(1902–1941 or 1942), writer, poet, publicist, and member of the Esperanto movement. Mieczysław Braun (Braunstein, Bronsztejn, or Braunstein) collaborated with both the interwar Polish and Polish Jewish press (Skamander, Wiadomości Literackie, Nasz Przegląd, Nowy Dziennik, Ster). After fighting in the Polish–Soviet war of 1920, he studied law in Warsaw from 1922 to 1926, and then worked as an attorney in Łódź. He died of typhus in the Warsaw ghetto.
Braun published several volumes of poetry: Rzemiosła (Crafts; 1926), Przemysły (Industries; 1928), Liść dębowy (Oak Leaf; 1929), Żywe stronice (Living Pages; 1935), Sonety (Sonnets; 1937), and Poezja pracy (Poetry of Work; 1938). He was one of those writers who strove to maintain a presence in both the Polish and the Polish Jewish literary circuit, participating in Polish literary life (associating with Skamander poets, futurists, and left-wing writers), while also writing for the Polish Jewish journals Nasz Przegląd and Ster. Braun’s poetry was influenced by Skamander’s poetic style (with its focus on everyday life) and by the tradition of classicism. Ideologically, he was associated with the Polish poetry of work as well as the tendencies of Polish Jewish poetry, especially in his historiosophical poems.
However, Braun opposed the concept of Polish Jewish literature because of its emphasis on writers’ national identities; instead, he defended the view that language alone should determine a writer’s connection to a given literature. Notwithstanding, on the eve of World War II Braun identified more closely with the Jewish national position. In a cycle of feuilletons titled Czarne i białe (Black and White; 1937–1939), which he published in Nasz Przegląd, he criticized the assimilationist position and advocated the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Another important theme of his journalism was antisemitism, which he interpreted as evidence of a crisis in European culture.
Janusz Maciejewski, “Wstęp,” in Wybór poezji, by Mieczysław Braun, pp. 5–54 (Warsaw, 1979); Eugenia Prokop-Janiec, Międzywojenna literatura polsko-żydowska jako zjawisko kulturowe i artystyczne (Kraków, 1992).
Translated from Polish by Christina Manetti; revised by Magda Opalski