67 years ago the Warsaw Uprising ended.
From the start of WWII (and even earlier in the case of the Soviets) both the Nazis and Communists had a joint objective: to murder the Polish intelligentsia. Due to Poland’s troubled history only educated people felt Poles. It means that a peasant living near Białystok didn’t necessarily have any national identity. Such people were seen as fair game by both the Soviets and the Nazis to either enslave or brainwash (and both regimes wanted to steal the peasants’ land and use them as cheap source of work). However, a Polish intelligent posed the threat of “infecting” the peasant and his family with “Polish ideas” which could cause all kinds of troubles, like building up a strong resistance movement. Therefore, the intelligentsia had to die, and it was the first priority of both regimes.
Naturally, I know that Jews were the greatest victims of the Nazis, but it’s what we know because we know the history. From 1939 to 1941 the Nazis weren’t yet decided about the fate of Jews. They knew though, that they didn’t want the Polish intelligentsia around. In a short time thousands of teachers and university professors were either killed or thrown to concentration camps. Measures were taken to prevent people from learning. One could die for carrying Polish textbooks. In the Soviet Union, the “Polish action” began yet in 1937 on the territories with a significant Polish minority. The Soviets killed about 200 thousand of Poles yet before WWII had began.
In the meantime, the remnants of the Polish intelligentsia who evaded deportation did exactly what the regimes feared: educated another generation of Poles. All the kids who fought in the Warsaw Rising 1944 were students of the Flying University.
The idea of the Flying University goes back to the 19th century when Poland was partitioned. Back then the university provided the only forum for scholarly exchange of ideas that were banned under the official regime of the tsarist Russia. It was also the only place where women could study (thousands of them graduated from the Flying University). When WWII broke out the Flying University returned, clandestinely educating tens of thousands of young people.
Come back on Thursday for a post about the Government in Exile.
I have a pleasure to show you the Fallen Art. It is one of many offerings from Platige Image, written, directed and produced by Tomek Bagiński.
From the company’s press kit:
On an old, forgotten military base in the Pacific, soldiers who have lost their minds due to the hardships of war have been gathered to complete one final mission.
There, far away from civilization, Sergeant Al cultivates his love for the brave soldiers, Dr. Friedrich cultivates his talent for photography, and the mentally lost General A creates his art.
But, General A does not use paper nor canvas, he attempts something completely different.
Characters according to the Fallen Art website:
The frog accidentally got into the Atoll base with the transport of frozen goods. She stayed there as she had nothing better to do. No storms, fresh ocean breeze, a piece of grass.
What more could an amphibian want from life?
The base is the frog’s heaven.
The army’s mass-produced cannon fodder. 0A series. Good parameters. Normalized height, weight and character. Never negates the orders, doesn’t surprise with individuality, self-sustaining instinct reduced to minimum. A born volunteer. Easily exchangeable, entirely or in parts.
Born too late for World War II, too early for the present conflicts. He regrets that very much. Always unhappy.
His main occupation is the analysis of pain.
Advanced rheumatism, from which he suffers since childhood, makes the pain unbearable, even during sleep. And so he learns how to feel pleasure out of pain – no matter if his or someone else’s. Besides that, photography is his hobby.
A coarse sense of humour and narcissism he has taken after his uncle. An impressive body after his mother.
He loves his subordinates. Very much. They, due to the lack of alternatives, love him. The love blossoms in the barracks, especially in the evenings.
However, Al loves the army he serves much more. When the army calls, he is able to send the troops to their death without hesitation. He cries out of emotion after the fact.
Well, nobody’s heart is made of stone.
The chief of the unit by assignation, the artist by choice.
The soldiers call him “master”.
At 5 o’Clock, 67 years from today, the Warsaw Rising 1944 broke out. It was the single largest civilian struggle against the Nazi Germany in occupied Europe.
Among the most striking aspects of the event there are the young soldiers (mostly teenagers) and their great organizational skills. For 63 days kids, many aged roughly 10-20, took over the capital of Poland. They had to defend the town against the Nazis, but also provide food and water to the civilians, and organize hospitals and fire fighting squads. Likewise, the entire war propaganda and various channels of communication were in their hands.
I decided to write a short series, starting today, that will highlight those of their achievements that weren’t directly linked to combat. This blog is meant to demonstrate the importance of open society, freedom of speech and information (including internet platforms such as WordPress, YouTube or Twitter) to democracy and individual freedoms.
Many, many people all over the world still may want to learn from the insurgents to establish free channels providing information and support to people in their regions.
I also hope to help empower all those people who feel powerless in the face of oppression. The example of so young people being able to do so much may bring hope and strength to many others. I know it helped Poles, in many ways, to struggle through the era of Communism.
Look out for the next post on Thursday.