Embassy Pays Homage to Polish-American Writer Józef Wittlin

On September 23, Cultural Affairs Officer Dan Hastings attended a plaque-unveiling ceremony organized by the City of Warsaw to honor the Jewish-Polish poet, essayist, and novelist Józef Wittlin.  Wittlin, who left Poland with his family right before the outbreak of World War II, and then fled France for the United States, was nominated for the 1939 Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel Salt of the Earth.  Based on Wittlin’s own experience fighting in the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I, Salt of the Earth is considered a classic in the canon of pacifist literature.  It was written in the villa located at 58 Jarosława Dąbrowskiego Street where the author lived with his family.  In addition to a Nobel nomination, the work netted Wittlin the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1943 where Wittlin was subsequently named a lifetime member.  After escaping with his family from Europe, Wittlin began working for Radio Free Europe in 1952 and spent the rest of his life in New York before passing away in 1976.  On behalf of Ambassador Mosbacher, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Poland would like to thank the artists, City of Warsaw, and Wittlin’s daughter Elizabeth Wittlin Lipton for honoring the multicultural literary heritage of Józef Wittlin.