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Reinfuss, Roman

Reinfuss, Roman (b. May 27, 1910, Przeworsk [Austrian Galicia], Poland; d. September 26, 1998, Cracow, Poland) — Polish ethnographer and professor. Reinfuss worked for several years as a curator at the Ethnographic Museum in Cracow (1936-1951) and taught at the University of Wroclaw (1945-1949) and the Marie Curie University in Lublin (1954-1963). He also organized and was the long-time director (1946-1980) of the Documentation Section for Polish Folk Art in Cracow (1946-1980).

Reinfuss became Poland’s leading specialist on Lemko ethnography and folklore. He began his first research expeditions to the *Lemko Region in the 1930s as a member of Poland’s government funded *Lemko Section of the Commission for Scholarly Research on the Eastern Lands. He eventually published over 50 detailed studies of Lemko customs, beliefs, art, architecture, traditional dress, and crafts. Among his more general works are “Lemkowie: opis etnograficzny” (1934), “Lemkowie jako grupa etnograficzna” (1948, repr. 1998), “Proba charakterystyki etnograficznej Rusi Szlachtowskiej na podstawie niektorych elementow kultury materialnej” (1947), and “Sztuka ludowa Lemkowszyzny” (1962). He also contributed several studies on *Lemkos to a comprehensive ethnographic description of Gorlice county (Nad rzeka Ropa, Vol. II, 1965). His knowledge of Lemkos was summarized in Sladami Lemkow (1990) and “Zarys kultury materialnej ludnosci lemkowskiej z dawnego ‘kresu muszynskiego’ (1998). Throughout his writings, Reinfuss was always careful to underline the distinctiveness of Lemko culture without adopting either a pro-Rusyn or pro-Ukrainian orientation regarding their national identity.

Bibliography: Tyrs Venhrynovych, “Zasluzhennyi doslidnyk Lemkivshchyny,” in Ukrains’kyi kalendar 1969 (Warsaw, 1969), pp. 58-61— repr. in Annaly Lemkivshchyny, Vol. V (New York, 1993), pp. 11-18; Tadeusz Kielbasinski, “Lemkowszczyzna w pracach profesora Romana Reinfussa,” Plaj, No. 17 (Warsaw, 1998), pp. 13-17.

Bogdan Horbal

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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