Anna M. Cienciala

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Anna M. Cienciala

On Christmas Eve 2014 Professor Anna M. Cienciala passed away in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on her way back home to Lawrence.

Professor Emerita of History and Russian & East European Studies (CREES) at KU, Anna Cienciala has been an outstanding scholar and a highly respected representative of the University of Kansas. An expert in the fields of diplomacy in Eastern Europe and wartime relations in the 20th century, Professor Cienciala experienced as a child much of the turmoil that she has been teaching and writing about. She has been recognized for her work internationally.

Born in the Free City of Danzig (Gdansk, in Poland after WWII) on November 8, 1929, she attended middle and high school in England; and university studies in England, Canada, and U.S. (B.A. Liverpool, 1952; M.A. McGill, 1955; Ph.D. Indiana, 1962). She taught at the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto before coming to the University of Kansas in 1965.

Professor Cienciala retired in June 2002, but has remained strongly involved in the educational mission of the History Department and CREES.

Specializing in 20th century Polish, European, Soviet, and American diplomacy 1919–1945, Professor Cienciala published extensively, her total output, as of January 2014, amounting to 202 publications. Her latest major work is Katyn: A Crime without Punishment (Yale University Press, 2007, reprint with some corrections, 2009). Some of these publications are accessible online via KU Scholar Works. She is also the author of an internet course ("Nationalism and Communism in East Central Europe,") utilized in Wikipedia and other online sources:

Professor Cienciala is listed in The Who's Who of American Women and the Zlota Ksiega Nauk Humanistycznych 2013 (The Golden Book of Humanities Studies, Poland). In 2000, she was honored by the History Institute of Gdansk University and the City of Gdansk. She was also awarded the Polish Cross of Merit by the President of Poland. In 2007 she received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.

Most recently, Professor Cienciala was presented with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland with Star, conferred on individuals who have rendered great service to the Polish nation.

Anna will be greatly missed by anyone fortunate enough to have made her acquaintance. Her generosity, sense of humor, compassion and humanity, complemented a critical and open mind. She is survived by a sister living in Canada and by Roma Boniecka, companion of her life.

Details about the memorial service will be published later.

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Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Dec. 27, 2014
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