Bienkowska, Danuta Irena

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Bienkowska, Danuta Irena

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1927-1974

History

Danuta Irena Czech was born in Torun, Poland, into the family of a noncommissioned officer. With the outbreak of war, she was evacuated with the rest of her family to Eastern Poland, spending a few months under Soviet occupation in a small town near the Toumanian border. Later the family was deported, first to the Komi republic, in the north of European Russia, and then to Uzbekistan, ending up in a Polish refugee camp in India. After the war, the family emigrated to England. As a brilliant student, Danuta had no difficulty continuing her education at the University of London, from where she received an honours B.A. in Russian and English literature in 1952. She had married in 1951, but the marriage was not a success, and after spending two years as a Russian specialist with the National Central Library in London, she emigrated to Canada, and continued her studies at the University of Toronto. Here she simultaneously worked on an M.A., and on a B.A. in Polish literature from the University of London. After receiving her M.A. in 1958, she worked briefly with the Catholic Children's Aid Society, until she was granted a two year Ford Foundation fellowship to study for a Ph.D in Polish literature at the School of Slavonic Studies (University of London). She chose as her topic the early work of Stefan Zeromski, successfully defending her thesis in 1965.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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