Anna M. Cienciala
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 by Lawrence Journal-World on Dec. 27, 2014.
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33 Entries
This lady, was a genuine, wholehearted person, of great sincerity, & honesty. She understood much;- and we shall never, ever, forget her sterling quality.
Leszek Kobiernicki
November 1, 2021
What an amazing and fine lady and teacher. I'm class of 1977 of the College of LA & S and wish I could remember the year she was my Polish Polish history professor but was grateful for her many insights, like how badly Indiana's Kosciusko county mispronounces the great Polish general's name as Ko-zee-ahs-koh instead of the proper Kos-choos-koh, and how important he was to General Washington in America's Revolutionary War. God's blessings.
Russell Davis
June 5, 2021
I'm class of 1977 from the College of LA&S
Russell Davis
June 5, 2021
I have known Anna only for a year when I taught Polish Literature at Kansas University although I knew her fascinating work on Polish history much earlier. But even such a short period of time when I got to know her was enough to admire not only Anna's knowledge and wisdom, but also her kindness and warmth. Cze Jej pamici!
Katarzyna Zechenter
May 9, 2020
Professor Cienciala was very helpful in the editing of my book about the Polish Solidarity movement--Be Not Afraid. I remember her with affection and gratitude.
Heather Kirk
December 21, 2019
with heartfelt sympathy to Roma and Anna's friends and sister. My mother and I experienced her kindness and care during water therapy. Her wonderful kindness and compassion remain in our hearts.

with care, Brenda and Sue
Brenda & Sue
January 16, 2015
Roma, our deepest sympathy.

Your old neighbors,

Mike & Barbara Malone
January 5, 2015
Faculty, students, and other associates of the Russian and East European Institute of Indiana University mourn the passing of Professor Cienciala and extend sympathies to her friends and family.
Russian and East European Institute Indiana University
January 5, 2015
Professor Cienciala's last email to me said, if there is an emergency, please contact my office in Kansas. It was sent in early December 2014. It was an unexpected death of a great scholar and a fine human being.
Ewa Thompson
January 4, 2015
Anna M. Cienciala was an inspirational scholar and generous mentor. Her HIST 132, Modern East Central Europe, led me in the late 60's to Polish history and ultimately a doctorate. I did not go into teaching, but to government, diplomacy, and national security. In my 30-year career, overseas and in the US, I inevitably encountered Anna Cienciala's former students, themselves now in diplomacy or the military. Her intellectual influence -- objectivity, the search for the truth, clear thinking -- informs the work and the decisions made by these people today. This is part of her impressive legacy. Sincere condolences to Roma from our entire family.
Thomas Dyman
January 3, 2015
I had not thought of Professor Cienciala for many years, but when I saw her obituary online today it brought back pleasant memories of Eastern European history classes I took from her back in the late 60's. She was a strict, but fair and accomplished teacher.
Jon Woodward
January 2, 2015
Professor Cienciala was a respected figure in her field and very kind to me when I was her doctoral student.
Brad Fels
January 2, 2015
Anna was our neighbor on Steven Drive for several years, was so affable, direct and friendly. Even her standing as a world renowned historian didn't keep her from stopping for a chat and a kind interest in the little kids. Anna and Roma were wonderful neighbors.

My sympathy to Roma on her loss.

Nancy Colyer
Melissa McCauley
Catherine Colyer
January 1, 2015
The University of Kansas has lost an icon. Professor Cienciala was a friend and mentor to countless students during her years at the university. I am pleased that she directed this lost and wayward soul into the stacks at Watson, where I found the history she suggested. She will be missed greatly.
Jeff Fehr
December 31, 2014
My most heartfelt condolences!!
Edgar Tidwell
December 30, 2014
Anna's dedication to her work and to Poland was inspirational. I have enjoyed knowing her greatly, and wish I had seen her lecture. Roma, take care, and may your journey through this loss be lightened by knowing that so many folks love and respected Anna.
Karen Roberts
December 30, 2014
For countless academics and intellectuals around the world, reports of Professor Cienciala's passing will be received with the deepest feelings akin to news that a great library burned to the ground. For countless friends and former students, word of Anna's passing will be received with grief akin to the passing of a most cherished mentor and relative. For me, it is all of the above.

Jim Loner
James Loner
December 29, 2014
Hugs and prayers
Rochelle Fiester
December 29, 2014
Anna was unbelievably kind and helpful - we had many interesting, detailed discussions in which I learned much. I felt as if she had adopted me as a student, which was a great honor. She gave me a great gift -her time- something for which I will be forever grateful. Besides an accomplished and renowned historian, she was a kind and generous soul. May she rest in peace
Pete Hetherington
December 29, 2014
When I took my first course from Professor Cienciala, I literally could not find Poland on a map. A few years later, I felt privileged to have sat in her classes and been invited to sip from the fascinating chalice that is Polish history.
December 29, 2014
I'm deeply saddened about this. I consulted Professor Cienciala on all historical aspects of my work. One paper about Jerzy Neyman, one of the most important contributors to Statistics, will be presented at the American Mathematical Society Meeting in San Antonio, Texas in two weeks. Professor Cienciala assisted me on the complicated historical background of Jerzy Neyman. It will be my honor and privilege to recognize Professor Cienciala in the mathematical community next month. I will miss Professor Anna Cienciala very much.
Dominique Duncan
December 29, 2014

We are deeply sorry to hear about the death of Professor Cienciala. Nothing will be the same without her. With deepest sympathy from Poland. Irena, Bronek i Krzysiek.
December 28, 2014
Anna was a great scholar and inspiring colleague. I benefited greatly from her wide and deep knowledge and her generosity to share it.
Leslie Dienes
December 28, 2014
It has been our great honor and privilege to know Professor Anna Cienciala, a true scholar and a remarkable woman.
We are very grateful for the history lessons which we had learned from her, and for her extraordinary contributions to Polish history. She left Poland but Poland never left her. She was a true inspiration for our daughter and for us.
She will be missed and always remembered. This is a big loss for the University of Kansas, the Lawrence Community,
and the entire Polish Community.

Bozenna, Tyrone and Dominique Duncan
Bozenna Pasik-Duncan
December 28, 2014
Dear Roma: We are very saddened to learn about Anna passing so suddenly. We fondly remember her and you and the wonderful food and conversations at your home. With deepest sympathy, Gunda and Elaine.
Gunda Georg
December 28, 2014
Dr. Cienciala's death is a great loss for Polish history, Polish culture, and her colleagues and students around the world.
December 27, 2014
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
cindy Hilt
December 27, 2014
This is sad news. Professor Cienciala was of great help to me when I was writing my book about the Polish Solidarity movement. She was a brilliant woman, and very gracious.
Heather Kirk
December 27, 2014
She will be missed by many of those who were able to work alongside of her and study with her.
Justus F Paul
December 27, 2014
Rest in peace we will never forget you!
You will be in our hearts forever.
Love to Roma who will continue to be part of our family.
Carol Risola
December 27, 2014
My heart goes out to you for your deep loss you must be feeling for your beloved Anna . How sad to lose someone so loved and so needed. May you find comfort in prayer and in one another. (Jeremiah 29:12,13)
December 27, 2014
Great teacher. I had her for several classes in Slavic Studies at KU. There were times when she was teaching about Catherine the Great that I thought she was Catherine the Great

December 27, 2014
Rest in peace, Anna. I enjoyed our neighborly chats in the driveway and so appreciated how you asked after my family and our pets on our encounters. Thanks for the kindness you showed to me and for the many contributions you made to the understanding of Eastern European history.
Aynsley Anderson
December 27, 2014
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