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“The Sweetest Enemy” – Review

Sweetest EnemySweetest Enemy, written by Joanna Czechowska,  is a continuation the story that began with The Black Madonna of Derby. It shows complicated lives of Polish immigrants of second and third generation, who live in Derby, England and their relatives in Poland. The first part entitled "The Black Madonna of Derby" takes place before and after World War II and winds up at the end of 70s. Please, check the review at: Black Madonna of Derby - Review.

"Sweetest Enemy" story begins in Gdansk's shipyard in the 1980 after establishment of Solidarity's Workers' Union. Poland's of Solidarity times is showed through eyes of Alex Lato. Alex is a shipyard worker by profession but an artist in heart. The narrative continues during Martial Law in Poland and in Great Britain until the middle 80s and beginning 90s.

Read more: “The Sweetest Enemy” – Review

   

Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

Lady With an Ermine (Madonna z Lasiczka)

Poland has for centuries been home to two of the most famous and admired paintings in the world. And they managed to survive hundreds of years of that nation’s turbulent history, most remarkably the devastation of the second world war.

One of them is a secular work of art, the Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci, one of about a dozen undisputed Leonardo paintings in existence. The other is the Black Madonna, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa or Matka Boska Częstochowy. It has been revered by Poles generation upon generation and there is hardly a church in Polonia, in America or elsewhere, that does not display a replica.

Read more: Lady With an Ermine by Leonardo da Vinci

   

Dating in Poland

 

When I was in a "dating age" in Poland in 80s in Poland, dating was called: "walking with somebody". Dating was also limited to young people, between 15-25 years old. "Walking with somebody" meant enjoying spending time together with your girlfriend or boyfriend walking on the streets or in the parks and holding hands. These were the only private moments since young people were not watched, being among strangers on the streets in public areas. Besides walking, couples spend their free time watching movies in cinema theatre or hiking in the countryside during weekends. The rule was that any financial charges for movie or eventual ice-cream were covered by a boyfriend. Young couples were not able nor allowed to have privacy in their homes for many reasons. In cities people usually lived in small and crowded apartments with their parents and siblings. Bringing somebody home signified that the couple is becoming serious about each other.

Read more: Dating in Poland

   

On the Wrong Site of the Frontline

This is the third article devoted to World War II in Poland for a series started in the September edition on the anniversary of the war. Read the first article Long Shadows of War - Poland and World War II . This is also a first part of mu Uncle Franek memoirs.

wujek FranekAs I already pointed out in the previous article, the majority of Poles in the regions annexed to Germany during World War II, especially in Upper Silesia, were treated like second-class German citizens. The whole Silesian population was divided into four categories - the first two included people who were members of German political, cultural or sport organizations or had pure German blood. The third category, so-called "volksdeutch" (folk Germans or country Germans) were people of mixed blood and mixed culture who spoke either German or Silesian at home. The Silesian language is just a Polish dialect, mixed with some German and Czech words. These people, according to Nazi standards, were not completely germanized but had lived in the region of Silesia for generations. Originally, there was an idea that all of these people should be sent to the Reich in order to germanize them, but this task was simply impossible since there were so many people who would need "germanization." They therefore received temporary German citizenship for a period of ten years. Commonly, people who belonged to this group had all the duties of the first and the second categories: they were required to send their men to Wehrmacht, but they were denied the special privileges of the two higher class.

Read more: On the Wrong Site of the Frontline

   

Birthday and Namesday Celebration in Poland

For Poles the namesdays are the days of their patrons, are usually more important than the birthdays. In Polish: "imieniny" meaning "namesday" or "name day", orginate from "imie" = name. Many namesdays are related to old Polish traditions or seasons of the year. for instance - the beginning of the year is related to Mieszko, the end of the year to Sylwester, the shortest day during the year to St. John or the Miner's Day to St.Barbara - miners' patron. Read more about it in the next part of this article. Besides, the celebration of the namesday (name day) does not reveal the age and everybody can easily figure out when is his friend's birthday just by checking the calendar.

Read more: Birthday and Namesday Celebration in Poland

   

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