History

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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
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...

Continue Reading
November 9, 2018
A bitesize guide: 100 years of Polish Independence

Still young On 11 November it will be exactly 100 years since Poland regained its Independence from three partitioning countries. In Poland it will only be the 32nd time National Independence...

Continue Reading
November 7, 2018
General Stanisław Maczek – finally honoured in the UK

On Saturday 3 November I travelled to Edinburgh for a weekend of 100 year celebrations since Poland regained its independence, yet Saturday itself was all about this forgotten war hero.  The...

Continue Reading