A long night. Fifty years of darkness. A solar eclipse from 1939 to 1989. Poland. A lot of psychological baggage from basically a landlocked nation surrounded, bartered and chatteled off by stronger powers. To rebuild must take place on many levels,and is an ongoing process, one which may be just in the nascent stages in the long arc of history, but never underestimate a defiant spirit. As is said to happen when Poles come across and must engage with a hopeless idea, they assume a rational, logical approach while biding their time for the divine cosmos to send them a miracle. And who knows, it may be happening…
A faithful reproduction of Warsaw’s central quarter exactly as it was before the war. Sort of. A lesson in how to preserve and cherish the past came strangely enough from behind the Iron Curtain. Warsaw presented and especially complicated problem, psychologically as well as physically. As the historic capital of Poland and the center of Polish resistance, Hitler had ordered that it be leveled to the ground like Carthage and replaced by a small garrison town, in one of the great acts of nihilism of all time. The Poles felt that this barbarous act left them no possible choice but to reconstruct at least the medieval walled center of the city.
Warsaw was not like Cracow which escaped with little damage heavier than rifle fire. The Nazis had systematically mined and wired it for demolition, but a lightning encirclement by Russian troops foiled this act of vandalism. As a result, an artistic and historic treasure-trove remains intact. Like many provincial centers in the old Austro-Hungarian empire, Cracow saw little development during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; long stretches of Cracow’s medieval fortifications still encircle the city. As a result there are whole areas of the old center that offer a comparatively undisturbed chronolgy of styles, from Romanesque to late eighteenth-century rococo.
(see link at end)…The president had been trying to honor a famous Pole, awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter who sneaked behind enemy lines to bear witness to the atrocities being committed against Jews. President Obama referred to him being smuggled “into the Warsaw ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.”
Sikorski also tonight tweeted a link to an Economist story noting that “few things annoy Poles more than being blamed for the crimes committed by the Nazi occupiers of their homeland. For many years, Polish media, diplomats and politicians have tried to persuade outsiders to stop using the phrase ‘Polish death camps’ as a shorthand description of Auschwitz and other exemplars of Nazi brutality and mass murder. Unfortunately this seems to have escaped BaracK Obama’s staff seem not to have noticed this.”…What Obama sees as a simple verbal slip up, the Poles see as a blood libel. Those were Nazi death camps, not Polish ones. Correcting the historical record is pro forma in cases like this. Why is Obama resisting?Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/201/05/outrage_in_poland_over_obamas_polish_death_camp_comment.html#ixzz20E6sUINm
After WWII no habitable building went long untenanted. It is hard for a Westerner to understand how precious enclosed space was in a country like Poland that lost millions of square feet of buildings in the course of six years of occupation. Hence, restoration and reconstruction of old buildings became much more feasible than might otherwise have been. Though the new Socialist construction was drab and shoddy there was little evidence of poor workmanship in Polish preservation work which ranged up to superlative levels. The main reason being it involved many old-time luxury crafts no longer in demand such as marble, iron, stained glass, stone carving and wood which were usually undertaken by older men who held the skills. And they needed it since so much was gutted by the Nazi demolition squads in what was really a scorched earth policy, a cultural tabula rasa that was unprecedented. An analogy, though with differences, is like Vespasian destroying Jerusalem and the Temple. The rebuilt works seem fairly conservative but with an unmistakable brio and elegance of Polish taste ; the wit and exuberance that marks the Pole…
(see link at end)…Karski, writing in the middle of the Second World War, tells how an entire underground government was created in Nazi-occupied Poland and how, under the grimmest situation possible, the Polish people not only resisted the Nazis, but creatn elaborate organization which made the French Resistance look pathetically lame….
Karski, a Polish Catholic, also sought out Polish Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto before the 1943 uprising and recorded their desperate cry to the civilized world. Karski was captured and tortured by the Gestapo, and except for the help of religiously devout Poles, he would have perished under Nazi interrogation. His life was a testament to the resilience of the Polish people — Catholic and Jewish — against totalitarianism.
Caught between two of the vilest systems in human history, Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, the Polish people suffered in Nazi death camps, where six million Poles — Jewish and Catholic alike — died. The extermination of Polish Catholics in addition to Polish Jews is described in Sophie’s Choice, a book and then a film.
Before the Nazis began exterminating Poles, the Soviets herded over 1.5 million Polish men, women, and children in cattle cars to Gulag camps, where most died, suffering from policies of deliberate starvation. The Soviets also murdered in cold blood 20,000 Polish officers via the Red Army in the Katyn Forest.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/what_the_jan_karski_gaffe_really_means.html#ixzz20E96MuC0
(see link at end)…So how does it happen that despite the physical absence of Jews from the soil of Poland, they are present everywhere? The answer probably lies in much deeper layers of the Polish experience. Immediately after being freed from the Nazi occupation, the Poles began to live under what many consider the Soviet occupation. For almost 50 years of this cultural and moral “occupation,” the Poles had no opportunity to confront their past and their history. Only now are they embarking on a search for the lost time, and wherever they come to search for themselves they find Jews an inseparable part of their past. So that part of the search for themselves must pass through the Jewish axis, and that is what entrenches the Jewish presence in Poland far beyond its true proportions. Read More:http://www.haaretz.com/culture/books/the-polish-paradox-1.118842