Tag Archives: poland

Poland Remembered III

By Stu Whitley

This is the third in a four-part series.

The new museum dedicated to the Battle of Warsaw is a compelling place to visit. It opened the weekend we arrived, and the queue stretched around the block. But after being informed of Dad’s participation in the battle, we were afforded special treatment, moving quickly to the head of the line. Serious deference is paid to elders. People give up their seats on trains and trams; seniors are acknowledged in the streets, especially those who, like my father, wore the pin bearing the insignia of the resistance, a stylized ‘P’ with curving feet. He did not wear the Cross of Valour, awarded to him in absentia, for sustained courage in the face of the enemy. This an honour I only learned about recently.

Two days earlier, we had walked the street across from Saski Gardens,
where dad had been dug in. It is a broad roadway now, flanked with new
buildings for the most part. At the intersection of
Marszalkoska-Krolewska boulevards, he pointed this way and that with
his cane, to mark the presence of the German Army behind what were then
trenches in the park, and where lay the heaps of rubble in which he and

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Poland Remembered II

By Stu Whitley

This is the second in a four-part series.

There is no country more tragically concerned with war, oppression and the visitation of death than Poland. This is saying something for a continent riven by ethnic and political conflict for millennia. It is my impression that war—and in particular, the Second World War—casts a long shadow there, for the occupation by the Soviet Union that followed for nearly half a century afterward had its bitter roots in that conflict. The scars are yet there, literally. In the large block in Lublin where my father lived as a boy, a line of machine gun bullets fired 67 years ago is neatly stitched across the stone façade.

My brother and I went to
Poland with my father to visit the country he knew as a young man. In
1939, he was an 18-year-old corporal in the 24th Lancers, his father’s
regiment. The unit was stationed in Krasnik, a small town just outside
Lublin, whose sole purpose at the time was to support the regiment.

days, all that remains of the Lancers are ancient stables now converted
to storage for bricks, and a small museum

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