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A parade in Brest, 1939.

September 22, 1939: In the Polish city of Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, in Belarus), "a monumental military parade took place.... What is unusual is that the parade was held not by the Polish army, but by the soviet Red Army and the Nazi German Wehrmacht – together." The excellent blog Poemas del río Wang (which usually features gorgeous illustrations from books) provides historical context, many photos, posters, and cartoons, even a five-minute official German newsreel (the parade takes up the first half). The event itself is a historical footnote, but in Russia, with the "cult of the victory of Soviet people and of the Soviet state in WWII," the very idea of it was anathema and it was denied until last year. [more inside]
posted by languagehat on Sep 27, 2009 - 26 comments

Poland Approves Mandatory "Chemical Castration" Drug Treatment for Convicted Pedophiles

In response to an incest case in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration of pedophiles mandatory in certain cases. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2009 - 127 comments

Remembering the Beginning

At dawn on September 1, 1939, the German Luftwaffe began the indiscriminate bombing of the Polish town of Wieluń and a German battleship, the SMS Schleswig-Holstein, shattered the dawn breaking over the Westerplatte by unleashing a barrage of 280mm and 170mm shells at a Polish fort. At Mokra, the Polish Calvary staved off two Panzer Divisions. A day of commemorations has begun in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Aug 31, 2009 - 61 comments

Kocham Reksio!

Bolek i Lolek and Reksio are both Polish cartoons with little dialogue and similiar animation style. Both cartoons originated in the 60s (during the Communist era in Poland), and were extremely popular for decades. Due to their general lack of vocalization (except for Bolek i Lolek's later seasons), both cartoons were easy to bring to other markets. Famously, Bolek i Lolek was one of the cartoons broadcast on Iranian television after the 1979 revolution. [more inside]
posted by Askiba on Aug 2, 2009 - 11 comments

Leszek Kolakowski dies at age 81.

Leszek Kolakowski, a distinguished Polish philosopher who critiqued the Communist system and helped inspire the Solidarity movement, passed away last Friday in Oxford, UK. [more inside]
posted by orrnyereg on Jul 22, 2009 - 13 comments

No freedom without Solidarity

June 4, 2009 marks 20 years since Poland's first semi-free election under Communism. The election marked the beginning of the end for Polish Communism with its overwhelming mandate for the pro-democracy movement, Solidarity. Today, the world recognizes Poland's accomplishment.
posted by orrnyereg on Jun 4, 2009 - 15 comments

Do you know these children?

Do you, or an older relative of yours, recognize any of these children? More than 70 children separated from their families during WWII, now all elderly men and women, are using the Internet to try to find some answers about their pasts, their families, and sometimes even their own names. They are soliciting help and suggestions in the comments sections on each story. [more inside]
posted by Asparagirl on Dec 19, 2008 - 21 comments

Aleksander Wolszczan

In 1992, Aleksander Wolszczan discovered the first planets outside our solar system. Now, the Penn State professor been accused of spying for SB, the Polish Secret Police. He calls it a "smear campaign."
posted by up in the old hotel on Sep 25, 2008 - 6 comments

Jerzy Duda-Gracz

I'll bet if you aren't Polish you've never heard of Jerzy Duda-Gracz. Poor guy doesn't even have an English Wikipedia page [pl], even though he's the most popular post-war painter [pl] in his homeland. Come inside to see some of his work. [more inside]
posted by Meatbomb on Jun 30, 2008 - 17 comments

Poland's Cultural Heritage in nifty flash site

"Commonwealth of Diverse Cultures: Poland's Heritage is an international educational exhibition which presents the history of tolerance and cohabitation of various ethnic groups in the territory of Polish-Lithuanian Commowealth and is addressed primarily to foreigners all around the world". This is achieved via a very beautiful flash site.
posted by peacay on Mar 25, 2008 - 11 comments

Europa über alles?

Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt.
Deutschland, Deutschland Europa, Europa über alles, Über alles in der Welt!
posted by orthogonality on Dec 20, 2007 - 39 comments

Bacterial marketing: the other Oskar Schindler

Upon the Nazi invasion of Poland, pediatrician Eugeniusz Łazowski and his friend Stanisław Matulewicz fabricated a fake typhus epidemic to save Polish Jews from the Nazis. Knowing that typhus-infected Jews would be summarily executed, non-Jews were injected with the harmless Proteus OX19, which would generate false positives for typhus. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 19, 2007 - 23 comments

warsawa ... tourist trap?

modulation is visiting warsaw. not a city which has ever appeared in my top ten tourist destinations, but i am much more inclined to visit it after reading his thoughtful reflections on its architecture and history not to mention obscure (and in classic polish style, rarely open to the public or about to be shut down/demolished because they are too popular, attractions.)
posted by toycamera on Oct 8, 2007 - 1 comment

Down down in the salt mine underneath the ground

Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland has been in operation for 800-odd years. Needless to say, this has given the miners plenty of time to carve some pretty amazing things. More photos here and here. Videos here and here. Virtual tour here. Wikipedia.
posted by dersins on Aug 16, 2007 - 36 comments

After Stalin in Poland and Hungary

Learn the Truth is an excellent (Flash) presentation on the years after Stalin's death in Poland and Hungary. There's also a plain HTML version.
posted by Wolfdog on Jun 20, 2007 - 6 comments

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Witkacy for short. Artist, photographer, absurdist playwright, surrealist novelist, philosopher, witness to the Russian revolution, art theoretician and critic, the Great Malinowski's closest friend, drug fiend, and by most accounts a raving maniac and self-involved pain in the ass. His greatest novel was sadly prophetic: fleeing east to escape the invading Nazis, and then hearing the news that the Communists were also on the way, he slit his wrists on September 18, 1939 in the village of Jeziory, a martyr and victim to his obstinate belief in the freedom and independence of man against the bankruptcy of ideology and the coming wave of totalitarianism.
Previously here, but this guy's work is just too bizarrely compelling, and his legacy too obscure, to not get a little bit more attention.
posted by Meatbomb on Nov 18, 2006 - 16 comments

He threw caution to the wind.

An international manhunt is under way seeking the man who expressed his displeasure of Polish president Lech Kaczynski by forcefully expelling intestinal gas. No word on whether he did another for the president's twin brother, nor whether he will attempt arson by lighting these farts on fire.
posted by Kickstart70 on Oct 10, 2006 - 31 comments

"The Holocaust is ultimately a ghost story, and Poles have many reasons to be haunted."

In 1945-46, some of the (very few) Polish Jews who had survived the Final Solution returned -- sick, poor, wounded -- to Poland. In Elie Wiesel's words, "they had thought all too naively that antisemitism, discredited 6 million times over, had died at Auschwitz with its victims. They were wrong." In 2001 Princeton professor Jan T Gross published the story of the 1941 destruction of the Jewish community at Jedwabne, Poland, and proved how Jews were rounded up, clubbed, drowned, gutted or burned to death not by German forces as previously believed but by mobs of their own non-Jewish neighbors. Now professor Gross tells the story of the Kielce pogrom in his new book, "Fear". Of course, the Kielce butchery took place in 1946 -- more than a year after the end of WWII and defeat of Nazism. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jun 25, 2006 - 107 comments

Other loves
still breathe deep inside me.
This one's too short of breath even to sigh.
"First Love", by Wislawa Szymborska. (via the Daily Poems of poems.com)
posted by matteo on Mar 29, 2006 - 19 comments

The Dancing House

Weird buildings.
posted by angrybeaver on Feb 20, 2006 - 64 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

Polish movie poster gallery

The always great (and frequently linked) RetroCrush currently has an exhibit on Polish movie posters for western films; seemingly devoid of the original branding & identity art, it's fun to try and guess what movie the images could even be trying to promote. Some are beautiful, some are amateurish, all are intriguing.
posted by jonson on Feb 12, 2006 - 20 comments

Andrzej Munk: Wry Smiles, Suspicious Glances

Eroica. Film director Andrzej Munk’s tragic death at age thirty-nine might have formed the plot for one of his own darkly sardonic works: a Polish Jew and an active resistance worker during the war, he was returning home from shooting his film Passenger at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1961 when an oncoming truck struck his car. He left behind only four feature films, but his influence was prodigious. As one of the key figures of the postwar “Polish School” of filmmaking, along with Wajda and Kawalerowicz, he helped to shape a vision that broke with the official social realist optimism of Eastern-bloc dogma and cast a skeptical eye on official notions of heroism, nationalism, and life in the Stalinist-occupied state. Mentor to Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski, his influence can be felt even in the films of a later generation of Polish filmmakers — directors like Zanussi and Kieslowski. More inside.
posted by matteo on Dec 7, 2005 - 7 comments

Benny's Postcards

Benny's Postcards "is devoted to the postcards my grandfather collected from approximately 1906-1918. The collection is comprised of 435 postcards, most of which were produced in Russia, Poland and Germany." [coral cache]
posted by strikhedonia on Nov 3, 2005 - 5 comments

238 x 504 cm

Transparent Billboards Kasia Kesicka, at the Academy of Fine and Applied Arts in Poznan, creates a commentary on public space in various cities in Poland for his MFA final project in Photography. The result, mirroring the transparent laptop trick, is stunning and poignant {flash}
posted by MiltonRandKalman on Oct 19, 2005 - 36 comments

Polish Circus Posters

Polish Circus Posters
posted by growabrain on May 4, 2005 - 10 comments

Mountain Voices

Mountain Voices. 'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
posted by plep on Apr 10, 2005 - 2 comments

The Story and Stories of Bruno Schulz

"For ordinary books are like meteors. Each of them has only one moment, a moment when it soars screaming like the phoenix, all its pages aflame. For that single moment we love them ever after, although they soon turn to ashes. With bitter resignation we sometimes wander late at night through the extinct pages that tell their stone dead messages like wooden rosary beads."
posted by felix betachat on Apr 8, 2005 - 6 comments

NSFW

Vintage exposures from pre-war Poland, with scratchy “Summertime” on the soundtrack. (Slightly improper for libraries & children under the age of 15)
posted by growabrain on Mar 19, 2005 - 12 comments

Piles of Polish Posters (Plakaty) Posted Presently.

Freedom on the Fence: The Polish Poster. While we're at it: The history and culture of the Polish poster and an analysis of American Films in Polish Posters. Or, if you'd prefer, The Classic Polish Film Poster database (where the Disney/Children's film posters are quite lovely). Also, The Wallace Library at the Rochester Institute of Technology has a fantastic searchable and browse-able database, with many hi-res images. Finally, some other Polish Poster Galleries. (What's that? You want more? You want artist-specific galleries? Okay. Here's work by Mieczyslaw Gorowski, Piotr Kunce, Wieslaw Walkuski, and Jan Sawka. Oh, you wanted Communist-era Polish propaganda posters? Fine. Here ya go.) [previous MeFi discussion on Polish film posters; also, some of the images from these links may be NSFW, depending on how S your W environment is.]
posted by .kobayashi. on Mar 13, 2005 - 10 comments

Dead Artist

Fantasy Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski was found murdered at his house
posted by growabrain on Feb 26, 2005 - 6 comments

A History of Polish Jazz

A History of Polish Jazz
posted by Bighappyfunhouse on Jan 6, 2005 - 7 comments

Poland At War

Poland at War - Photographs of Nazi-occupied Poland taken between 1939 and 1945
posted by cmonkey on Dec 8, 2004 - 22 comments

Radzilow

Radzilow. Memorial to a once-vibrant Jewish shtetl.
posted by plep on Aug 27, 2004 - 23 comments

'SONS OF FUCKING BITCH-ASS GODDAMNED COCK SUCKING GOAT FUCKERS!', he elaborated.

Attacked By Thugs! - Maciej Ceglowski is accosted by young, dorky thugs in Warsaw. After flagging down a van full of police to report the incident, frenzied pursuit-driven hijinks ensue. Almost makes me want to move to Poland and become a cop. Anyone have any sort of similar, amusing, crazed police experience? (I realise there are plenty of non-amusing, crazed police stories out there too, unfortunately.)
posted by DyRE on May 22, 2004 - 7 comments

The 25 Member EU

The European Union welcomes 10 new members! As I write this, the celebrations have started as Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia become members of the EU today. While some folks are gonna party like crazy, others are warning of doom and gloom. What do you think? Will this have significant effects on global culture, politics, and economics - or will it merely represent a paper change within the rarefied world of European diplomats, with little other than localized effects on day to day life?
posted by MidasMulligan on Apr 30, 2004 - 43 comments

Poland's Class of 1936 - A WWII Survivor's Quest

Poland's Class of 1936 - A WWII Survivor's Quest. 'There were twenty-five proud graduates in 1936 from Krzemieniec High School, famous as Poland's Eton. From their graduation photo they smiled confidently -- university and illustrious careers awaited them in a Poland that had recently arisen from the ashes of World War One. A Nobel Prize in their chosen field was a legitimate ambition ... ' [more inside]
posted by plep on Jan 3, 2004 - 10 comments

Polish movie posters.

Polish movie posters. The Polish Poster Gallery has a fascinating collection of artist renditions of american movie posters. The collection compares favorably with the 50 Greatest Movie Posters, as listed by Premiere magazine.
(via fark)
posted by patrickje on May 16, 2002 - 8 comments

EU to independent farmers: Drop dead.
posted by darukaru on Dec 29, 2001 - 8 comments

Polish slang!

Polish slang! Having just moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the heart of Polish New York City, I've been digging for Polish links. English-Polish computing dictionary. Useful Polish phrases, with audio. Simple Polish lessons and email list. Polish spelling dictionary. Warsaw Voice English-language newspaper. Warsaw Business Journal, in English. Warsaw Insider, a city guide. Portal for Wroclaw, capital of Lower Silesia. Kracow Academic Radio. Radio KRAJ from Brisbane. Polish Reader's Digest. Finally, The Official Site of His Serene Highness Dennis Fürst Blücher von Wahlstatt.
posted by Mo Nickels on Sep 8, 2001 - 14 comments

Bill Clinton Hit by Egg in Poland

Bill Clinton Hit by Egg in Poland Does Secret Service procedure consider this an assassination attempt?
posted by matteo on May 17, 2001 - 10 comments

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