In the US, we honor our military veterans on November 11. The date is celebrated in many other countries as Armistice, or Remembrance Day. In Poland it is Polish Independence Day. Discussion of veterans reminds me of one of the most appalling snubs of the 20th century. Polish military veterans who fought as part of British forces during World War II were excluded from Victory Day celebrations for sixty years.
The first transport of 728 Polish prisoners arrived at Auschwitz eighty years ago, on June 14, 1940. In honor of those first Polish prisoners, I want to highlight what may seem incongruous to many: music in Auschwitz. Two recent reports highlight Polish political prisoners who composed music at Auschwitz. It’s fascinating history, and a reminder that even in the darkest of places, the human soul can stay alive through the power of music. Continue reading
Ryszard Kuklinski, Polish patriot and American hero, secretly helped prevent nuclear war and World War III in the 1980s. His story is told in the 2014 film Jack Strong, the title a reference to his American code name. If you want a true life spy thriller I thoroughly recommend the film. I did pick up on more historical nuances than my husband since I write on Polish topics, but it’s still a great story of the Cold War. His name stands worthy of remembrance and respect. Here’s why.