Association internationale de Papyrologues

International Association of Papyrologists

In memoriam Hanna GEREMEK


Discours prononcé durant l'Assemblée Générale de l'AIP réunie à Ann Arbor le 4 août 2007
Speech delivered during the General Assembly of the AIP gathered in Ann Arbor on August 4th, 2007
par - by: Adam LUKASZEWICZ (lu par - read by: Dorothy J. THOMPSON)

Hanna Geremek was an outstanding Polish papyrologist. She studied history in Warsaw specialising in antiquity under the tutorship of the eminent historian and papyrologist, Iza Biezunska-Malowist. One year after completion in 1955 of her master's thesis on the Brutus conspiracy, which was published as a separate paper, she started work at the Institute of History of Warsaw University, Þrst as an assistant and later as an associate professor. During the period 1979-1982 Hanna Geremek worked as a keeper of manuscripts and rare books at the Warsaw University Library.

Already in the early years of her scientiÞc career she had chance to get in contact with international scholars. She spent four years in Paris (1962-1965), where she was able to attend seminars in papyrology, conducted by Professors André Bataille and Roger Rémondon at the Sorbonne. Much later, in 1983, she passed some time at Dumbarton Oaks. In 1985, she was a visiting scholar at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and at Columbia University in 1990.

Her research was marked by the breadth of her interests - from gê dêmosia to Italian wines in Egypt. One of her most outstanding achievements was her PhD thesis - a study on the rural community of Roman Karanis (Karanis, communauté rurale de l'Égypte romaine, 1969). This has become a key work of reference on the rural communities of Roman Egypt. In addition to her research, she was also a translator of books into Polish and a prolific reviewer. In later years the focus of her interest was on urban élites of Roman and Byzantine Egypt (outside Alexandria).

Even though Hanna Geremek taught at the Institutes of History and Classical Philology, she often conducted her research work at the Institute (later Department) of Papyrology, where she came to use the library and to discuss professional matters. Those who had the privilege of meeting her know well that Hanna Geremek was an irresistibly charming individual. The visits she paid to the Papyrology rooms always brought a touch of elegance and the inspiring freshness of her approach to many problems, as well as to the world in general. We always enjoyed discussing with her matters reaching beyond papyrology, especially since Hanna's husband was one of the leading Þgures of the Polish struggle for freedom in the late 70s and the 80s.

In later years Hanna Geremek's professional interest was concentrated on a Þgure almost forgotten outside Poland and Russia today, but previously considered the most eminent Polish classical scholar - Tadeusz Zielinski. Hanna Geremek was particularly interested in the last years of his Russian period (the years 1917-1922). She became fascinated with the way this sixty-year-old intellectual tried to cope with the challenges of the republican coup d'état of February/March 1917 and then with the Bolshevik revolution. In 1999 Hanna Geremek published an interesting collection of Zielinski's unknown or little-known political writings of 1917-1922. Further study on Zielinski's life and an edition of his unpublished memoirs was planned. All those ambitious projects were, however, extinguished when Hanna Geremek passed away.

The Warsaw papyrologists will never forget her.

[Shortened version of: JJurP 34 (2004) pp. 11-13.]