The book comprises some descriptions of the circumstances in which the phenomenon of laughter occurred in times of social crisis associated with the Second World War and the occupation of Poland during that time. Owing to the reports, memories, and testimonies provided by the participants of the dramatic events in occupied Poland, the ghettos, and concentration camps, as well as the collection of humorous works from the times of the war and occupation, the reader will realize what an important function was fulfilled by laughter, as a factor of resistance, improving the quality of life, and shaping a community. The author presents some examples of the activity of the “people of laughter” during World War II, within cultural creation, underground activity and in street folklore. He also presents some fragments of the personal stories of both the people known from mass culture in Poland (Adam Grzymała-Siedlecki, Marian Hemar, Anna Jachnina, Jerzy Jurandot, Aleksander Kamiński, Szymon Kobyliński, Janusz Korczak, Bożena Krzywobłocka, Eryk Lipiński, Antoni Marianowicz, Marian Walentynowicz, Władysław Szpilman, etc.) and little known or anonymous ones, who by making others laugh and laughing with them improved the quality of life of the people experiencing the trauma of war and occupation. The book is interesting for people eagerly studying the history of World War II and the Holocaust in its intercultural approach. Furthermore, those who deal with historical education associated with national memory sites and with laughter therapy for the victims of social crises will find new inspiration through the anecdotes and stories contained herein.
Przemysław Paweł Grzybowski is a lecturer in the Chair of General and Comparative Pedagogy of Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz. His research interests comprise intercultural education; education in disfavoured environments; tanatopedagogy (education concerning suffering, ailing, and dying), as well as laughter as a factor of education and of improving the quality of life. He is the coordinator of the Forum of Young Educationalists “Międzyszkolnik” at the Committee of Pedagogical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences; the supervisor of the Academic Centre for Voluntary Service of KWU; an esperantist and a doctor clown volunteer. Selected publications: Doktor klaun! Od terapii śmiechem po edukację międzykulturową; Edukacja europejska – od wielokulturowości ku międzykulturowości; Edukacja międzykulturowa – konteksty. Od tożsamości po język międzynarodowy; Edukacja międzykulturowa – przewodnik. Pojęcia, literatura, adresy; Morycek w szkole. Żydowskie dowcipy o edukacji, w dialogu międzykulturowym; Spotkania z Innymi. Czytanki do edukacji międzykulturowej; Śmiech w edukacji. Od szkolnej wspólnoty śmiechu po edukację międzykulturową; Śmiech życia i śmierci. Od osobistych historii po edukację do pamięci o okupacji, gettach i obozach koncentracyjnych. (www.grzybowski.ukw.edu.pl)