Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

“The Soviet Story” – Video Documentary

Friday, March 12th, 2010

“The Soviet Story” is a startling document of cooperation with the Gestapo, the NKVD before the year 1941. The film tells the story of Soviet domestic terror, the killing of its citizens “on an industrial scale, artificially induced by the Great Famine in Ukraine (Holodomor) of a murder at Katyn.
(more…)

Dr. Jerzy J. Maciuszko – Ambassador of Polish Culture

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

From Plain Dealer:

http://blog.cleveland.com/poland/2008/04/dr_jerzy_maciuszko_the_most_se.html

From “Saving Private Ryan” to “Inglourious Basterds”, there have been plenty of tales told in our popular culture about the exploits of World War II soldiers, as portrayed by stars such as Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt. Much less well-known is the story of a humble Northeast Ohio witness to the very start of the Second World War, seventy years ago. 96-year-old Jerzy Maciuszko recently shared some of his harrowing experiences with ideastream®’s David C. Barnett, who has produced a sound portrait that captures the fear along the front lines and the joy of playing violin in a prisoner-of-war orchestra.

http://www.wcpn.org/WCPN/news/28051/

A Child’s View of the Warsaw Uprising

Monday, August 24th, 2009

As part of the European Union program, „Europe for Citizens”, the Museum of the City of Warsaw has published an anthology of writings in Polish, English, and German. Below is an abbreviated version of the story of an eleven-year-old girl.
Our family was intact at the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising (my parents must have known when it was about to begin). The first of August, at 5 pm. The sirens began, and the city began to come to life. Through the open window of our apartment on the first floor of 5 Grzybowska Street, the sounds of war came bursting in, growing louder. The residents began building a barricade at the beginning of the street, near the gate of the building. In several hours the barricade had grown high and wide and the soldiers of the Home Army felt safe behind it. Finally, Warsaw, tortured by the occupation, was attacking its enemy. (more…)

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…)

Polish Engineer Revolutionizes the Jet Engine

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

One day towards the end of last year, I read in the Plain Dealer that Professor Wiesław Binienda, Chairman of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Akron, was recognized by NASA for his achievements in the area of composite materials and their application to jet engines.  At first, I did not recognize the name, but after a while… – yes, of course, this is about the husband of Maria Szonert, who wrote the book on World War II and writes in the American and Polonia press, our friend from the editorial board. The same day in the evening, our editor in chief called:

“Did you hear about Professor Binienda?”

“Of course, I did. He received an award from NASA.  And not only just a paper. The award was rather measurable…”

“Then you have a job to do. He will be our next representative of Polonia featured in the Forum.”

(more…)

A Conversation with Joanna Wiszniewicz

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

We live in the best country in the world. A free country where the rights of the individual are respected. When there is some question or doubt about these rights, there’s always an explanation, right?

Poles saved Jews during World War II. Today Poles can sleep peacefully, with a clean conscience. But then why does somebody always want to speak about Polish antisemitism? It’s always the same. Somebody always wants me to listen to the story of how someone, somewhere, sometime, said to him „You Jew”. Later this person says to me that he grew up in Poland as a Pole and that he had the same hopes and dreams as his Polish peers. He wanted to build Poland, to defend Poland, and he wanted to be a Pole. And his home was deeply patriotic.

(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.

(more…)

On the Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

Writing  these remarks at the request of our editor- in–chief, I first wish to say that I did not take part in the Battle of Monte Cassino, having fought the battle of the River Bzura.  But that is another story.  A great deal has been written about the Battle of Monte Cassino beginning with the work of Melchior Wankowicz.  British and American publications have given little coverage, if not altogether ignored, the tremendous contributions that the Second Corps made towards the great victory in that conflict.

So it is important for us to look at a recently published history which is quite lengthy (456 pages) and detailed:  Matthew Parker’s Monte Cassino – The Story of the Hardest Fought Battle of World War II.

(more…)

Twentieth Century Changes

Thursday, April 1st, 2004

In The Clarinet Polka, a novel about Polish Americans in a town very similar to Wheeling, West Virginia, the author Keith Maillard describes an encounter between two Polish Americans. The son of a working class Polish family living in the town’s Polish neighborhood pays a visit to a family that arrived after World War II as displaced persons. The head of the family is resented for his “pure Polish” and for the fact that he got a college degree, became an accountant, and moved across the river to a better part of town. Set in the early 1970s in a community not unlike Cleveland’s, The Clarinet Polka shows how Polish Americans changed throughout the twentieth century as they became more rooted in American society.

(more…)

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