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Tag: Poland

A barbarian in the besieged city

Zbigniew Herbert felt suffocated in communist Poland where he lacked a creative atmosphere. Travelling inspired him and provided him an opportunity to write on a variety of topics beyond social realism. Yet, in the end, he simply could not live without Poland. He disliked communist Poland, but it was still Poland – his homeland.

Zbigniew Herbert is one of those writers that everyone has heard of but very few have read. People in Central and Eastern Europe had high hopes that he might win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but it never happened. Perhaps it was because two Poles (Czesław Miłosz and Wisława Szymborska) were already awarded the prize during that period. Be that as it may, now 20 years after the writer’s death, it is worth looking back and examining this outstanding figure from a different perspective: as a deep poet, a sophisticated essayist, a profound thinker, a dissident and an Eastern European barbarian who saw the garden of Western culture in his own way.

September 1, 2018 - Andriy Lyubka

August 80′ forever

Today Poland celebrates the accords of the 31st of August 1980. The Solidarity movement had a profound impact on the countries of the Eastern Bloc under Soviet control. In Poland, the events that led to its creation still continue to influence national politics.

August 31, 2018 - Daniel Gleichgewicht

Where two are fighting

Lithuania and Poland have always had a special relationship with several ups and downs since the fall of communism. These days interests are slowly aligning and a format for future cooperation is being established.

August 20, 2018 - Zbigniew Rokita

Mickiewicz reactivated

For the first time in 190 years, music has been added to the poetry of Poland’s greatest poet – Adam Mickiewicz. The project is a collaboration between a Ukrainian folk rock band and a contemporary Polish writer.

The album, titled Mickiewicz-Stasiuk-Haydamaky, includes 10 poems put to the music of the Kyiv-based band Haydamaky. Andrzej Stasiuk, a renowned Polish writer, is one of the initiators of the project, and appears in some of the tracks reading Mickiewicz’s poetry. The cross-border collaboration reflects the heritage of the poet himself. “Mickiewicz has it all,” Stasiuk says. “The lyrics, rhythm and energy.”

April 26, 2018 - Grzegorz Nurek

Renaming streets. A key element of identity politics

Like many governments in history, the current Polish government has been no stranger to regulating historical interpretations through law. The ruling party has pushed several memory laws related to decommunisation in Poland. One initiative focuses on the renaming of streets and has caused further tension in an already divided society.

April 26, 2018 - Uladzislau Belavusau and Anna Wójcik

Memory of independence. A gap-filling exercise

2018 is the year Poland celebrates its 100 years since regaining independence. However, not all of today’s Polish territory was a part of Poland a century ago. This creates a dilemma for these regions and highlights, once again, issues of memory, identity and belonging.

In 2018, Poland becomes “infinitely independent”. At least that is the message on the official logo of the 100 years of Polish independence, which is composed of the infinity symbol coloured in white and red. Independence is to remain in Poland once and for all. But this total, somehow all-encompassing message transpiring from the logo may also be seen through different lenses – those of geography. In other words, as infinity has no borders in time, it should have no borders in space either. It is therefore possible to draw an assumption that the century of Poland as an independent state ought to be celebrated equally in all parts of the country, from its western extremes to eastern borders and from the northern seaside to the mountains in the south.

April 26, 2018 - Mateusz Mazzini

Why Poland needs a post-Giedroyc doctrine towards Ukraine

Today’s Polish-Ukrainian disputes can no longer be resolved by referring to Jerzy Giedroyc’s ideals alone. Although it has largely gone unnoticed, the Ukrainian component of the Kultura programme has already been achieved.

March 22, 2018 - Wojciech Konończuk

Memory politics in CEE

This special episode of the "In Between Europe" podcast brings you an extended discussion on history. Gábor Egry, a historian at the Institute for Political History in Budapest is our guide as we try to construct a more nuanced interpretation of the current Polish memory row and touch on nation-building and history building in Romania and Hungary.

March 20, 2018 - Zselyke Csaky and Gergely Romsics

Becoming the promised land once again

The city of Łódź was once touted as the Promised Land of Poland. But in 2004, it was the fastest depopulating city in the country. After the modernisation of Poland and a revitalisation of the city which saw old factories turned into hip shopping malls and cultural centres, Łódź is back on track to living up to its old epithet.

Our Uber driver takes us through the city of Łódź (pronounced woodge) as he happily tells us about life in Poland. “Not bad,” he says. “Things have gotten much better over the last couple of years.” At one point, he turns around and asks if we know an old movie called The Promised Land (Ziemia obiecana in Polish). “It’s about Łódź, you know,” he tells us. The movie depicts the story of Karol Borowiecki, Max Baum and Moritz Welt’s struggles with building a factory during the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The film, which takes place in Łódź, was adapted from the 1899 novel written by the well-known Polish writer Władysław Reymont. The 1975 film was directed by Andrzej Wajda and depicts greed, lust and dreams during the industrial high.

February 26, 2018 - Emil Staulund Larsen and Emily Jarvie

Kraków’s smog free project

Daan Roosegaarde's Smog Free Tower in Park Jordana in Kraków, Poland, works like a giant air purification vacuum cleaner. Such towers may in time dot the landscape, both rural and urban, just as solar panels and wind farms that are continuing to spread and provide cleaner energy across the world.

February 26, 2018 - Jim Blackburn

Polish Memory Law: When history becomes a source of mistrust

The changes to the Law on the Institute of National Remembrance foster a tremendous mistrust within Poland, provoke memory wars amongst states and halt reconciliation processes between nations. The memory war also puts even more spotlight on the recent political changes in Poland.

February 19, 2018 - Uladzislau Belavusau and Anna Wójcik

Kielce pogrom: The battle over memory

Interview with Michal Jaskulski, co-director of the documentary "Bogdan’s Journey". Interviewer: Paul Toetzke.

February 15, 2018 - Paul Toetzke

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