risings during WWII. As an inmate of German prisoner-of-war camps and later as a soldier of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, he lived in Western Europe sharing the fate of millions of DPs after the end of the war. For political reasons he had decided not to return to Poland, which became a communistic country. As a poor immigrant, without any support from family or friends, he managed to complete his study at the University of Chicago. He began his scientific career with a Ph.D., which became the first book on the American market dedicated to the problematic Polish-German border after 1945 entitled The Oder-Neisse Boundary and Poland's Modernisation. Serving as vice-president of the Polish American Congress, professor and political scientist at the University of Chicago, State University of New York, and the University of Texas at El Paso he dedicated his work to such matters as the promotion of Polish culture abroad and the Polish-Jewish dialogue, as well as researching the multicultural nature of American society, the most effective method of its integration and the solving of conflicts, not only in the American borderlands but in other regions of the world.
Z. Anthony Kruszewski is an unusual man, whose extraordinary biography stands out from the entire generation. Few of those who survived the war and occupation in Poland, and then found themselves in exile, managed to succeed in their new homelands. The protagonist of this book met on his way numerous boundaries, and he had to face them both in the mental and geographical sense. Despite many of his scientific journeys, he stayed the longest on the Rio Grande. The location of the University of Texas in El Paso, as well as previous life experience, made Kruszewski already in the 1970s a pioneer and a leading figure in Border Studies.
The story of his life is a story of a borderlander in every sense of the word — his work and life attitude testify to the need to break the boundaries between people and nations and the need to build bridges between them.