History

February 9, 2020
Survivor accounts: Polish deportations to Russia

It is 80 years since on 10 February 1940, over 1 million people were sent from the Eastern borderlands of Poland to slave labour in Soviet Russia. A few survivors recorded...

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January 27, 2020
How did you first hear about the Holocaust ? 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz

Which books or films influenced your knowledge of the Holocaust?  Although I had heard a little of World War II from my family by the time I was at primary school,...

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December 30, 2019
Kuligi (sleigh rides) a sign of defiance?

This Christmas I've been dreaming of the Polish tradition and romance of kuligi (sleigh rides). Who wouldn't want to be sliding swiftly through the night underneath a frosty sky, behind...

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December 20, 2019
Joyous treasures: Polish Christmas Carols

I'm not sure how aware I was that new kolędy (carols) are constantly being conceived as we tend to sing the ones we know from childhood, many dating from the...

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October 25, 2019
Chestnuts and Polish autumn songs

As the leaves start to fall around us and the last of summer's rays warm our limbs, the season of endings as well as new beginnings and great beauty drives...

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August 23, 2019
Wola, Warszawa, echoes of a population destroyed

I first saw the sky high grey concrete communist blocks in the district of Wola to the west of Warszawa’s centre as a child. My aunt and uncle (related through...

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July 12, 2019
Europe’s first republic – the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth

At this time of year I'm often helping the harcerki (girl scouts) learn about Polish history. To illustrate my talks I sometimes use the works of the 19th century painter...

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May 16, 2019
The battle of Monte Cassino – what happened next for the Poles?

The battle of Monte Cassino is known as one of the decisive battles of WWII and for us Poles, as the sacrifice of so many, to break the German defence...

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April 12, 2019
The Katyń massacre – one boy’s tragic loss

The massacre of 22,000 men in the Katyń atrocity is difficult to comprehend without relating it to the personal. The story of Bogusław Piesiewicz, who suffered a double tragedy in April 1940 as a...

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January 26, 2019
The January Uprising which spurred on Polish Independence

Many people say that it would be impossible to establish an independent Polish state in 1918 without the sacrifice made during the Powstanie Styczniowe (January Uprising)of 1863.  Józef Piłsudski, brought up...

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