Polish Armed Forces

Whilst not current Polish Forces the following concerns those Polish personnel who served with the RAF during and after WWII. After the end of WWII I believe that few if any Polish pilots returned to Poland, the then new management regarded them as having been tainted by capitalism and imperialism. So in my younger days I made aquaintance with some of these people. One character who remains in my memory, was a gliding instructor at a certain RAF grass airfield not far from Oxford. One day he became a bit exasperated with one stude who was definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In a loud voice he called out " I have teached all kinds of peoples to fly, I have teached monkeys to fly, I have even teached birds to fly. Wiz you I have problems". This was the same bloke who was having problems with a winch driver whilst attempting to take off in a Bocian (Polish 2 seater glider). Having been dragged about 200 yds and going nowhere fast, he opened the canopy, stood up and shouted "why am I always surrounded by idiots"? Just as well that the winch driver didn't suddenly apply power or that would have been interesting.
 
Thanks for sharing Andre - reminds me that there is still so much of Poland that I've not seen!
Likewise.

In June my Wife and I will be flying to Krakow, hiring a car and going to Zakopane for a few days, then driving around the south-east and spending some time in various places including Zamosc, before heading back via Wieliczka for a few days in Krakow before flying out again. A nice break from the Middle East.

We've been to Krakow before, but the only other time I have ever been in the south-east of Poland was for a few weeks as a military terp on an exercise in a little known place called Arlamow back in the early nineties. It had been a Party-owned hunting lodge and estate back in the corrupt Commie days and the old caretaker chuckled when he told us the story of the attempt to blackmail Tito who had been filmed indulging himself with a couple of painted ladies. He basically challenged the buggers to release the film for all he cared, it would only enhance his reputation back in the macho lands of the southern Slavs.

The area had lots of old abandoned villages. These were the remains of Ukrainian settlements which had been ethnically cleansed post-war by Polish Communist troops carrying out Soviet policies encouraging the delineation of the new Soviet-Polish border. Just as the Poles had been ethnically cleansed from their lands in what became western Ukraine, firstly by occupying Soviet Russian forces (1939-41), then by the Nationalist Ukrainians in the UPA, encouraged by the occupying German forces (1941-44) then again by Soviet forces 1944-48.

Many of the new Polish residents of the reclaimed western city of Wroclaw (formerly Prussian and before that Austrian Breslau for several hundred years - vastly simplified, read "Microcosm" by Davies and Moorhouse) had been evicted from Lwow (Lvov, L'viv, Lemberg, Leopolis) by the Soviets. Only after the fall of the Reds in 1989, were they able to officially commemorate their former home city in their adopted one
 

Andre72

Old-Salt
Likewise.

In June my Wife and I will be flying to Krakow, hiring a car and going to Zakopane for a few days, then driving around the south-east and spending some time in various places including Zamosc, before heading back via Wieliczka for a few days in Krakow before flying out again. A nice break from the Middle East.

We've been to Krakow before, but the only other time I have ever been in the south-east of Poland was for a few weeks as a military terp on an exercise in a little known place called Arlamow back in the early nineties. It had been a Party-owned hunting lodge and estate back in the corrupt Commie days and the old caretaker chuckled when he told us the story of the attempt to blackmail Tito who had been filmed indulging himself with a couple of painted ladies. He basically challenged the buggers to release the film for all he cared, it would only enhance his reputation back in the macho lands of the southern Slavs.

The area had lots of old abandoned villages. These were the remains of Ukrainian settlements which had been ethnically cleansed post-war by Polish Communist troops carrying out Soviet policies encouraging the delineation of the new Soviet-Polish border. Just as the Poles had been ethnically cleansed from their lands in what became western Ukraine, firstly by occupying Soviet Russian forces (1939-41), then by the Nationalist Ukrainians in the UPA, encouraged by the occupying German forces (1941-44) then again by Soviet forces 1944-48.

Many of the new Polish residents of the reclaimed western city of Wroclaw (formerly Prussian and before that Austrian Breslau for several hundred years - vastly simplified, read "Microcosm" by Davies and Moorhouse) had been evicted from Lwow (Lvov, L'viv, Lemberg, Leopolis) by the Soviets. Only after the fall of the Reds in 1989, were they able to officially commemorate their former home city in their adopted one

Hi Condottiere.Glad to hear, that you and your wife will be going to visit Poland.Good job is that you will be going to Kraków in June, rather than July, as there will be World Youth Days in Kraków in July, so the city will be extremely busy.I would recommend visiting historic town of Sandomierz, maybe picturesque little town of Kazimierz Dolny.Also, when in Zamość I would go to nearby Lublin to visit the Old Town which is very nice and to see the Castle where the RON(Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów) Union was signed in 1569..Very historic place it is.I hope you will have a very good time in PL.Best regards.
 
Hi Condottiere.Glad to hear, that you and your wife will be going to visit Poland.Good job is that you will be going to Kraków in June, rather than July, as there will be World Youth Days in Kraków in July, so the city will be extremely busy.I would recommend visiting historic town of Sandomierz, maybe picturesque little town of Kazimierz Dolny.Also, when in Zamość I would go to nearby Lublin to visit the Old Town which is very nice and to see the Castle where the RON(Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów) Union was signed in 1569..Very historic place it is.I hope you will have a very good time in PL.Best regards.
Very many thanks for the good advice. My wife (who is in charge of the agenda) reliably informs me that all of those places are on the route now.
 

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
Very many thanks for the good advice. My wife (who is in charge of the agenda) reliably informs me that all of those places are on the route now.
The salt mines at wieliczka are superb. Auschwitz however is now the world's grimmest theme park. Avoid unless you can read German or polish well (unlike me) so you can go yourself without a guide.
 
The salt mines at wieliczka are superb. Auschwitz however is now the world's grimmest theme park. Avoid unless you can read German or polish well (unlike me) so you can go yourself without a guide.
Although we are fully aware of the Nazi (German) crimes committed both in and out of the death camps, both my wife and I have no interest in being confronted by the horrors of the industrial death machine that was Auschwitz, when on holiday. However we are both very interested in the Jewish cultural revival in the Kazimierz district of Krakow (and neither my wife nor I are Red Sea Pedestrians).

When we were last in Warsaw, I went to the superb Jewish museum which I would recommend to anybody interested in the cultural diversity and multi-ethnic nature of pre-1939 Poland (and also the problems encountered by religious minorities in a country dominated by a Roman Catholic majority with a (mostly) reactionary and conservative Roman Catholic hierarchy).

The last sentence has been edited since posting, to make my intended meaning a little clearer.
 
Last edited:

Trans-sane

LE
Book Reviewer
Although we are fully aware of the Nazi (German) crimes committed both in and out of the death camps, both my wife and I have no interest in being confronted by the horrors of the industrial death machine that was Auschwitz, when on holiday. However we are both very interested in the Jewish cultural revival in the Kazimierz district of Krakow (and neither my wife nor I are Red Sea Pedestrians).

When we were last in Warsaw, I went to the superb Jewish museum which I would recommend to anybody interested in the cultural diversity and multi-ethnic nature of pre-1939 Poland (and also the problems encountered by religious minorities in a country dominated by a mostly reactionary Roman Catholic majority).
Its not the mass murder, its the way its presented at Auschwitz. Wawel castle, the barbican and the square surrounding the cloth hall were interesting. Jaskinia mrozna near zakopane is worth a look. But if you are around my size wear a decent hat of you have short hair. Its a bit low and I earned a few abrasions on my head.
 
Although we are fully aware of the Nazi (German) crimes committed both in and out of the death camps, both my wife and I have no interest in being confronted by the horrors of the industrial death machine that was Auschwitz, when on holiday. However we are both very interested in the Jewish cultural revival in the Kazimierz district of Krakow (and neither my wife nor I are Red Sea Pedestrians).

When we were last in Warsaw, I went to the superb Jewish museum which I would recommend to anybody interested in the cultural diversity and multi-ethnic nature of pre-1939 Poland (and also the problems encountered by religious minorities in a country dominated by a Roman Catholic majority with a (mostly) reactionary and conservative Roman Catholic hierarchy).

The last sentence has been edited since posting, to make my intended meaning a little clearer.
To continue after my edit:

From listening to the experiences of my grandparents and others of their generation in the exiled Polish community in London, I think that most pre-war Catholic Poles were not inherently anti-semitic on a person-to-person level; but that the Church and certain organisations preached Catholic exclusiveness and the notion that if you weren't Catholic, you couldn't be Polish. A throwback to the Counter-Reformation, which sowed the seeds of the end of the multicultural Commonwealth of the Two Nations.

The current Polish Government is of the same ilk. Little Polanders, small minded bigots.

The days of my maternal grandfather's youth (in what is now Belarus, but was Czarist Russia when he was born and then part of the Polish Republic between the wars) are long gone. His local small market town had a square with four different places of worship on all four sides. Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, a Synagogue and a Mosque (there was a small yet significant population of Muslim Tatars in the area).
 
Shame, Poland's Shame.

The current government is trying to strongarm history to fit its own peculiar prejudices.

‘Vindictive’ Polish leaders using new war museum to rewrite history, says academic

PiS is behaving like the Communists it denounces, because far left and far right are positioned on opposite sides in politics in the same way that there are two sides at one point of a Moebius strip.

Kaczynski is really Putin's hapless little helper.
 

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