This essay begins with a discussion of the controversy among Polish émigré intellectuals, following Bobkowski's death, on the subject of his attitude toward the Jews during and after the war. In the course of this precursor to more recent debates, Czesław Miłosz (1911–2004), for one, characterized Bobkowski's posture as antisemitic, but others rose to the writer's defense. Among them was Szymon Konarski (1894–1981), wartime director of the Paris office of the Polish Savings Bank (PKO), who came to know Bobkowski through their involvement in the support network for Polish workers in occupied France. An economist and amateur of Polish noble genealogy, Konarski was an ardent Catholic and member of the Knights of Malta. Twice arrested by the Gestapo for his charitable activities, Konarski encountered Jewish prisoners with whom he developed personal connections. Despite his conventional background, the memoirs he published after the war convey a deeply empathic response to the fate of the Jews. The essay compares his reactions to those recorded by Bobkowski at the time. It concludes with a consideration of Bobkowski's conflicted feelings on this matter in the years leading up to his death. The ambiguity inherent in his various pronouncements and published texts may explain Konarski's indignant response to Miłosz's accusation.

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