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.
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.
49% of Polish people assess the Polish government’s pro-family politics as well-managed, according to a survey undertaken by CBOS. The least concerned about the subject are respondents living in non-urban areas, of which 57% believe that the programme is being managed well or very well. Out of the six programmes in the pro-family package, most respondents ranked the guarantee of a higher pension for mothers of four or more children, as well as PLN 300 to be paid for every child to buy supplies and textbooks at the beginning of the school year as of the highest priority. However, for most respondents the most relevant benefits for teenagers included vouchers for sports and cultural events. According to the authors of the survey, the way people think about the family has changed over the past few years. Nowadays Poles believe that support should be forthcoming from the government to everyone raising children in Poland.
The owner of Polish store Mięsko Polish Deli in London has refused to pay a fine of ₤100. The shop was punished for throwing away garbage and rotten meat in a car park. Harrow district council lodged a complaint about the Polish store. “We gave the owner the chance to do the right thing, but she started to fight us,” said Graham Henson from the district council. Due to the fact that the fee has not been paid, the case went to court again. The court decided that the owner must now pay ₤1,530. Following the ruling, the car park was cleaned but the fine was still unpaid. The owners did not feel guilty and blamed the neighbours for the mess. The store posted the following message on their Facebook profile: “Our business has been attacked. Someone breaks into our rubbish and throws away their own garbage. Our employees have cleaned it up. We are now waiting for a reply to our complaint.” The court then re-investigated the case including losses incurred by the local council and came to the conclusion that the store should now pay a ₤6,316 fine.
Jerzy Owsiak is the first non-doctor to receive an award from the Polish Society of Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons. It honors individuals who have contributed to the development of medicine. Although not a doctor by profession, he is the founder of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. The charity was set up 26 years ago and one of its notable achievements includes the purchase of over 568 devices for cardiac surgeries worth over PLN 20 million. Three years ago, during the 23rd Orchestra Finale, Owsiak’s NGO managed to raise over PLN 53 million for the purchase of specialist pediatric equipment and for the improvement of medical care provided to elderly people in Poland. Jerzy Owsiak’s charity has collected and donated over PLN 951 million to support Polish healthcare during the last 26 years.