The article introduces two letters by outstanding Polish émigrés: Józef Czapski (1896–1993), renowned painter and author of a memoir from the time of his incarceration in the Soviet prisons, and Andrzej Bobkowski (1913–1961), the writer best known for his book of diaries, Szkice piórkiem [Wartime notebooks: France, 1940–1944]. The introductory essay describes the long friendship between these two icons of the post-war Polish diaspora, men of strikingly different personalities, the contemplative Czapski and flamboyant Bobkowski. Both created remarkable books of diaries, compared and analyzed here within the context of their authors’ biographies, and the multi-faceted Polish cultural life in exile from communist-ruled Poland.

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