November 11 Marks 100 Years of Polish Independence after Poland disappeared off the map of Europe for 123 years. In 1795 the countries of Russia, Prussia, and Austria conspired against Poland and maneuvered to essentially conquer the country and divide Poland amongst themselves. Veterans Day in the United States, Armistice Day in the UK, and Polish Independence Day are all celebrated on November 11, as the date World War I ended, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. For more information follow this link for my 2016 post on Polish Independence Day. It includes a link to a fun video of the TV show Jeopardy!
Honoring Polish veterans of World War II takes on both the role of memorializing the sacrifices of these men and women, and educating others about what the Polish military endured and sacrificed. Today, I consider myself pretty self-educated on the Polish experience during WWII and include a lot of that history in my book. But, I can always learn more and will never know everything. If I lived near a strong Polonia community as in Buffalo, New York, where I recently visited and was so warmly welcomed, I am sure I would have grown up knowing far more. Continue reading
Shana Tova for the coming Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur greetings to my Jewish friends. I do not celebrate these holidays personally, but I do like the New Year tradition of Rosh Hashanah to reflect on the past year, pause, and look ahead to the coming year. Don’t we all need to periodically pause, breathe, push the reset button, and move forward with purpose?
I can say remember the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Yet I ask myself, why don’t more people know about the Warsaw Uprising that began on August 1, 1944 and lasted for 63 days. Nearly 200,000 Poles were killed. Like most Americans without a Polish connection or proximity to a strong Polish community, I had never heard of or read about the Warsaw Uprising before meeting Henry Zguda and studying Poland. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 yes, but not the Polish Warsaw Uprising that came a year later. I have several theories that may explain.