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Wojciech Jaruzelski, 1923-2014

Wojciech Jarzelski, Poland's last Communist leader, has died from complications following a stroke. [more inside]
posted by orrnyereg on May 25, 2014 - 8 comments

Churning for Eurovision

Just over a month out from the final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Denmark, and the line-up of acts contesting semi-finals one and two, and getting a bye into the grand final, is clear. While there's the usual rivalries, and a special focus on how Ukraine and Russia will do in the voting, the entry that is receiving much early attention is from never-winning Poland... [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Apr 8, 2014 - 48 comments

Translations of Stefan Grabinski, Poland's Poe, Lovecraft, of sorts

Stefan Grabiński is often called "the Polish Poe" or "the Polish Lovecraft," which are both useful for short-hand, but don't quite capture Grabiński's style. As suggested by China Miéville in the Guardian, "where Poe's horror is agonised, a kind of extended shriek, Grabinski's is cerebral, investigative. His protagonists are tortured and aghast, but not because they suffer at the caprice of Lovecraftian blind idiot gods: Grabinski's universe is strange and its principles are perhaps not those we expect, but they are principles - rules - and it is in their exploration that the mystery lies." If you haven't heard of Grabiński, it is probably because only a few of his works have recently been translated to English. The primary translator is Miroslaw Lipinski, who runs a site dedicated to Grabiński. You can read Lipinksi's translation of Strabismus (PDF linked inside), and The Wandering Train online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 10, 2014 - 11 comments

Why did he buy the Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks?

Alexander II was known as the liberator of serfs, because under his rule, in 1861, serfs were granted the freedom to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to own businesses. In 1862, Alexander II signed off on the ethnic cleansing of Circassians that began as a simple resettlement, and led to (by official Tsarist documents, more by other accounts) over 400,000 deaths. Circassians in fact protest the 2014 Olympics in Sochi being that it was the supposed site of their final expulsion. [more inside]
posted by oceanjesse on Jan 29, 2014 - 8 comments

'To Europe—Yes, but Together With Our Dead'

What happens to a nation that's suffered a great crime? What happens when the wrong can't be made right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 28, 2014 - 32 comments

We draw a thick line on what has happened in the past.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki has died. The first prime minister after the fall of communist regime in Poland was later an UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Bosnia and resigned this post in protest over the failure of international community to prevent the Srebrenica massacre. [more inside]
posted by hat_eater on Oct 28, 2013 - 6 comments

Keret House: Jakub Szczesny's Narrow House

"Polish architect Jakub Szczesny claims to have built the world's narrowest house, just 122 centimetres across at its widest point."
posted by The Deej on Jun 28, 2013 - 49 comments

A study of the human spirit.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the largest organized rebellion by Jews during World War II. Marek Edelman, a leader of the uprising, recalls the ghetto and the revolt. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Apr 19, 2013 - 10 comments

I don't really like to be in Poland and that's frankly the truth...

Jodie: Life in Warsaw. A short film about an American woman trying to grow happiness, living in the socialist-era housing estate where her husband grew up.
posted by Flashman on Mar 20, 2013 - 8 comments

"I have to declare Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski dead."

On March 5 a team of four Polish climbers completed the first winter ascent of Broad Peak, one of the world's 8000m mountains. On the descent two of the climbers, Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski, ran into problems and were forced to spend the night at 7900m. Despite efforts to establish radio contact and locate the climbers the next morning they were declared missing on March 6. On March 8 expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki reported that Berbeka and Kowalski were dead and that the team was heading home. [more inside]
posted by edeezy on Mar 9, 2013 - 20 comments

Katyn

Newly declassified documents show the United States had full knowledge of the Katyn massacre, the Soviet massacre of 22,000 Polish officers. The Soviets attempted to blame Nazi Germany. The scars of Katyn remain on Poland, after the Russian State Duma admitted and condemned Stalin's role in Katyn, a delegation of 130 prominent Poles including the President on their way to commemorate the 70th anniversary at the site died in a plane crash.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College on Sep 10, 2012 - 47 comments

"A Polish Village's Secret"

"A farming town hid a Jewish-born teacher during the Holocaust. I went to dig up what it had buried."
Though I grew up in America, I have been visiting my family in Poland since I was a child. But it is only recently, since the great debate began two years ago between [Jan] Gross and [Timothy] Snyder over the causes and extent of Polish co-operation with the Nazis during the Holocaust, that I thought to ask the old people of my family village about what happened during the war. My grandparents mentioned bits and pieces of our family’s World War II history over the years, but it often seemed too painful for them to recall, or as though they wanted the memories to simply be forgotten. When I finally decided to broach the topic with them, my grandmother repeated that she didn’t understand why I cared to dig so deep into the past, why I cared so much about Wladyslaw and his story.
[more inside]
posted by nonmerci on Aug 21, 2012 - 15 comments

Aurochs

Heavy Breeding. "In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their 'primitive' characteristics, they attempted to recreate 'in appearance and behavior' the living likeness of the animals’ extinct wild ancestor: the aurochs. 'Once found everywhere in Germany,' according to Lutz Heck, by the end of the Middle Ages the aurochs had largely succumbed to climate change, overhunting, and competition from domestic breeds." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jul 21, 2012 - 31 comments

Honor and Error

In a high profile gaffe President Barack Obama has recently caused anger in Poland by referring to a Nazi death camp as a "Polish death camp" during a ceremony honoring World War II hero Jan Karski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “The White House will apologize for this outrageous error,Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski tweeted. Sikorski said that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk “will make a statement in the morning. It’s a pity that this important ceremony was upstaged by ignorance and incompetence.” [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on May 31, 2012 - 160 comments

Kicking off UEFA Euro 2012

With just over one week to the UEFA Euro 2012 kickoff, a BBC Panorama special Stadiums of Hate uncovers widespread, systemic racism and far-right violence amongst sects of Polish and Ukranian Football fans.
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 30, 2012 - 42 comments

Because I love you

The eight fingered Polish-Norwegian artist Andrej Nebb with his band, performing Bo jo cie kochom in Oslo in 1980. How he lost two fingers? Cutting his guitar with a chainsaw. That’s why he had to play bass instead. Basically he fled communism to live a rock ‘n’ roll life. Here he is back in Poland in 2002, at Przystanek Woodstock.
posted by nordlys on May 16, 2012 - 9 comments

Style is the bomb

Pyrkon Dance 2012 (Youtube, Vimeo) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Apr 14, 2012 - 10 comments

Nie ufaj nikomu przez 30 lat.

Piotr Czerski sets out a Polish manifesto demanding respect for the internet generation (translated from the original Polish) that is reminiscent of a Eastern European addition to previous internet manifestos. Poland is somewhere this has definite roots however, with a recent anti-ACTA protest of over 10,000 people and legislators wear anon masks in parliament.
posted by jaduncan on Feb 23, 2012 - 11 comments

But it's a hell of a place!

A walk through Białowieża Forest. Białowieża Forest is a primeval (old-growth) forest on the border of Poland and Belarus, first set aside as a preserve for wisent (European bison) in 1638. [more inside]
posted by zabuni on Feb 23, 2012 - 27 comments

Non à ACTA

Anti-ACTA protests have begun around Europe after the secret treaty was signed in Tokyo last Friday. Activists have planned larger protests for Saturday 11 February. The European Parliament will formally consider ACTA in June. (previously) [more inside]
posted by jeffburdges on Feb 3, 2012 - 40 comments

Wisława Szymborska is dead

Wisława Szymborska is dead.
posted by R. Schlock on Feb 1, 2012 - 60 comments

78 78s

78 78s - In Search Of Lost Time - is a streaming mix of beautiful 78s from around the world, collected and curated by Ian Nagoski. "I started sifting through boxes of junky old 78s that no one else wanted about 15 years ago, and almost right away, I made a rule: Anything that wasn't in English, buy it." [more inside]
posted by carter on Jan 29, 2012 - 15 comments

My Father, Always Fond of a Long Shot, Chose to Have His Cancerous Tounge Removed

Diagnosed with cancer, my father decided to have his tongue removed. It’s an extreme treatment, but he’s always known how to make things work out.
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 14, 2012 - 20 comments

Stan Wojenny

On December 13, 1981, Poland awoke to an announcement by Premier Wojciech Jaruzelski declaring a "state of war" (stan wojenny). Martial law would last until July 22, 1983. [more inside]
posted by orrnyereg on Dec 13, 2011 - 15 comments

Degenerate Art

Franz Sedlacek (1891 – 1945) was an Austrian painter who belonged to the tradition known as "New Objectivity" ("neue Sachlichkeit"), an artistic movement similar to Magical Realism. At the end of the Second World War he "disappeared" as a soldier of the Wehrmacht somewhere in Poland.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 7, 2011 - 4 comments

Power as a political and aesthetic category is a collection of fetishes.

Views of Power is a project by Konrad Pustoła which reframes the point of view of the most powerful and influential people in Krakow, Poland by positioning photographs taken from those persons' office windows and posting them on billboards throughout the city. Some discussion on the project at New Art.
posted by shakespeherian on Oct 31, 2011 - 7 comments

eight thousand floating fireballs over poland

To celebrate the recent summer solstice, residents of Poznań, Poland gathered to break the country’s record for releasing paper lanterns by setting 8,000 of the glowing lights aloft. More. (via) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Jul 1, 2011 - 39 comments

Prisoner 918

802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 13, 2011 - 30 comments

Opera and Ballet, Explained

Satiric Art by Polish artist Pawła Kuczyńskiego (Paul Kuczynski).
posted by bwg on Mar 3, 2011 - 12 comments

Ephemeral works

"The Szpilman Award is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time. The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations." This years winner is Treebute to Yogya. The organisers also maintain a blog and an encyclopædia of ephemeral works.
posted by unliteral on Jan 10, 2011 - 9 comments

A Short and Somewhat Political History of Comics in Poland

Animal Farm; or, a Short and Somewhat Political History of Comics in Poland by Tomasz Kołodziejczak, translated by Michael Kandel. More Polish comics info here.
posted by cog_nate on Jan 7, 2011 - 4 comments

Lviv and the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe

Lviv Interactive, a project of the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, is mapping the history, architecture, and human landscape of the City of Lions - including locations no longer there. [more inside]
posted by mdonley on Aug 29, 2010 - 10 comments

"He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer - he drank a bottle of beer like any man "

World War II was a time that called for many things from many different people. However, one Polish soldier stepped above and beyond the call of his nature. He carried ammunition, he helped his squad members get better at wrestling, and he drank and smoked with the rest of them - Wojtek, the soldier bear. [more inside]
posted by lizarrd on Aug 12, 2010 - 48 comments

Tysiąc lat w 8 minut

The history of Poland, in eight minutes, in CGI, from the country's exhibition at Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The film is full of blink-and-you'll-miss-it references - check the date at the bottom-left of the screen and see how many you can find! [more inside]
posted by mdonley on Aug 7, 2010 - 24 comments

Poetry in Hell

Poetry in Hell contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 23, 2010 - 9 comments

I Will Survive

Dancing Auschwitz
"Jewish artist defends YouTube video 'Dancing Auschwitz'"
posted by andoatnp on Jul 10, 2010 - 28 comments

Poland reels

The President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 130 others, including a huge proportion of the elite of Polish politics, have died in a plane crash. [more inside]
posted by Busy Old Fool on Apr 10, 2010 - 155 comments

Please say it ain't true

Poland's late, great, legendary reporter Ryszard Kapuscinski is accused of making it up. [more inside]
posted by MrMerlot on Mar 2, 2010 - 20 comments

Lovetown

Queens of Poland Long review/essay at the DRB on Michał Witkowski's Lubiewo (forthcoming in English translation as Lovetown; extract here), a book about gay life in Poland both in the days of communism and the subsequent Third Republic.
posted by Abiezer on Jan 17, 2010 - 7 comments

"Arbeit Macht Frei" Sign Stolen

Poland has declared a state of emergency, after the infamous bronze sign reading "Arbeit Macht Frei" at former Konzentrationslager (concentration camp) Auschwitz was stolen yesterday. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 18, 2009 - 170 comments

Frédéric Chopin's bicentennial

2010 is the bicentennial of the birth of Frédéric François Chopin - a reluctant instrumental virtuoso, an immortal Romantic composer, and all-around bastard. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 13, 2009 - 45 comments

Picturing Climate Change

Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 10, 2009 - 3 comments

The Surprisingly Accurately Named Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War is a website covers that ginormous kerfuffle that consumed Europe in the first half of the 17th Century from the Second Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia. It has a handy map with a place locator which will help you tell your Schweidnitz from your Schweinfurt. Here are some other maps, The Religious Situation in Central Europe about 1618, Principal Seats of War, 1618-1660 and Europe in 1648 - Peace of Westphalia.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 29, 2009 - 55 comments

1989, revolution in Eastern Europe

The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 27, 2009 - 20 comments

Remember them all

Marek Edelman dies aged 90. A leader of the Jewish Fighting Organisation in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Dr. Edelman survived to later fight in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and in the post-war years was a key figure in preserving the memory of his fallen comrades-in-arms.
posted by Abiezer on Oct 3, 2009 - 24 comments

IgNobility 2009

This year's winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!, featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming, pregnant women NOT tipping over, a household use for giant panda poop (take that, Packham), diamonds made from tequila, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks, "Ireland's Worst Driver", Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a 'Peace Prize' earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles) (related inquiry)
posted by wendell on Oct 2, 2009 - 23 comments

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

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