To examine changes in educational policy in Poland after World War II, reflected by the image of Tadeusz Kościuszko, we are analyzing school textbooks. We are doing this for two reasons. First, textbooks in Poland, as in many other countries, have long been the predominant “pedagogical tool,” used every day by virtually all teachers and students—hence they have a huge impact not just on the teaching process1 but also on society in general, and in the case of history textbooks, an impact on collective memory.3 This impact is even greater when there is only one textbook available for each grade, or when the choice is limited—which was the case in Poland between 1949 and 1989. Even today, textbooks are still regarded as both an interpretation of school curricula and a compendium of knowledge for students, as well as a basic pedagogical tool for teachers. Their importance is reflected in heated debates on the possibility of free e-textbooks being distributed by the Ministry of Education. The authors of this article are aware that some teachers may use textbooks critically, and even under communism some did not follow official guidance and interpretations, but most likely such an attitude was not predominant. Thus, school textbooks have a great impact on Polish society and show us what most Polish people learned about Kościuszko.

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