some of his best friends are in fact polish

But somehow Poland remains unbowed; a self-evident disruption and an inviting unity. It was close, but catastrophe is overcome, despite staring it in the face. This disaster that was Poland: a resonance with impacted suffering that somehow fuses a sense of painful national and personal identity. What Joseph Zurawski called the mentality of the captive satellite.

A country’s precarious position in the world. The Polish perpetually threatened sense of self, the threatened sense of existence. Underneath there is always the ruined remains, still smouldering of an ironically resurrected Poland. It began with Napoleon’s effort to assimilate Poland to its carving out by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union as a colony; Poland and its citizens always seemed on the verge of extinction; there is always an ambiguous destroyed/reconstructed psychology at play, a memory game of Poland’s modern history and continual oppression.

Among the most useful documents in the reconstruction of Warsaw were the paintings of Bernardo Bellotto, who worked in Warsaw in the 1760’s-70’s. His views of various sites proved so accurate that they were used by conservationists as guides to vanished monuments. Image:

( see link at end) …It is a testament and homage first of all to those architects, engineers, planners and everyday Varsovians who sacrifised the better part of their lives to rebuild Poland’s capital, but will also recount tremendous efforts by Polonia and people from other countries around the world who assisted in the greatest urban reconstruction effort of the 20th century of this scale….

Basic Facts (taken mainly from A. Ciborowski’s Warsaw A City Destroyed and Rebuilt):In january 1945, the volume or rubble totalled 720 million cubic feet. 98,000 mines and shells were removed from the ruins of the city and 1,000 buildings were cleared of mines by sappers, an additional several hundred thousand have been cleared since. War losses amounted to 800,000 people killed and 85 percent of the city destroyed…Read More:

—In Warsaw there are 107 fountains, water is extracted from 200 meters under ground. This pavilion was designed by Szymon Bogumił Zug in 1776-1779.
“The Warsaw uprising in 1944 went on for 63 days. Stalin decided to staunch the acces to the water when he understood that it would be an essential resource in case of rebellion…when communism collapsed the city re-opened those sources”
Tomasz Markiewicz—Read More:

The reasons for the success of rebuilding Warsaw as well as Gdansk was not primarily aesthetic, but more political, patriotic and emotional. The city had been reduced to rubble; a destruction involving not only buildings, streets and utilities, but all cultural artifacts such as monuments of national heroes like Copernicus, Chopin, the nineteenth-century poet Mickiewicz and Poniatowski, Napoleon’s general, had been destroyed. In a very real sense such political destruction left only one political response: complete restoration. Above and beyond that, in the first years after the war, living under conditions of incredible hardship, the people of Warsaw needed psychological security as much as physical shelter. The restoration of familiar streetscapes and beloved landmarks.

—1466-1793: as part of Poland (15th to mid 17th Century is called Polish Golden Age. It’s the time when most of Gdansk Old Town was built.—Read More:

( see link at end)…It started when the President went golfing instead of attending the state funeral of President Lech Kaczynski and then blamed his absence on Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull. Soon after, the President decided to sign a treaty with Poland’s archenemy Russia to remove missile shields from – you guessed it – Poland and the Czech Republic.

That slight was followed by Obama’s refusal to present the late Jan Karski’s medal to Soviet Union-defying/Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. Both Jan Karski and Lech Walesa, whom the White House laughably deemed too “political,” shared a “burning desire to rid Poland of tyrannical subjugation.” Therefore, it made sense that Walesa should attend in Karski’s stead, but “President Obama said no.” Notorious grudge-holder Barack Obama probably barred Walesa from the White House because in 2010 Walesa warned that under the President’s policies the United States was “moving toward socialism.” Barack Obama then topped off all those affronts by calling the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camps “Polish Death Camps.” Read more:

In Gdansk the reasons for restoring the old quarters were perhaps more archaeological than emotional. The city lacked the historical significance of Warsaw and its destruction was almost incidental to military logistics, but its great churches and other structures done in the fantastic brick Gothic idiom of the Hanseatic league were perhaps more significant architecturally than anything in Warsaw

e much of Warsaw, the decision was made to reconstruct at least part of it in facsimile.


(see link at end)…So with very few friends in Poland and given his European geographical and language deficiencies, it should be no shock that as Obama lauded Jan Karski with heartfelt affection he included a jaw-dropping reference that Poles found extremely offensive when he said:

Jan served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Read more:


Konstanty Gebert:The main part of the city, on the left bank of the Vistula River, was 90% destroyed. At first, the Polish authorities thought of abandoning the ruins of Warsaw, and transferring the capital elsewhere. But the citizens began to return, settling in the ruins and making ramshackle repairs. Against all odds, the city came back to life once again. The authorities therefore decided to embark upon a huge program of reconstruction.

The ruins of the Ghetto were leveled, and a new residential district was built right on top of them, making the new buildings one level higher than the prewar buildings had been. The city’s historical downtown was rebuilt – but, since all plans and blueprints had gone up in flames, eighteenth century Warsaw landscapes, painted by the Italian artist Canaletto, were used as the basis for the new plans.

Beyond the downtown area, reconstructed with loving care for historical detail, most of what was Warsaw was built over by drab, modern housing, in different styles – from socialist Realism to functionalism. Street names were renamed, to sing the glory of the Communist regime and its patrons in Moscow. A huge skyscraper – the Palace of Culture – was built where Warsaw’s commercial center used to be. This Stalinist monstrosity, a gift from the Soviet Union, dominates the city’s skyline. Over the last decade a number of modern high-rise office buildings have grown around it.

The history of Warsaw’s reconstruction illustrates postwar Poland’s characteristic mix of popular enthusiasm and official insensitivity, of care for the past and denial of it, which characterized the everyday life of the people of Warsaw. The capital of the new Communist Poland was made to dance in rhythm with the tortuous politics of the time. Read More:

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