So today I went to the museum of the Warsaw Rising. Like the Schindler’s museum, it is incredibly creatively done and follows the story of how the Polish Resistance Home Army fought a very uneven battle against the Nazis and Soviet for about three months to try to get Germany out. Tragic results though. Hundreds of thousands of civillians and soldiers were killed and about 25 per cent of Warsaw was destroyed, including the old town.
I visited the old town today – it’s beautiful and totally convincing despite it all being totally rebuilt after WWII. It’s UNESCO listed because they’ve done it so well apparently. If I’m honest I’m starting to think that if you’ve seen one old town, you’ve seen them all though.
One of my old clients had lived through all of this; she’d been living in rural Poland and had spent time in camps. She’d survived but as her dementia progressed the damage became more and more evident and if you looked into her eyes, you could see she was still living the terror – she ended up being too terrified even to leave her room and would even barricade herself in, at times screaming something in Polish.
Read a quote by Spielberg which is fairly relevant:
“It is true that Schindler’s Jews were saved from hell, but can we say it all had a happy ending? None of the people I have met have ever been truly happy…it is like a shadow case over their lives. They cannot forget, and we must not do so.”
Sounds like I’m thinking that all that makes up this country is its troubled history, but I can earnestly say I’m not. I know full well it’s also the land of Curie, Copernicus and (amazing) cabbage dumplings but I just found myself unexpectedly fascinated with WWII history is all. I guess an innocent visit to Auschwitz does that to a person. I would love to have the time to spend about three more weeks here, particularly in warmer weather. Would love to visit Wraclaw, Lodz and Gdansk but alas, visa paperwork is calling me.