Transformations of the Image of Paneriai in Jozef Mackiewicz’s Essay “Ponary-baza”

  • Zigmas Vitkus
Keywords: Holocaust topography, site of mass murder, Paneriai, genius loci, shifts in location image, Romanticism, public imagination


This paper deals with the examination of the text “Ponary-baza” (1945) by the Polishwriter and journalist Jozef Mackiewicz (1902–1985), in which he describes the massacre of Jews in Paneriai (Ponary, Ponar) in April 1943. The author of the paper explores the historical context and circumstances in which the text “Ponary-baza” emerged, presents genre characteristics of this piece of writing, shows its coherence with other pieces written by Mackiewicz, and analyses the image of Paneriai presented in the text widening its historical and literary contexts. Mackiewicz’s “Ponarybaza” is one of a few examples of texts-testimonies written by a Holocaust witness in which changes of the “genius loci” of a particular Holocaust site and the transformation of its image in public imagination are being reflected upon.