Category: Poland

Poland and Syria do not immediately appear to have much in common, but the people in both have been abandoned to untold violence with the full knowledge of the world. And while Poland and Ukraine do not share a common history, they have undoubtedly suffered the common problem of being considered a Russian possession: in 1939 Poland was partitioned between Germany and the USSR, then taken by the Soviets at the end of the war as if no more than a Russian province. As recent developments reflect, Russia still sees Ukraine in the same light, though it has been independent since 1991.

One of the many attributes of Alexandra Richie’s fascinating Warsaw 1944 is that it often brings into focus current events and international circumstances no less than the dire story it has to tell. It is an important book that should be widely read. [Read the full article]


Tadeusz Mazowiecki on his 80th birthday party ...

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Eastern Europe’s first democratic prime minister after communism, key adviser to Poland’s Solidarity freedom movement and U.N. human rights envoy to Bosnia in the 1990s, has died. He was 86.

Mazowiecki’s personal secretary, Michal Prochwicz, told The Associated Press that the former prime minister died early Monday in hospital. Prochwicz said Mazowiecki was taken to hospital on Wednesday, with high fever.

A lawyer by training, a writer and thinker by temperament, Mazowiecki was well equipped for his role in ousting communism from Poland and shaping a democracy. As prime minister, he called for drawing a “thick line” to separate the communist past from new Poland, a much-criticized position which contributed to his ouster after a year in office. [Read the full article]

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