Friday, April 28, 2017
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Modern History XIX - XX

"Images of War" - Graphics of Poland's WW II Suffering

A truly amazing exhibit by artist Jerzy Kajetanski -"Images of War"- opened here on April 20, 2005 inside the Amalie Rothschild Gallery, a component of the Creative Alliance At The Patterson. It consisted of 36 remove-drawn "scratchboards" depicting the horrors and suffering of Poland during World War II at the hands of a most cruel, murderous Nazi Germany, led by Fuehrer Adolph Hitler. In all, Kajetanski created over 200 works that recorded this tragic and blood-soaked chapter in Poland's history that he had personally witnessed and experienced. The stark panels cover the initial attack and siege of Warsaw in September 1939 (18 dedicated panels) as well as the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the city-wide Warsaw Rising of 1944, and the hell-on-earth, genocidal, Nazi concentration camp ultimate insult to humanity.

Read more: "Images of War" - Graphics of Poland's WW II Suffering


The Katyń Massacre

In 1918, Poland regained her independence after enduring three partitions and domination for 123 years by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. Barely 21 years later, on September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, triggering the Second World War. On September 17, the Soviet Union, in cooperation with the Nazis and without a declaration of war, invaded and occupied eastern Poland. Thus, Poland was partitioned a fourth time. In spite of having been only partially mobilized because of strong pressure from its Allies, England and France, Polish forces valiantly fought both invaders for weeks before being overwhelmed and forced to lay down their arms.

Read more: The Katyń Massacre


Long Shadows of War

Just as August will always be remembered as "Polish August" or the month of the Warsaw Uprising, as well as the month when Solidarity was born, the month of September will be associated sadly with the beginning of World War II in Poland.

Some may say that since it is more than 60 years after the war, it is time to forget. I agree, at least in part: we should not point fingers at Germany again and again. I also agree that we Poles have a tendency to remember and re-analyze the past over and over again. We are sometimes rightly accused that we do not live in the present or look to the future; therefore, we do not progress as much as we should! But to remember the anniversary of World War II is not just to evoke the past, it is also to make sure that the past will not be repeated in the future. Germany is a different country now than it was 60 years ago. It went through a period of separation and a difficult reunification. Germany is one of the strongest forces for European integration at the present time.

Read more: Long Shadows of War


The Anniversary of Auschwitz's Liberation

Auschwitz is a word which gives me chills in spite of the fact that I should be more used to this place since I visited it several times as a tour guide. Since I visited it many times I will try to give you a bit more personal description of this horrible place. I will tell you what you should see and what you should know - maybe some of this information is not that obvious in any guidebooks which describe Auschwitz in a very standard way.

There is a reason for talking about Auschwitz right now.

Read more: The Anniversary of Auschwitz's Liberation


How Poles broke Enigma Code

Poles were instrumental in breaking the famous German Enigma code. Not too many people worldwide - even these interested in the history of World War II realize this. Solving Enigma codes was extremely important for the fate of the war, especially the Battle of Britain. But British mathematicians would probably not be able to know so much about German war machine and plans so quickly if not the work of Polish mathematicians in thirties. Poles were able to crack the initial code and the later more complicated versions, they even built the machines which allowed to search for all possible combinations in a couple of hours. Just before Poland was attacked starting War World II, some of these machines were given to French code breakers and some to British.

Read more: How Poles broke Enigma Code


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This is Brande from Uganda with a photo of Ela, my daughter.

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