Archive for March, 2004

Growing up Polish

Monday, March 1st, 2004

We refer to ourselves as Americans of Polish origin.  My sister and I were born in the United States, whereas our older brother was born in Belgium where our parents had completed their university studies after the Second World War.  We not only grew up speaking Polish at home, our parents taught us to read and write Polish before we started (American) kindergarten.  However, we were more than just bilingual, we were brought up bicultural as well.  Has this hurt us at all?  Have there been any negative repercussions associated with this?  Absolutely not!

As adults, we realized that our parents had been enlightened people who knew that by virtue of being raised in this country, we would be Americans in every sense of the word and that we would speak like everyone else.  However, they also knew that giving us a second language would enrich our lives and broaden our horizons.

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The Tragedy of W. S. Kuniczak

Monday, March 1st, 2004

Wieslaw S. Kuniczak, born in Lwow in 1930, died on September 20 at Quakertown Hospital near Philadelphia at the age of seventy. We may be to close to his death to sum up his literary heritage. (…) His opus magnum is monumental trilogy consisting of The Thousand Hour Day, The March and Valedictory. The initial volume was published in 1966, and it almost immediately appeared on the Book of the Month Club list. (…)

Putting it in a nutshell, The Thousand Hour Day portrays a tragedy of the Polish nation, when in September 1939, its army faced and was defeated by the best equipped military machine of the modern times, that of Nazi Germany. (…)
Its sequel, The March, published by Doubleday in 1979, deals with the drama of the Polish nation after the September campaign. The action is diffused over the years following the invasion of Poland by the Germans from the west and the Russians from the east. The novel concentrates on the drama resulting from the Soviet’s brutal overrunning of the eastern part of the country, which proved tantamount to the cruelest invasion.

The author focuses on a small number of protagonists such as Abel Abramowski, a young poet whose love for Catherine is reflected in the broken mirror of the war years. Tarski, a professional officer, epitomizes the manner in which the Soviets treat Poles, perishing in the Katyn Forest, where many thousands of Polish officers were massacred in one of the most haunting crimes of World War II. (…)

The final book of trilogy, Valedictory, is a heartrending cry of pain and anguish masterfully put into words. Its massage is that Poland has been betrayed. After the heroic performance of Squadron 303. which tipped the scale in favor of the British in the Bottle of Britain, and equally faithful service by Polish airman, soldiers and sailors on every battlefront in Europe an Africa, Poland was handed over to Stalin on a silver platter by Roosevelt and Churchill. (…) Valedictory is not only a great and moving novel, it also stands as a document of very special significance. (…)

When he turned to rendering Henryk Sienkiewicz’s  trilogy into English, Kuniczak proved, if proof was needed, that a great writer may also excel in the art of translation. In 1991, his translation of Ogniem i Mieczem appeared under the title, With Fire and Sword. (…) The same year(…) he published Sienkiewicz’s two-volume Potop under the title, The Deluge. (…) Pan Wolodyjowski, saw the light of day as Fire in the Steppe. (…) The undersigned was the author of the introduction. (…)

Wieslaw S. Kuniczak, born in Lwow in 1930, died on September 20 at Quakertown Hospital near Philadelphia at the age of seventy. We may be to close to his death to sum up his literary heritage. (…) His opus magnum is monumental trilogy consisting of The Thousand Hour Day, The March and Valedictory. The initial volume was published in 1966, and it almost immediately appeared on the Book of the Month Club list. (…)

Putting it in a nutshell, The Thousand Hour Day portrays a tragedy of the Polish nation, when in September 1939, its army faced and was defeated by the best equipped military machine of the modern times, that of Nazi Germany. (…)
Its sequel, The March, published by Doubleday in 1979, deals with the drama of the Polish nation after the September campaign. The action is diffused over the years following the invasion of Poland by the Germans from the west and the Russians from the east. The novel concentrates on the drama resulting from the Soviet’s brutal overrunning of the eastern part of the country, which proved tantamount to the cruelest invasion.

The author focuses on a small number of protagonists such as Abel Abramowski, a young poet whose love for Catherine is reflected in the broken mirror of the war years. Tarski, a professional officer, epitomizes the manner in which the Soviets treat Poles, perishing in the Katyn Forest, where many thousands of Polish officers were massacred in one of the most haunting crimes of World War II. (…)

The final book of trilogy, Valedictory, is a heartrending cry of pain and anguish masterfully put into words. Its massage is that Poland has been betrayed. After the heroic performance of Squadron 303. which tipped the scale in favor of the British in the Bottle of Britain, and equally faithful service by Polish airman, soldiers and sailors on every battlefront in Europe an Africa, Poland was handed over to Stalin on a silver platter by Roosevelt and Churchill. (…) Valedictory is not only a great and moving novel, it also stands as a document of very special significance. (…)

When he turned to rendering Henryk Sienkiewicz’s  trilogy into English, Kuniczak proved, if proof was needed, that a great writer may also excel in the art of translation. In 1991, his translation of Ogniem i Mieczem appeared under the title, With Fire and Sword. (…) The same year(…) he published Sienkiewicz’s two-volume Potop under the title, The Deluge. (…) Pan Wolodyjowski, saw the light of day as Fire in the Steppe. (…) The undersigned was the author of the introduction. (…)

Jerzy Maciuszko

Forum, 3/2004

Polish Easter Traditions

Monday, March 1st, 2004

Every year, between March 22nd and April 25th, on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon, the Christian world celebrates Easter. The 40-days of Lent precede it – it is a time of deep reflection on the meaning of faith and life, time of prayer and preparation for the Resurrection of Christ.

This most important time begins with Palm Sunday. On this day, palms are blessed. In Poland, these are made out of willow branches with pussy willows, to which other greens like branches of yew, bilberry, and box-tree are added and decorated with dry flowers and ribbons. The Easter palms come in different sizes – from small to ones that are a kilometer long.

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