Edition: Lublin 2017
Citation method: J. Piekara, Michaił Heller – „polski Rosjanin” z Maisons-Laffitte, „Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej”, 15 (2017), z. 1, s. 89-111.
This article is the first such an extensive attempt to describe and analyze the biography of Mikhail Heller – a historian, literary scientist, Sovietologist and emigrant from the Soviet Union, who settled in Paris in the second half of the twentieth century and co-operated with the Polish emigration journal – the Parisian “Kultura”. The text was developed on the basis of a bachelor’s thesis, defended in June 2017. The article presents the life of Heller from three perspectives related to the realities in which he must have lived. Heller was born, raised and educated in the USSR. In the fifties he was sentenced to a stay in a labor camp, a sentence which he did not have to serve in full. He left the “homeland of the proletariat”, thanks to the invaluable assistance of his wife, a Polish Jew, Eugenia Chigryn, and found himself in the Polish People’s Republic. He spent over a decade in Poland, where he worked and gained valuable acquaintances. In 1968 he decided to emigrate to West Europe – to France. The article focuses to a great extent on the relationship of Mikhail Heller with the Parisian “Kultura” community, along with its most prominent representatives. There appear themes of acquaintance with Jerzy Giedroyc, Józef Czapski or Zygmunt Hertz. Emphasis is placed on the fact that Heller is one of the lesser-known and very important collaborators of “Kultura”. He has cooperated with Giedroyc’s periodical since his arrival in Paris until his death in 1997. During his 27 years of regular writing, he has published more than 200 monthly articles from the series “In the Soviet Press” (under the pseudonym Adam Kruczek) and a number of other texts. The author takes the view that the persona of Heller requires a comprehensive and substantive study, which – until now – has never been undertaken.