Warsaw has announced plans to dismantle the Monument of Gratitude to the Soldiers of the Soviet Army, which has recently been subject to vandalism. The monument can be found in Skaryszewski park which will undergo renovation and revitalisation. The Museum of Polish History will acquire the monument and securely house it once its dismantling is confirmed with all the necessary authorities. The controversial monument commemorates the Soviet soldiers who died on 10-15 September 1944 in the battles for Praga. The monument was erected in the place of the grave of the 26 soldiers who died on 13 September 1944 The monument was unveiled on 15 September 1946 in a Soviet-controlled Poland and, like all Soviet monuments, continues to attract controversy due to the fact that it was forced upon Poland by a foreign invader, namely Soviet Russia.
44165 was this camp number of Alina Dąbrowska who at the age of 20 went to Auschwitz. Today she is 95 years old and is one of the last surviving witnesses of Auschwitz. As a teenager, Alina Dąbrowska (then Bartoszek) worked in the German factory for armaments in Pabianice. She knew German and how to type so got a job as a typist. In the meantime, she began working for the underground and passed all German documents to members of the Home Army. On 13 May 1942 she was arrested on her mother’s 50th birthday. After 13 months in a German prison, she signed a document stating that she was “an enemy of the state and the German people”, after which she was deported to Auschwitz. One of her most difficult moments was when she first crossed the camp threshold. All women looked the same: they had bare heads, some wore scarves, they were screaming, jumping, arguing. She thought it was literally hell. She was new so was given a place to sleep on the ground. There was one blanket and she did not know whether to cover herself with it or put it on. Initially, she worked in the fields but the Nazis later made her type and for three months she types lists of murdered Jews.
According to recent studies, 62% of Poles drink wine and annually drink over 400 million litres of it. The “Poles in the World of Wine 2018” report shows that Polish people most often choose red wine (66%), semi-sweet (40%) and semi-dry (39%). Semi-sweet wines are especially popular with women. Semi-dry wines by people between 30-39 years, from big cities and with a higher education. Poles drink more than 400 million liters of wine a year, and this number is growing, as is the value of the wine market in Poland. In addition, 49% of Poles declare that they have basic knowledge about wines. The best knowledge is assessed by people with a secondary or higher education and living in big cities.
Jordan Jurgiel has been living in Bristol for twelve years now. He says he has always felt welcomed and safe here. Until now. A few days ago someone sprayed “Poles, go away!” on his fence. “I am truly shocked, it’s disgusting,”he says. It is the first time Jordan Jurgiel has experienced racism in twelve years. He has been in Bristol since 2005 and is a supermarket manager. “I was coming home late on Saturday. Just as I was opening my door, my neighbour asked if I had seen the graffiti someone had sprayed just outside my door. I was shocked,” says Jordan Jurgiel. He is convinced that the graffiti is directed only at him. There are no other Polish people who live on his street. “Fortunately my kids are on holiday and have not seen it. I thought I was getting on well with all my neighbours, but then something like this happens, he adds. Jordan Jurgiel has already reported the case. This is not the first such case in Bristol.
Following new legislation, two Sundays in every month are free from trading, which is a completely new situation for people across Poland. Many have not yet got used to this new ‘custom’ which was introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party. Although the shopping centres are closed this on certain Sundays, Poles have handled this ‘problem’ and trade is flourishing at petrol stations. Previous months have shown a record increase of sales on trading Sundays. After the Sunday trading ban had been introduced, it was clear to see that a large group of consumers would not give up shopping on this day. It seems Polish people will still need time to get used to this new law and how to creatively spend their free time, but not necessarily in shopping centres.
Historical sources suggest that there were no primary public schools at that time and only the royal family had access to private schools. Children began their official education at the age of seven. However, before they were sent to the appropriate school, they had often already completed some basic education in their respective family homes. The lessons were conducted in groups by clergymen so that children could be inspired by their ambitious approach to acquiring knowledge. The basis for elementary education was not the familiar ‘reading comprehension’ known from primary schools nowadays, but the complete opposite. Children began learning by reciting Psalters. The selection of Psalters as primary reading materials did not raise any concerns at the time. From the very beginning, pupils were expected to sing and know all the psalms by heart before even understanding the meaning of even one Latin word or learning anything about reading the letters of the alphabet. It was only at the next stage of their educational journey were they taught to associate sounds and words with individual letters.
From the beginning of the year around 77 garbage heaps have been set alight. In some cases, black smoke has been visible from a distance of several kilometres. One question still remains unanswered: who is to blame for this ecological disaster? Were these fires spontaneous or arson attacks although it is hard to believe that they were all caused naturally. Garbage is great business with Polish refuse centres being paid €50 to process one ton of waste. If you multiply the amount of garbage that the Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection (GIOŚ) allowed in 2017, you get a figure of more than PLN 150 million. It is estimated that the illegal garbage business which aims to keep garbage in Poland is even worth PLN 1.5 billion. Waste in landfills should be recycled which involves huge costs. However, ‘spontaneous’ fires suddenly solve this problem, reducing costs and turning all income into profit. However, the detrimental consequences of these fires are effecting millions of Poles.