Jadwiga Maurer

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Jadwiga Maurer

Jadwiga Maurer, Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Kansas and long-time Lawrence resident, died on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 in Urbana, IL.

Jadwiga Maurer (née Graubard) was born in 1930 in the town of Kielce, Poland. She and her parents survived the Holocaust during World War II, by hiding under false identity papers that labeled them "Aryan." Moving frequently around Poland during the War, in the spring of 1944, she and her parents fled to Slovakia, where Jadwiga spent the last years of the war in a Franciscan convent school. After the war the family returned to Poland briefly and then emigrated to Munich, Germany in 1946. In Munich Jadwiga completed her education at the Ludwig-Maximilian University, defending her doctoral dissertation on Polish linguistics in 1955. She had already met her husband Warren Maurer in 1953, while he was studying in Germany on a fellowship from the University of Chicago.

The couple married in 1956 and later moved to Berkeley, California, where Jadwiga Maurer taught Polish language and literature as an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The couple took faculty positions at Indiana University in 1965 and moved to Lawrence in 1968, where both of them came to teach at the University of Kansas. Jadwiga Maurer retired from KU in 2001.

In her thirty-year career at KU, Professor Maurer taught a wide range of courses in Polish language and literature. The pinnacle of her scholarly career was her groundbreaking 1990 study 'Of an Alien Mother' – Sketches on the Ties of Adam Mickiewicz with the Jewish World. This book offered a new interpretation of Adam Mickiewicz, the national poet of Poland. Starting with the likelihood that Mickiewicz's mother was a descendant of converted Jews, Professor Maurer probed the significance of these Jewish roots to Mickiewicz's fashioning of his life and art.

In addition to scholarly studies, Professor Maurer wrote fiction, publishing numerous semi-autobiographical stories in Polish dealing with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Her last collection of stories, The Doubles appeared in 2002. Jadwiga's stories have earned critics' praise and become the topic of scholarly investigations.

Professor Jadwiga Maurer is survived by her husband Warren, her son Stephen and her daughter Elizabeth.

Please sign this guestbook at Obituaries.LJWorld.com.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Oct. 26, 2012
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