Posts Tagged ‘invasion of poland’

LESS IMPORTANT EXTERMINATION – Oversimplifying and Altering History

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005

On the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the world once again failed to recognize the Polish victims of the Nazi concentration camps. Instead, frequent remarks about “Polish concentration camps” once again reminded us of the extent of distortions and bias against the Polish cause in World War II that appears to be ever present in the English speaking world.  Accordingly, some remarks on the legacy of Auschwitz are in order.

Created pursuant to the 1933 decree on the protection of the German State, the first concentration camps were built in Pre-war Germany.  After the September 1939 invasion of Poland, most of the new concentration camps were built on the conquered Polish territory for the explicit purposes of exterminating undesirable population.  In addition to the well-known Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, at least seven other hub-like concentration camps were built in Poland, each one with a wide network of sub-camps.  Thus, the Germans set up Treblinka Concentration Camp for the Warsaw district, Majdanek Concentration Camp in central Poland for the Zamość region targeted for Arian colonization, and the Stutthof Concentration Camp with over forty auxiliary camps in northern Poland “to serve the needs of the Polish population in Pomerania,” as the German documents phrased it. (more…)

Heroes and Criminals – To Survive KZ Sachsenhausen

Friday, October 1st, 2004

In the late nineties during a yacht journey through the Canadian lakes, I met a tall and slim elderly sailor, Professor Jerzy Pindera.  His springy military walk revealed a man full of energy, a man always in search of action and challenge.  His personage was engulfed with the legend of horrific war experiences.  Seriously wounded in September of 1939, he struggled to the end of his days with permanent handicap of one hand.  His busy, tragic and exciting life came to an end in Waterloo, Canada, in 2003.

In the spring of 2004 Pindera’s war memoir was published. A tiny modest book entitled Liebe Mutti; One Man’s Struggle to Survive in KZ Sachsenhausen, 1939-1945, was edited and expanded with a commentary by Lynne Taylor, a history professor at the University of Waterloo.

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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

A Sybirak in America

Saturday, February 1st, 2003

Because many witnesses to dramatic events of the past often fail to leave any written record behind, a scholar of Polish history is often hampered in his quest to uncover the truth. And so is a lay person simply eager to learn about Poland from a personalized account. Eugene Bak set out to remedy the problem. His Life’s Journey: Autobiography (Boulder, CO. and New York: East European Monographs and Columbia University Press, 2002) is a combination memoir, travelogue, history textbook, and a business school lesson.

Born in Polska Wola, near Podhajce, the Province of Tarnopol, in Poland’s Eastern Borderlands, Bak’s life was regulated by the daily chores of village life and, on a larger plane, by Catholic and partriotic holidays. (…) The nightmare began with the joint Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939.

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