Medal of Freedom for His Holiness Pope John Paul II
The Vatican, Italy, June 4, 2004, 12:58 p.m. (local)
"A devoted servant of God, His Holiness Pope John Paul II
has championed the cause of the poor, the weak, the hungry,
and the outcast. He has defended the unique dignity of
every life, and the goodness of all life. Through his faith
and moral conviction, he has given courage to others to be
not afraid in overcoming injustice and oppression.
His principled stand for peace and freedom has inspired
millions and helped to topple communism and tyranny.
The United States honors this son of Poland who became
the Bishop of Rome and a hero of our time."
What a wonderful inspiration! What can WE do? - OURSELVES.
Yes, around us, there is plenty to do, in our Polish American
community. Please volunteer, join Polish American organization
of your choice.
Warsaw upraising on CNN - REMINDER and links
A special documentary, reported by David Ensor, will air on CNN
on Sunday, June 6, 2004, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., and again on
Saturday, June 12, 2004, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (E.T.).
See CNN's press release here:
Historical consultation by one of the best Polish historians
Marek Chodakiewicz. By his personal experience in the production
this might be the best piece ever produced about Warsaw Uprising.
The historian gave full details of this important Polish historic
event which was frequently overlooked, particularly in America.
Lets hope that the producer took full advantage of such high
professional help. This might be the most important for those
of us who try to straighten up the historical record about Poland
in World War II.
Tadeusz Mirecki contributed to this note.
On the same subject:
This is a must web site for Polish Americans to show
to your American friends when talking about Polish history:
"Polish concentration camps" again - is it accidental?
First, here is good description of death camp Auschwitz which
can be used as a reference where phrase "German occupiers" or
other reference to W.W.II reality are not being used:
In 1998 I wrote a piece in Polish for Rzeczpospolita where
I presented, among others, results of my interviews with
several high school students from Santa Clara County about
"Who was Nazi?" The question was asked after showing to the
student a short note about capture of death camp guard, who
was hiding in USA. The newspaper note used phrase "Polish
concentration camp" and word Nazi. There was no word Germany
to be found anywhere, nor "occupied Poland". Shocking result
was that they all said that Nazis were Poles.
Polish American Congress addressed the issue to several news
agencies and news networks and all seemed to get better. For
a moment. This kind of incidents are repeating again. Media
are again "sloppy" or using "short cuts" as they were
explaining before. Well, not all of them. In the name of
overcoming injustice, please read editorial notes under
this article and react as you might see fit. I know that
Polish American Congress is working hard to combat such
injustice, but your voice is very important. Please let
them know how unjust they are to the Polish nation:
Here are fragments of my correspondence to them (pdf document):
Do we really know what was preventing the idea
of a National Holocaust Memorial in Poland?
I do not know. Your idea that Poles do not want
one might not be correct. Yes, you are for one
in each country. This is your right to think so.
If someone does not get excited about the idea,
does not necessarily mean that is against it.
Other people might have less enthusiastic approach to
this particular idea for many reasons. Have you ever
thought about it from different angle? There are Jews
who do not want to have Memorial together with
Christians. Wasn't this the case with problem of
crosses at Auschwitz? What about Carmelites? Jews
were protesting their presence in Auschwitz until they
were relocated. From what I see my impression is that
the Jews would not want to have the same memorial with
Catholics. Have it crossed your mind that maybe
Przemek was talking about this? To me is also
incomprehensible why some Jews object to a common
Do you know that Poland was the only country where
people were shot on the spot for giving even glass of
water to Jewish person, or for any other help given to
Jews. Do you realize how many people were shot and
never given the place at Yad Vashem? If someone was
shot, usually the whole family was shot with them, who
is to claim their deeds. Are you aware of a book by
Zajaczkowski - "Martyrs of charity" -- thousands of
people died for helping Jews. Are you aware of Zegota?
This was an organized help, very sophisticated.
Including making false documents, relocating hiding
Jews etc. I remember as a young boy living in very
small town in Poland in 1960s I heard numerous
accounts of Poles who helped Jews. None of them is
recognized at Yad Vashem. They do not want/need
recognition, they did what was right thing to do. I
have never heard negative things about Jews from my
parents nor from anyone in the community. It was a
tremendous shock to me when someone in America called
me anti-Semite -- just because I am from Poland. My
father spent war at a labor camp after being shot
almost to dead in September of 1939 while defending
Warsaw from Germans. My mother spent war on a village
where she helped to take care of hiding Jews. She said
that many people were shot for helping Jews. She never
cared to describe publicly what she had done. Many
times she talked to us, me and my brother, about
details of delivering food, being afraid of Germans
catching them and the obligation to help other human
beings. I remember specifically, she said that these
hiding people were targeted to be killed, so it was
even greater obligation to help them. Both my parents
were already teachers in 1939.
Do you know exactly what was going on in Jedwabne?
Terrible tragedy, but what scope and why? I am ashamed
of Poles who helped to carry out the killings. Please
see the attached documents at the end of this entire
reply. There is no doubt that Germans were the driving
force. After all they controlled territory. But since
when? Are you aware of the fact that this territory was
occupied first by Russians? Are you aware of the fact
that many Polish families vanished deported to
Siberia? How did this happened? It is documented that
Jews were welcoming Russian occupying forces in 1939.
There are documents to that effect at Hoover Institute
at Stanford University. Then they the ones who pointed
out to Russians who should go to Siberia. Again I have
seen documents describing what was happening. Do you
know that the Jedwabne investigation uncovered Lenin's
statue being thrown into the grave on the top of the
bodies? This speaks volumes, to use your language.
Remember it was a war, these people were fighting.
First Jews sent many families to death in Siberia and
than some people got revenge. Off course I am not
saying this makes it right, but gives you
understanding why my parents were so good to Jews (no
former Soviet occupation) and why Jedwabne happened.
It was wrong to kill, but that was how these people
felt. Poles were sent to death by communists, but when
they killed communists it turned out they killed first
of all Jews. Same in Ejszyszki. Jaffa Elliach claims
it was because Poles are anti-Semites. The truth is
that her parents housed Soviet NKVD and it was an
attack on the enemy in a war. What about Koniuchy?
Have you heard anything about it?
So I respectfully do not agree with this collective
responsibility and the scope of Polish hatred toward
Jews. I am far from denying that there are no Poles
who hate Jews, but I am not willing to carry the
responsibility for them. Your web site has so much
information regarded by Poles to be objective, for
which you deserve great applause. The main is
including Polish non Jewish victims as part of the
Holocaust. Believe it or not, there was a conference
of a Jewish Polish reconciliation group on the use of
the word Holocaust, whether it can be used to refer to
non Jewish victims.
One can think: what are the motives behind painting
such unjust picture of Poles by Mr. Brattman?
By Tadeusz Mirecki
An op-ed piece about the Warsaw Uprising and
the lessons the West needs to draw from it.
In Warsaw, a 'Good War' Wasn't -- By Anne Applebaum
Wednesday, June 2, 2004; Page A25
A brief but brilliant piece in the current issues of Newsweek, tying in to the
anniversary commemorations of D-day and its aftermath.
Bridge between Cultures -- By Radek Sikorski
Newsweek, Publication Date: May 31, 2004
English language translation of the appeal published in Rzeczpospolita on May 28
can be found here:
A list of signatories is included.
And it appears they were right about the political situation worsening -- today,
the Polish media are reporting motions in Parliament to impeach Pres.
Kwasniewski and Premier Miller for their alleged involvement in Rywingate.
Washington Post on Sunday, May 30 devoted its Book World section to review of
books about WW2.
Monte Cassino by Matthew Parker
Reviewed by Jonathan Yardley.
The only mention of Poles is in a catch-all listing "... Poles and many
"The end came on May 18, 1944, when a tattered white flag..."
No word about the red-and-white flag, at least not in the review.
WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
Four books revisit key sites and battle operations of WW2
Reviewed by Mark Kewis
2nd section: "Red army Rising"
Review of "Rising 44 - The Battle for Warsaw" by Norman Davies
The review talks more about the Soviet offensive out of Belarus than about
Warsaw. But it does mention the betrayal by the Soviets, Americans and British.