In This Review

Sketches From a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine
Sketches From a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine
By Timothy Snyder
Yale University Press, 2005, 384 pp

Henryk Jozewski, painter, prefect, and point man for Poland's Jozef Pilsudski in the battle for Polish independence and against the Soviet threat, lived adventurously through the 1919-20 Polish-Soviet war, the period after Pilsudski returned to power in 1926, and during World War II. When not painting, Jozewski, a Pole raised in Kiev, served as head of the Third Command (of the Polish Military Organization) in Ukraine, in Polish intelligence, and as governor of Poland's recently re-acquired Ukrainian-dominated province of Volhynia. There, as Snyder recounts in this compact, well-told history, he undertook his "Volhnynian Experiment" -- an attempt to gain the loyalty of the Ukrainian peasant population by making concessions to nationality and creating invidious comparisons with the fate of Ukrainians across the Soviet border. Not only was it a bid to save Volhynia, but it formed a piece of Pilsudski's Prometheanism project: the dream of destroying the Russian imperial threat and communism by stirring the non-Russian minorities in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and elsewhere to revolt.