Taking a Break on the East Coast

Katrina Shawver - downtown PhiladelphiaI don’t take many vacations far from home. Not because I don’t want to, but the advance planning and work often takes more time than I have or simply overwhelms me. It’s something I need to work on. We all need to take a break at times. Well, for 2019 I stepped out and took a break and headed for the East Coast. You never know who you might meet in downtown Philadelphia. 🙂

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Germany Invaded Poland Eighty Years Ago. Do Untold Stories of WWII Remain?

Henry Zguda and Katrina Shawver work to capture untol storiesFew survivors of the September 1, 1939 German invasion of Poland remain. I believe untold stories of World War II remain, but only for a short time longer.

We are on the brink of losing all remaining untold first-person accounts. Any remaining survivors were likely quite young in 1939. Henry Zguda had just celebrated his twenty-second birthday in July 1939. If he was alive today, he would be 102 years old. His story survives because the universe knocked on my door and I said yes based solely on sheer instinct. It remains one of the best decisions of my life. What can you do if you know of someone with a story?  Continue reading

Who Remembers the Warsaw Uprising?

One of the German POW’s captured during the fighting at the PAST building located on Zielna Street, 20 August 1944. Wikipedia.

Who remembers the Warsaw Uprising?  No, I am not referring to the much better known Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that began in April 1943. The Warsaw Uprising began on August 1, 1944 as a heroic but ill-fated last stand against the occupying Nazis by Poles still living in Warsaw. The Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa; AK) predicted that Soviet forces gathered across the east bank of the Vistula River would move in and assist the Poles in defeating Germany and liberating Warsaw. The Soviets did nothing but watch and gave no assistance to the Poles. By the time the valiant battle ended, an estimated 180,000 Poles (estimates range from 166,000-200,000,) primarily civilians, died in the effort. The death count includes an estimated 17,000 Polish Jews still in hiding or fighting with the Home Army. The Nazis subsequently bombed most of what remained in Warsaw. Any survivors were sent to concentration camps. Continue reading