Haitians have Polish ancestors

Doc 5 The Feature The Vodou Icon The Black Madonna of Częstochowa between Poland and Haiti


1 Doc 5 The Feature The Vodou Icon The Black Madonna of Częstochowa between Poland and Haiti This is a story about miracles. About simultaneity. About clutter in Polish bałagan. About how miracles are told and stories are turned into history and then everything is on the Internet in the end. And it's my grandmother's story: Babcia Renia. Speaker 1: Ukochane dzieci i wnuku, pisze parę słów bo bardzo dziś jestem nie spokojna. Jakoś tak w duchu. Śniegu jeszcze dalej tak dużo leży na alejach. Ksiądz takie pocieszające kazanie zrobił, ze jakoś mi się wychodzić never chciało. Tyle ludzi było, sobie nie możecie wyobrazić, aż stali na dworze i marzli. Speaker 1: Dear children, I am writing you a few lines because I am so restless in spirit today. There is still a lot of snow in the avenues. The pastor gave such a comforting sermon that I didn't want to leave the church at all. You cannot imagine how crowded the church was: Many stood outside despite the freezing temperatures. Three weeks before General Jaruzelski declared a state of war, my parents fled to Germany with me, two suitcases and a blanket under my arm. The iron curtain fell with a crash behind us. Most of the letters

2 of my grandmother's were read by the communist censors, whole sections cut out here and there. ANNOUNCEMENT: The Vodou icon The Black Madonna of Częstochowa between Poland and Haiti. A feature by Sebastian Meissner Cazalais: (singing Ave Maria in Creole) 35 years after Babcia Renia wrote these letters, I walk with a group of 15 vodouists from Haiti through the park at the foot of Jasna Góra. They pay homage to the Black Madonna of Częstochowa with an Ave Maria in Creole. The Sosyete Honorab Rasin San Bout was invited to Poland by the Jerzy Grotowski Institute to perform a vodou ceremony. Cazalais: (sing Ave Maria in Creole) Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): (Creole) So don't be surprised if the Sosysete sings for the Black Madonna during this trial session. You might say, "Look, they're vodouissants, but they sing Catholic songs". But there is a connection, a thread that firmly connects Vodou and Catholicism. 2/38

3 The one who is speaking here is an empereur a vodou emperor, the highest degree of distinction in Haitian vodou. Joseph Auguste is in Poland for the first time, and this visit is of very special importance for him: it is the journey to the land of his Polish ancestors. Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): The Catholics call her the Black Virgin. But for us, the vodouissants, she is Mistress Erzulie Dantor. She is the mistress of the entire hounfo of the Vodu temple. Joseph Auguste Louis Polish ancestors were legionnaires who were hired by Napoleon Bonaparte to put down the longstanding slave revolt in Haiti. The self-liberation of the Haitians is considered to be the only successful slave revolution of the colonial era. I do remember letters of (polish) Officers writing back home saying like: we are torturing those blacks for nothing more then the fact that they want their freedom. I can remember letters from Polish officers: ... we are torturing the black population of Haiti for nothing here except for the fact that they want to live in freedom and have their own sugar at their disposal ... 3/38

4 Sebastian Rypson is THE ethnologist par excellence when it comes to the Poland-Haiti connection. He has visited the village of Cazale many times and he calls the Vodou priest Joseph Auguste Louis a good friend. Being Creole is very good. They came in and within that year out of have died. That is bizarre! The Poles fighting people in the tropics who are doing guerrilla warfare and I don t think they were good at guerrilla warfare. Having been killed by the yellow fever - they were in such a demoralized state and had a very troubling situation to whom to be loyal to Polish mercenaries were killed in Haiti between 1803 and 1804. The soldiers were not equipped for a guerrilla fight in the tropics. Then there was the yellow fever. They were demoralized and didn't really know who to fight for: Napoleon or the black rebels ... The Polish institute that paid the Haitians for the trip is named after the theater director Grotowski, who died in 1999. He traveled to Haiti in the 1970s and noticed an image of St. Mary on numerous vodou altars, which was incredibly similar to the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa. Because two long furrows unmistakably adorn her right cheek. Did your icon come to Haiti with the Polish mercenaries? 4/38

5 Jean Jacques Dessalines () who formed a battalion called Les Polonais Noir and he filled it mostly with Africans and a few Poles. He made personal guards out of these white soldiers, which in a black army must have looked cool. He saved their lives, he got them of the crucifixion - there were horrible things happening. They must have felt some kind of loyalty to him - maybe Stockholm Syndrome It was the revolutionary leader Jean Jacques Dessalines who made sure that the Polish soldiers survived their captivity and that they were spared torture. He founded a battalion that he called the Black Poles and made them his bodyguard, which must have looked cool in the midst of all the black fighters ... Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): (Creole) To you, thank you! May God, the spirits and the Black Virgin bless them. My grandmother was baptized as Janina, but everyone called her Renia, I don't remember why. Babcia Renia was born in a small village and raised a strict Catholic, as was the custom in the country. In her second marriage, she married a captain of the Polish militia. He was ambitious and aimed high. So everything that had to do with religion was taboo in my grandmother's house and the devout Catholic became the wife of a party official. 5/38

6 Speaker 1: (praying - Maria prayer) Kyrie, eleison, Chryste, eleison, Święta Maryjo, módl się za nami. Matko, pośredniczko nasza między niebem a ziemią, Matko, Orędowniczko nasza, Matko, miłościwa Lekarko chorych, nadziejo rozpaczonych Zwyciężająca złe duchy Ucieczająca złe duchy Ucieczająca złe duchy Ucieczająca złe duchy Ucieczającky matee sebastian matez by sebastian matezicowi, by Méleky Ucieczęko-sebastian : to na Jasnej Górze bije nieśmiertelne serce Polskiego ludu Tak jest wpisane i tu Jan Paweł II potwierdził to: Tu zawsze byliśmy wolni to jest fantastyczne! Speaker 2: For the Paulines Sebastian Matecki and Szymon Stefanowicz, the monastery has always been the center of the Christian spirit for Poland ... The novel The Flood by Henry Sienkiewicz is compulsory reading in Poland. There it is written: The immortal heart of the Polish people beats on Jasna Góra. And the Polish Pope John Paul II said: We have always been free here ... The priests are delighted with these two quotations. Pauline Father Sebastian Matecki O-Ton: Tu Jan Paweł II potwierdził to: Tu zawsze byliśmy wolni! 6/38

7 Father Sebastian Matecki is the press spokesman for the Paulines on Jasna Góra. Father Szymon Stefanowicz gives the guided tours when important visitors arrive: ministers, presidents, ... Popes. I am received inside the abbey. I heard from my aunts that the leader of the PiS party, Jarosław Kaczynski, comes and goes here. Pauline Father Sebastian Matecki Original sound: Naprawdę to kolor Matki Boskiej twarzy jest na ikonie ciemny bursztyn. No i Matka Boska jako z narodu wybranego, żydówka, to w końcu tez karnacja jest ciemniejsza, jeżeli my tutaj jaśniejszej. Speaker 2: The face of the Mother of God says Father Matecki is actually the color of dark amber. And since she is descended from the Chosen People, she also has a darker complexion. Black people in post-war Poland were like meeting aliens. Really! I'll never forget the scene from my childhood when a black-skinned man walked into a large grocery store and everyone really everyone turned around and stared at him. Pauliner Father Szymon Stefanowicz: Oni to wchodzili z papierosami i psami. No i dzisiaj mówimy na nich czarni i oni nazywali the Black Madonna ale to jest jak ty tłumaczyłeś czarnucha 7/38

8 a wiec negatywne znaczenie. No bo ona never jest Black Madonna. No bo to jest obraźliwe. Speaker 2: The German occupiers invaded the monastery with dogs and cigarettes in their mouths ... They called the icon the Black Madonna. They meant it insultingly, because the German word black means czarnucha in Polish. Czarnucha, czarnuch what did that mean again? In an online dictionary I find: Negroes Worse still: the Germans called the icon a Mongolin. It should be removed from all churches. Pauliner Father Melchior Królik Original sound: No i w Niemczech powstała ta myśl: black Madonna on napisał ze ona jest Mongołka. Tak to nazwał no dla nas powiedzieć ty Mongole to jest ubliżenie Mongołka nie pasująca do kultury europejskiej i dla tego z kościołów należy wycofywać obrazy. Carscy urzędnicy to pisali ze ta czarna rewolucjonistka nam przeszkadza w rusyfikacji. Speaker 2: It is a great insult to Father Melchior to call someone Mongol. Nobody should do that. And the officials of the Russian tsar also insulted the icon as a black revolutionist, because she stood in the way of the Russification of Poland. 8/38

9 Pauline Father Melchior Królik Original sound: To w mojej grupie śpiewam tam tak :. Matko, najdroższa matko jak dobrze twym dzieckiem być, o pozwól matko, najdroższa matko w ramiona twoje się skryć .. matka, w ramionach matki Nie jakieś tam Madonny, tym bardzieś tam madonny, tym bardziej za kompi diapnjestska Madonna jest bluźnierczyni no nie wszyscy Paulini są tego przekonani Speaker 2: The prayer that Father Melchior loves to recite goes like this: My dearest mother, it is so good to be your child ... He sees her as a mother and not just anybody Madonna. Especially not this American Madonna, whom the father calls a blasphemous devil woman. But not all Paulines in the monastery think about it like him ... Music: (Black Madonna song) The work of the late Jasna Góra organist Alicja Gołaszewska is particularly troubling for the father. She composed the now world-famous Black Madonna song. She has done the icon a disservice, says Father Melchior, and anyway, if it were up to him, she could at least have consulted someone like him beforehand. Pauliner Pater Sebastian Matecki actuality: Black Madonna, Black Madonna 9/38

10 Pauline Father Melchior Królik O-Ton: Alicja Gołaszewska która utworzyła ta piosenek, bardzo ładna, przyjęła się w całym świecie, nie skonsultowała się z nikim zęby nie nazywać on bozarna josie bozarna bozarna to Boskiej Czarna brąz a co innego czernia no zobaczyć murzyna i zobaczyć obraz to nie ma porównania. Ona ma kolor palonej pszenicy, kolor kasztanu, kolor bursztynu to jest kolor chleba tej skorki wiejskiej, taka ładna zarumieniona ... Speaker 2: Father Melchior actually thinks the song is very beautiful. But whoever calls them black is a liar. Look at what a Moor looks like, and then look at what the icon looks like: It's the beautiful color of the bread crust of a farmhouse bread. Music: (Black Madonna song) The bus with the 15 Haitians from the mountain village of Cazale has just arrived at the parking lot behind Jasna Góra. Everyone gets out slowly. People laugh, joke around, smoke, take selfies. The first vodka flasks are empty. It's cold, very cold, and most Haitians brought only very thin clothes. Somewhere some of the young Haitian women found synthetic woolen blankets in which they wrap their heads and torsos. Now you see yourself like black Madonnas from Jasna Góra Mountaine de la lumiere. 10/38

11 Sebastian Rypson cares carefully for the Haitians on their pilgrimage to the land of their ancestors. Like me, he left Poland just a few weeks before the outbreak of war. Today Amsterdam is the center of his life. (Creole) In Poland, as in Haiti, we have a story of how those scars got on Erzulie Dantor's face. Polish legend has it that the Hussites, a reforming movement from Bohemia, wanted to destroy the Black Madonna. She got the scars from that. And that is why the Black Madonna is sacred in Poland. She is like a goddess and protects Poland. She is the queen of Poland. I am black and beautiful. This is a verse from the Song of Songs by the biblical King Solomon. Blackness and the black Madonna ... more precisely the black Madonnas, because there are a total of more than 130 of them, spread across the Catholic world: in Bavaria, Italy, Spain and Guadeloupe in Mexico. Psychoanalytically influenced esotericists want to see the shadowy, unconscious, the repressed, the dark side of the human being in the Black Madonna in short: everything that is forbidden and suppressed in Western culture. The Black Madonna, the Black Earth Mother ... black as the night. Black as the collective memory of times when people still worshiped moon goddesses. Because early Christians did not simply abolish the pagan religions, but Christianized and appropriated the 11/38

12 ancient pagan customs and myths. Artemis, Demeter, Ištar, the Slavic deity Leila or the Great Mother of God Cybele want to find some in the Black Madonnas. Erzulie Dantor is known at the jilted mother who has a child and was left by her husband for some pretty little thing in this case by the other Erzulie - the mulatress, the enchantress - Erzulie Freda - the sensual, the sexual, the beautiful being Erzulie Dantor embodies the abandoned mother. Who was left by her husband for a pretty little thing for the other Erzulie the mulatto, the charming, the sensual, the sexy Erzulie Freda ... Author O-Ton: Her husband is leaving her for her sister? Yes that's the idea. And hence she is badass. She is pissed off. So she is a single mum, and so she is a protector of her children. At the same time she is very jealous, that makes her anger unpredictable and scary. So initiating her () you will know she will protect you furiously. Yes, Erzulie's husband is leaving for her sister. And that's why she's crazy. She's pissed off! She's becoming a single mother and she wants to protect her child, and that makes her anger unpredictable. So if 12/38

If you conjure her up at a vodou ceremony, then you can be sure that she will protect you blindly ... Catholicism was imposed on the African slaves. They had to convert or die. However, their owners didn't care which gods the Africans prayed to on the plantations. Vodouists also believe in an almighty god Granmèt-la, they call him. However, this being is very far removed from people's everyday worries. That is why ordinary mortals communicate with the other deities and spirits of the Lwas. These spirits are conjured up at Vodou ceremonies and it is considered a sign of greatest appreciation when a Lwa takes hold of a dancer or a singer during a ceremony. Vodouists also call it climbing ... Exactly, you will climb from a Lwa like a farm animal. She came down during the ceremony of Bois Caïman in where she possessed soldiers who were fighting the French oppressors - way before the Poles came - so my guess is that she has some kind of pre-version in Africa as a fierce lady warrior and that the polish soldiers came with the Matka Boska Czestochowska and it fitted the character that was there The name Erzulie Dantor appears for the first time in 1793 at the Bois Caïman ceremony at the vodou ceremony that is considered to be the trigger for the slave revolt in Haiti. The Polish mercenaries did not come to the island until 1803. I therefore suspect that an African deity named Erzulie existed on the plantations before. When the Polish mercenaries 13/38

14 then arrived with the icon of the Black Madonna, the Haitians recognized their angry warrior in this holy image. Like the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, Erzulie Dantor's right cheek also has two vertical scars. Some attribute these scars to her fight with Erzulie Freda. Others believe they were inflicted on her in the struggle for Haitian independence. The gifts she prefers at incantation ceremonies are rum, strong cigarettes, and roast pork. Her symbol is a heart with a dagger in it. When the revolution broke out a lot of the population where newly arrived slaves and from societies where scarification was quite prevalent ... and also facial scarifications: cuts, sometimes a burned coined into the face - that probably one of the reasons why she became so popular. Many Haitians thought: yes, this is someone, this is an entity that we can identify about: first she has copper brown skin, and then she has scarification marks to spekulacja totalna, ale myśląc logicznie może być w tym prawda. When the revolution broke out, there were numerous newly arrived slaves from Africa on the island.They came from societies in which scarifications such as cuts or burns on the face were widespread. So it could well be that the insurgents thought: yes !, this is a figure we can identify with ... These are just my speculations, but they seem quite logical to me. 14/38

15 Speaker 1: Ukochane dzieci i wnuku, dzisiaj jest niedziela deszcz pada na cmentarz nie idę, ani do kościoła bo kości mnie lamia. Sama siedzę jak pustelnik. Na wszystkich świętych bym chciała pojechać na grób mojej mamusi ale to nie możliwe. To pomodlę się za to w domu do Matki Boskiej i wiem ze spotkamy się tam na górze u bozi. Bo takie jest życie i tak trzeba je brać i czekać dokąd będzie się żyć. Speaker 1: Dear children, today is Sunday, it has been raining all day. I will probably not go to the cemetery anymore. I sit here at home all alone like a hermit. On All Saints' Day I would like to go to my mom's grave, but that will probably not be possible. So I'm going to pray to the Mother of God here at home, because I know we're going to meet up there with the Lord God. That's just life: you have to accept it as it is and wait as long as you live. Pauline Father Sebastian Matecki: Kościół stanowi tą potęgę: to znaczy moralnej, prawa Bożego i ludzkiego które pomaga człowiekowi godnie żyć i kościół zawsze o te sprawy walczył dla tego never system zawsze. Speaker 2: The fate of the Polish people according to Father Matecki - has always been very closely linked to the fate of the Catholic Church. Faith gives strength to the entire Polish nation. The church represents divine right on earth and help people to live in dignity. The Polish Church has always fought for this and was therefore often inconvenient for totalitarian systems. 15/38

16 It was during the Swedish invasion of the so-called Flood of 1655 that the Black Madonna performed her most important miracle. For forty days, a handful of Polish soldiers, aristocrats and monks waited behind the walls of the Jasna Góra monastery. Cannonballs, attempts at intimidation and an army of 3,000 soldiers - none of these helped the Swedish invaders to victory. After an endless chain of defeats, they withdrew. To commemorate this miraculous victory, the Polish King Jan II Kazimierz crowned the Black Madonna as the patron saint of Poland. From then on, their image was worn on military standards and on the breastplates of uniforms. Music In the playgrounds between the gray blocks of flats in Częstochowa, children told each other: Do you know what they can do? Who? The Black Madonna What? She makes her wound bleed. At that moment, I didn't care that I hadn't attended this miraculous event myself. In the stories of others, such miracles seemed just as vivid and even better: I could even fill in the blanks with my own fantasies. Pauliner Father Szymon Stefanowicz Original sound: 16/38

17 To są takie cuda, ze tu jest cud na cudzie Speaker 2: Well, I tell you here there are miracles after miracles. Every time I visited my grandmother, the aisle upstairs was one of Jasna Góra's. Nobody had to persuade me to do that either. The monastery complex looked like a mystical stronghold to me. In the chapel itself I was amazed at the countless dust and sediment-covered crutches, prosthetic legs, rosaries and Polish national symbols that hung everywhere on the walls of the basilica. Pauline Father Sebastian Matecki O-Ton: Te liczne kule na ścianach to nie są gdzieś zbierane skądś tylko to są kule zostawione przez tych którzy zestaleni tutaj uzdrowieni ale najwięcej jest serduszeków zcony, nuzci nuzzdaj. Speaker 2: These crutches here on the walls of the monastery chapel are crutches that were left behind by healed people. But the most common here are the heart-shaped plaques. They are signs that someone has been freed from his sins ... The metal plaques with the image of the Black Madonna were made in every imaginable form by the Polish soldiers and kings 17/38

18 worn. Also from the Polish mercenaries who fought in Haiti? Even today, such devotional objects are consecrated by priests at solemn ceremonies. Speaker 1: Moja sąsiadka Pani Krysia opowiadała mi o tej Pani która pod obrazem Matki Boskiej wyzdrowiała. Kule puściała i zaczęła chodzić. To aż się spłakałam Speaker 1: My neighbor told me about a woman who was healed in front of the Icon of the Mother of God. She simply dropped her crutches and walked away without them ... Father Melchior Królik has looked after and designed the Book of Miracles and Graces for 40 years. It brings together the miraculous cases that led to the healing and conversion of believers. Pauliner Father Melchior Królik actuality: Pierwsze to są uzdrowienia fizyczne a drugie to uzdrowienia duchowe. No lekarze mówią ze jest stan beznadziejny a jednak ktoś wyszedł no to my wtedy to nazywamy cudem. Czarna Madonna broni przed aborcja, broni ciąże zagrożona, broni przez rozwodem. Narzędzia cudów to: np. oliwa z lampek, się ja zapala, za chwile zgasi, i się zlewa do butelki specjalnej, ponieważ to kiedyś ktoś odkrył, ze to jest jakieś lekarstwo i bardzo skuteczne Speaker 2: The Pauline monks distinguish between the healing of the body and the healing of the body. When doctors declare a case hopeless and someone gets well, Father Melchior calls it a miracle. The black one 18/38

19 Madonna also protects against abortion, loss of pregnancy and divorce. And your miracle tools can also include lamp oil: light the oil lamp, then turn it off, fill a small bottle with the oil and the medicine is ready ... Father Melchior also lists incidents that the believers assume it was miracles. There are six volumes of it, and everything in them still has to be examined. Pauline Father Sebastian Matecki: To są pewne święte rzeczy, które poświęcamy, które nosimy No nie magiczne Ale z myślą i wiara ze Bóg tez strzeże. Niektórzy traktują Matkę Boska jako talizman. Every powiesi sobie podkuwkę albo Matke Boza No bo on szuka szczęścia czasem się z tym Lacza zabobony jakieś No czasami to możemy widzieć w samochodach no właśnie, dobrze ludzie przyjeżdżają żeby świecić pojazdy proszą o błogosławieństwo iz pobożnością to przeżywają no ale to nie chce tego tu oceniać . Speaker 2: Certain objects are inaugurated here by the priests. No, it doesn't make them magical, says Father Matecki. He regrets that some people use the icon of the Mother of God as a good luck charm, much like a horseshoe hanging on the car rearview mirror. But he knows that people are looking for happiness and sometimes that goes hand in hand with superstition ... People also come to the monastery who want their cars to be consecrated ... 19/38

20 I ask the Father whether the averting of the Swedish attack on Jasna Góra can also be seen as a miracle. Pauliner Father Melchior Królik O-Ton: No bo to jest cud strategiczny () Te mnichy ciemne, zamknięte w murach, nie wiedza jaka sytuacja, ze król za granica, ze już cala Polska nasza, wszystko w naszych rękach no broni oni s no z czym do gości z motyka na słonce? Speaker 2: Well, the defense of the monastery, that was a strategic miracle for Father Melchior. The Swedes thought: those stupid monks behind their thick walls, all of Poland already belongs to us ... why are they still defending themselves? In communist times, people wanted to make the father believe that this whole siege story had sprung from the imagination of Henry Sienkiewicz. But historical novels can also reproduce certain times quite well, according to Father Melchior. Pauline Father Melchior Królik O-Ton: No bo (cuda) się nie sprzeciwia wiarze katolickiej i kościół jeżeli orzeka to orzeka nie ze to tak było, tylko ze nie taki cud nic przeciwko wierze. ale to powiedzcie to tym którzy to uznali: to powiedz: ej to chyba nie tak było, to by się strasznie przykro zrobiło temu człowiekowi. Speaker 2: If the church recognizes a miracle, it is not the miracle itself, but the fact that the miracle is not contrary to faith. But tell someone who thinks a miracle happened to them. 20/38

21 If the father had to say to such a person: Oh, you know, but I think that could be explained differently, wouldn't he make them terribly sad? As a farewell, Father Melchior gives me a DVD with contributions on the history of Pole. I also find references to the anti-Semitic inflammatory pamphlet Judeo-Polonia, in which Polish Jews are accused of preventing a free Polish state between the two world wars. I remember when I traveled there first time in a car with the former first lady of Haiti Geri Benoit and I imagined because I read anything I could about Cazale and I remember getting into this romanticized kind of feeling: this is where it s happening, this is where my ancestors came here, they settled her I can nearly smell the polishness emanating from the trees, and the roots and the houses I think that many polish visitors project their polishness on to these villages. Anything polish there is more infused by those people that comes searching for it. I can remember my first visit to Cazale. I drove with the then First Lady of Haiti, Geri Benoit, in the car. And because I had read so much about the Poles in Haiti, I indulged in these romanticizing feelings: So this is where it all happened ... This is where they settled down. I could see and smell Polishism pouring out of the trees, roots, and houses ... Yes, I think a lot of Poles visiting Cazale will change their Polishism on 21/38

Project 22 residents. Codzienny rzeczywistości Haitańskiej to ze ludzie bardzo na to pracują zęby cos zjeść. Jest tam dużo ludzi którzy bardzo mało jedzą. Poznałem tam ludzi którzy rano jedzą taki chlebik z cukrem albo wieczorem gotowane banany z maggi i to musi wystarczyć na cały dzień ludzi którzy są głodni - so obviously in the day to day life people are not very busy where they came from, their identity. In everyday life, Haitians work hard to have something to eat. I met people in Cazale who eat a carrot in the morning and maybe even boiled bananas with soup seasoning in the evening, and that was it. There are people who run around hungry. That is why there is little space in everyday life to deal with one's own origin and identity. Few years later when I visited him I was seeing those polish flags and polish dolls it was one of his pieces in his assemblage of his vodouisant objects that he needs for his ceremonies funnily enough next time I came (to Cazale) with a big polish flag and I gave it to him and he is using it I mean I am an anthropologist I suppose to influence those people as little as possible but I guess I am a post-modern anthropologist and I believe that everybody has their influence so why not it be me (laughs) interestingly enough he hung it the wrong way and i found that fitting 22/38

23 I got to know Empereur Auguste during my anthropological research in the village. When I came back a few years later, I noticed little Polish flags and folk dolls that he used in his vodou rituals. The next time I brought a huge Polish flag to Auguste. As an anthropologist, I should actually influence these people as little as possible, but I'm more of a post-modern anthropologist ... I believe that everyone influences everyone anyway. Auguste hung the flag upside down in his Vodou temple. I would say that on some level there is identification with an entity called Poland. Now with internet and smart phones more and more people from Cazale starting getting an idea: this is an country in Europe, where white people live and that it s doing economically quite well I think so that the residents of Cazale are in their own way with Poland identify. With their lighter skin color, slightly different facial features and sometimes blue eyes, they ultimately differ from the rest of the Haitians. And today, with smartphones and the internet, people in Cazale can get a better picture of Poland, e.g. that the people there are doing quite well economically. Joseph Auguste likes to head the group. A heavy silver chain hangs around his neck. Attached to it is a large Star of David, in the middle of which a Jesus head with a crown of thorns is placed. Auguste wears a blue cap with white fringes and a gold-embroidered border. On a 23/38

24 pedestrian lights he succeeds in gaining the full attention of the troops: Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): In the name of Africa and Central Guinea. To all the spirits who come from the four parts of the world, spirits who dwell in heaven, spirits who inhabit fire, the spirits of water, and the spirits of the earth ... and especially to the queen: the black virgin of Poland ... In a restaurant in a backyard, we are asked into a party room with professional composure. Atmo: Singing it comes from Africa the Guinea Coast. This song comes from Africa ... from the coast of Guinea. While I aim my microphones as close as possible to the singers, I do not notice what is happening behind me ... 24/38

25 on tutaj był opętany. Tak tutaj. 5 minut temu He just got possessed ... Yes, right now, five minutes ago. A young man in the group suddenly falls into a trance. It is climbed by a lwa. The boy literally felt asleep. It was impossible to wake him up and when he looked up it was not his eyes anymore - there was something going on there a different personality, he was scared, angry at something but very self contained but less controlled, less communicative. At one moment everybody knew that it was a different personality there. I don t know by which spirit he was mounted to be honest. The boy literally fell asleep. When he looked at me, it was no longer his eyes. He was scared, then angry again. I don't know what spirit mounted it. Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): Poland is our family, is our race ... Do you understand Sebastian? Before you start you have to negotiate. 25/38

26 Maybe it is not a very romantic thing to say but there is an economic opportunity there. That's more prosaic, but there are also business interests ... Author interview: So, Polishness as capital? Yes, absolutely, some people has asked me if I can organize polish passports. Exactly, their ancestry is their capital. Some from Cazale asked me if I could get them Polish passports ... One of the criticisms that I heard over and over again in Cazale is that individuals like myself, take what they want, means stories, photographs, films, writings leave and that s it a lot of them have a very ambiguous emotions towards those polish people who come on the one hand they want them to come because they hope there would be some kind of economic injection. (...) namely: the road from Cabarais to Cazale is bad the road is between kilometers Could you not organize with the polish foreign ministry some kind of help program, to invest? 26/38

27 Again and again I hear from the residents of Cazales that people like me come to them and take what they like: stories, photos, films, stories and then we run away again. Most visitors from Poland often raise unrealistic expectations among the villagers: Who can build the road to the next town for us? Can the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs start a development program? And so on. Since this is a very poor community jealousy is a big thing in certain level jealousy rules Haiti, so people really watch out when they have gained a thing because having a jealous neighbor in Haiti is a dangerous thing, they are scared of jealousy because there a lot ideas floating around that people can do various magical things hiring a witch doctor - a Bokor - and put some sort of evil eye Because it's a very poor community, envy plays a big role. In fact, I would say that envy pervades all of Haitian society. Having a jealous neighbor can be dangerous in Haiti, because he could make the evil eye look at you, for example. by a bokor, a vodou sorcerer. Little by little it becomes clear to me: During communist times, Polish Catholicism led an existence like Haitian Vodou under the guise of Catholicism. Both were socially too low 27/38

28 rooted so that they could have been banned. So they had to be camouflaged. Another level is hidden under Polish Catholicism: rural customs. Babcia Renia was no stranger to them either. Aunt Ewa Original sound: Jak Kasia była chora to babcia wzięła pod łóżeczko położyła miseczkę i tam jakiś wosk wylała na wodę odcinała uroki, bo powiedziała ze Kasia takie ładne dziecko to kto i ja złówze dziecko to kto ja złaurze , nawet jakieś rózgi kładła pod łóżeczko, jakieś tam patyki, bo tam wierzba była. Speaker 2: When Sebastian's cousin got sick, Babcia Renia put a bowl of water under her bed and then she poured wax into it to ward off the evil eye. She often did such rituals.Sometimes she would spit over her shoulder three times or put bundles of rods under the bed. My uncle Janusz Babcia Renia's youngest son lives with his wife an hour away from Jana Góra Monastery. Very rural. We are sitting in the living room while my aunt Ewa is showering us with food. Aunt Ewa actuality: Zmora lata po oborach i duszy zwierzęta i konie się spuszy: zmora wpadła do obory - zmora to zły taki duch mi to rodzice bardzo często opowiadali mi to A 28/38

29 pamiętasz ze były kocie łapki i te kobiety nie wolno do obory wpuszczać po mleko krowie ukradną Speaker 2: Zmora - that's what these evil land spirits were called. They always frightened the animals in the barn. There were also cat paws ... The village policeman Jurek is also sitting at the table. During the communist era he worked for the moral police. Policeman Jurek O-Ton: No bo myśmy raz po kielichu tutaj raz wymyśleli ze jak w cos się uwierzy: człowiek w mózgu wszystko może zrobić i jak pójdzie tam więężyąc w to ze zęta Matzieka goz buzdrowi i tka Boszieka gozdrowi i t uzdrowi i dla tego tam te cuda zostają pisane. Speaker 2: Some time ago, after a few glasses of vodka, Jurek and Janusz came to the conclusion: if a person has really strong faith, his brain will make everything possible for him. And if he believes that the Mother of God will heal him, then it will really happen. Aren't miracles the positive version of conspiracy theories? Miracles need the bite-sized format. And then the Black Madonna drove the Swedes out of Poland, everything else is superfluous ballast. And 29/38

30 whoever has the authority to interpret such miracles has power over the people who believe in them. Who really left the scars on the icon of the Black Madonna? Who can say for sure today how she got to Haiti? Uncle Janusz Original sound: Bo po jednej stronie oni byli prześladowani, ale z drugiej strony to większości z nich była na garnuszku SB czy UB miedzy sobą donosili na siebie, byli stałymi współpczękali, byli stałymi współpracodsękowi płuziewoz tołużuży beziew go mieli. Speaker 2: On the one hand the priests were persecuted under communism, says the village policeman Jurek, on the other hand they collaborated with the security service and were permanently on his payroll. They were also bribed with easy girls and denounced one another. And then, on the way back from Jasna Góra, it happens again. This time it hits the empereur Joseph Auguste himself. I look into his eyes: they look sleepy, absent, as if he had a few drinks too many. Speaker 2 (Joseph Auguste Louis): (Creole) When we go in, in the first part, we have to ... do it for me: buy small candles, in small glasses. Bring me 16. If we go in, 30/38

31 all sinners will hold a kindle in their hand. André will be in front. The first queen behind him. The other empresses behind the first queen. So we go in. When we're inside, we circle and pray. Author interview: Sebastian, please tell me what it was On jest po prostu koniem i Any z bogów wybrał go na to by go. mounted to był Baron Criminel (...) Basically mounted him like a horse. So the horse doesn t have the power over the rider He has just been mounted ... like a horse. It was Baron Criminel. Author interview: Baron Criminel? And what did he say to him? To było interesujące: on mówił ze na New Guinea - tam gzie oni pochodzą - tam nie było drums tym trzeba było robić breathing techniques zęby duch wszedł do kogoś huh, huh, huh, to dołącza do trans-generational spiritual memory to bardzo ciekawe Das war very interesting what he said: in New Guinea, where they come from, before the vodou ceremonies with drums there were some that were practiced on the basis of breathing techniques. This technique helped in 31/38

32 Trace to decay and then summon the spirits. This is a manifestation of intergenerational knowledge. In Wroclaw, the vodouists of the Sosyete Honorab Rasin San Bout perform parts from the Vodou liturgy in the newly opened, modernist and splendid Philharmonic. Music: (Sosyete Honorab Rasin San Bout) There is a certain movement in Haiti of an intellectualized Vodou and in a certain senses he is talking part in it. He has a badge of distinction saying that he has the highest level of Vodou knowledge () trying to make the Vodou pantheon of all the lwas more clearer and making it easier explainable to western people, ordering, structuring the hierarchy and the ceremonies making them cleaner , easier identifiable, omitting the messiness that is part of the Haitian Vodou There is currently the movement of an intellectualized Vodou in Haiti. Empereuer Auguste also takes part with his plaque dangling around his neck, which identifies him as Vodou Empereur. One tries to make the chaotic pantheon of the Vodou-Lwas a bit clearer, more transparent for western viewers, and thereby suppresses the disorder that is part of Haitian Vodous. Music: 32/38

33 (Sosyete Honorab Rasin San Bout) The director of the Jerzy Grotowski Institute reminds the audience of the closeness of the vodou rituals to the pre-Christian legacy of Poland: of Dziady, the pagan festival of the dead, which coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day on November 1st. Music: (Sosyete Honorab Rasin San Bout) Today there is a young movement in Poland that refers to pre-Christian religiosity: they call themselves Rodzimowiercy - Slavic neo-paganists. You would like to resurrect a kind of primeval folk religiosity from Polish folklore. Some neo-paganists believe that a Pagan temple of the deity Leila once stood on Jasna Góra the bright mountain. Janusz O-Ton: Mi się wydaje ze to jest kompletnie inny mechanizm tego człowiek na starość coraz bardziej będzie odsunięty od tego świata w którym zżyje a samemu być jak palecami pożcia zobie zogada kimole, człowiek musi mieć popołudniu na gorzkie żale, to wyjście z domu, to jest forma życia. Speaker 2: Uncle Janusz thinks that as people get older, they are increasingly pushed to the sidelines in society. And people need others 33/38

34 people else he'll go crazy. When Babcia Renia went to mass with other women, it was a form of socializing. Do I have to rethink my grandmother's picture at the end of my stay in Poland? Was she really as deeply religious as I always thought she was? Janusz original sound: Przed temu w życiu babci zawsze się cos stało, nie trzeba było słuchać, i nagle jak ojca nie było, wszyscy z domu pouciekali, ona została sama no jak wszyscy w inni stars jakd ja, p no stars jakd ja która przyszła z kim, a dla czego nie przyszła, a dlaczego ma włosy roztrzepane, a tamta przyszła w zdartych butach no i cos się dzieje ... Speaker 2: When her husband died early and all the children and grandchildren were out of the house Babcia Renia quite lonely. Just like many other older people. And when she went to church, she could gossip: why wasn't this and that neighbor in the church, and why were her shoes so broken ... (accompanied / intertwined with the original sound of the 4-person conversation) The table conversation with Aunt Ewa, Uncle Janusz, who is a veterinarian, and the village policeman Jurek unearths even more inconsistencies. One vodka after the other is poured. I get to hear my aunt being asked about her sex practices during a confession to Jasna Góra 34/38

35 became how the Polish rural clergy were involved in gambling, commercial love, and bribery. I even distributed my own offspring across the villages across the region. I hear about a communist high society brothel just a stone's throw from Jasna Góra. Allegedly run by a well-known German porn actress with a Polish-sounding name. Village policeman Jurek also has another explanation for the scars: a Polish cardinal is said to have inflicted them on the Black Madonna in order to then blame the hated Hussite for the crime. I think by the virtue of this amalgam of religions and traditions that Haiti and Vodou is the idea that there is some purity to anything is very far gone so this 19th Century imaginations and fetishes that about the purity of our nation I don t think that this really resonates in Haiti they all know that they came from somewhere else, they all know that they came from Guiney in Africa and I wouldn t say that the Polish know that they probably came from some shithole between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. I think that the idea of ​​the purity of a people as we know it from Europe is completely alien to Haitian society. They all know that they come from somewhere completely different: from Guinea in Africa. But I do not think that the Poles today have any awareness of their ancestry from any cow farm between Kazakhstan and Mongolia. It is interesting that only the common soldiers of Napoleon Bonaparte's former mercenaries remained in Haiti. The officers all returned after 35/38

36 Poland back. Those who stayed behind have completely said goodbye to their Poles and started a whole new life. Perhaps there was nothing for her to return to? Poland is as we know maybe the most homogenous country in the whole world and through the past 70ty years it is the first time so, before that I was a very multicultural, multi-ethic entity (...) I would say that you have 2 narratives: one: polishness: this is us, Catholicism, nationalism, patriotism, fighting for freedom, fighting for our rights it is resisting foreign influence ... and a 2nd one among inteligencja, a narrative not less patriotic, its focused on the multiplicity of polish history, it sa negation of the homogeneity of the country as it is today (471: 48) by doing academic research, writing articles, doing artworks, it s like it s trying to re-infuse Poland with this multi-ethnic type of society. Nevertheless you know how much at each others throat theses communities were but non the less it is a some sort of pride: you know why the Jews came to us, we opened our borders to them and it is negating the fact that we as a country are the most intolerant and nationalistic and xenophobic country that has come out of the ashes of the east-west divide. Today's Poland is perhaps the most ethnically homogeneous country in the world. Before the Second World War, on the other hand, it was very multicultural. There are two national narratives in Poland today. One thing goes like this: Polishism means Catholicism, nationalism, patriotism, the struggle for freedom and resistance to outside influences. The second narrative comes from the camp of Polish intellectuals. The point here is to show how diverse Polish history was. One wants this ideal of multiculturalism 36/38

37 revive. It is swept under the table that these different ethnic groups - Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Germans - have often been hostile to each other in the course of history. And this also negates the fact that our country is today one of the most intolerant, xenophobic and nationalistic countries that emerged from the Second World War. Perhaps the greatest miracle that happened in Haiti is that the black slaves welcomed the Polish mercenaries, offered them refuge and allowed the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa to merge with the figure of Erzulie Dantor. (Phone call) And then we make another call to the Haitian mountain village of Cazale. Empereuer Auguste does not answer, but his right hand, the village judge ... (phone call) Sebastian tells me that the Vodou-Empereur Joseph Auguste was promoted after his return from Poland and that he now enjoys even more respect and influence in the surrounding communities. 37/38

38 (phone call) Although it was the first time for many that they had left their small mountain village, the Haitians seemed pleasantly calm, humble and somehow completely normal to me. My impression was that they were not dazzled by the pomp of Jasna Góras. My family living in Poland rarely goes to Sunday mass these days. Yes, go to church for a moment, kneel down, say a prayer, but then get out, because too much politics is done from the pulpit today ... Rejection: The Vodou icon. The Black Madonna of Częstochowa between Poland and Haiti. A feature by Sebastian Meissner. Speakers: Oleg Zhukov Sukof Anjorka Strechel Oliver Brod Jadwiga Korte and Hansa Czypionka Assistant Director: Johann Otten Sound and Director: Sebastian Meissner Production: Deutschlandfunk Kultur with Westdeutscher Rundfunk / 38