Tag Archives: Polish soldiers

F*** The Asterisks

Just when the residents of Poland could start stopping remembering BDSM sections of their history (for who needs the notion of “nation” today?) – many Polish (headbanging) heads will get reinforced in their probable jingo-pride by bands such as Marduk or Sabaton. That both come from Sweden – to make money on Polishful sentiments — I can’t take their songs as any retribution for what XVII cent.’s Sweden stole from Poles (who had stolen the stuff some time earlier).

The Marduk guys sing (?) about Warszawa of WW2.

Or so they imagine.

(Btw, Lennon’s whining remade into…Imagine there’s no Warsaw, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, it’s just the Reich above would be a better attempt at artistic provocation.) Apres les Suedois le deluge – let’s flood Marduk with condescending smiles. Their lyrics could be just about anything — selling pancakes or seeing funny road signs — as long as the chorus should include “Warschau” (repeat three times). The title is in German (warum? geh figurieren, easier to sing (?) than “Warszawa”, plus the German market is mighty big) — and still some youtubers can’t spell it right. — Warshau? Warshaw? — Tell me about wasted education.

The latter band, Sabaton, is more dangerous – they sing intelligibly.

Be gone! Who in their sane mind cares about “Polish Thermopylae” — especially when no one cares about the Greek original? From a military p.o.v., the song does not sound sound either. Poland was defeated at Wizna. The bodycount ratio “40 to 1” means nothing to Darth Vader – or to Paul Tibbets, a guy who survived (!) to talk about his singlehanded victory (!).

Still, the now masses of Polish ingrammaticados, poor commanders of English, hurry to express their occasional love for Polish CO’s who chose to die of grenadosis. (Compare the evergreen, 0:55-02:55.) It does not matter you’re defeated, it matters how you sustain your defeats, Poles will often think.
“Blow wind, come, wrack! At least we’ll die with harness on our back!”

It nearly rhymes with: “Let stones crack! Let the earth quake!”. Yes, it can be nice to listen to “these words are for you Poland” by Laibach (the German name more catchy again), but do we notice the song hails “all the communists” as well?

So, have we asked for it? Heavy metal and heavy weather?

Recently, Mother Nature has provided parts of Poland with hailbombs and whirlwinds. Which reminded me of not so recent floods. And of the fact that:

That’s what Polish PM’s have to do — apologize for words of reason. It happens when instead of letting the country grow evenly richer, middle-class way – they let the nation divide into the dramatically poor against the dramatically rich, and many chewing on the opium for the masses – the recalling of the days of old glory (of defeats).

PS The title of the post refers to a Giles Coren who used the asterisk-free phrase “Fuck the Poles” in his email, so I read. Test your Polishness now: can you care less?

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(I cannot.)

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How to be a (Polish) Billionaire

US / UK quarrels about how much a billion actually is aside — there was a time when you could rather easily become a billionaire in Poland. A time when disregard for “drobne” was real. I mean, would you care about ‘small change’ when ‘small change’ could be a roll of notes to burn a socialist cigar with? (Of course, there were no cigars under socialism here. But there was Cuban music. Close, though no cigar. And I heard people saw Vietnamese cigs once, meant to repel jungle insects, not to pamper your smoker’s palate. But I digress.)

For nostalgic (to old local reader) and for educational (to our young expat reader) purposes, here goes a gallery of the banknotes of the times of plenty. See lifestories behind the faces! Reckon how many of these people were pure, genuine Poles. NONE!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…OUR MONEY!

10 ZŁOTYCH

0000010
Józef Bem

Born in Austria, a national hero in Poland and Hungary, a mathematician, burnt (not entirely) during artillery tests, wrote scientific stuff in German, a general, got Légion d’honneur from Napoleon, and Virtuti Militari for defence against Russians, adopted Islam and was a Turkish field marshal, died in Ottoman Syria.

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20 ZŁOTYCH

0000020
Romuald Traugutt

Born in Russia, served in the Russian army, a sapper, commanded an uprising against Russia, got married to a Lutheran (but converted for him to RCC), fought against Bem (10 above) in Hungary, remarried, degraded and hanged in Russia (Warsaw, specifically).

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50 ZŁOTYCH

0000050
Karol Świerczewski

From Warsaw working class, fought for the Bolsheviks in the revolutionary Russia. And fought against Ukrainians. Fought against Poles during the Polish-Soviet War. Fought against Franco forces in Spain. Shot POW’s and befriended Hemingway. Fought against Germans since 1941. Would give [fatal] orders drunk, a Stalinist MP in Poland, killed by Ukrainian fighters.

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100 ZŁOTYCH

0000100
Ludwik Waryński

Born in Ukraine, a Socialist activist, arrested by Austrians, migrated to Switzerland, returned to Warsaw (in Russia), founded a workers party, arrested by Russians, died in Schlisselburg prison, aged 33.

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200 ZŁOTYCH

0000200
Jarosław Dąbrowski

A noble born in Kiev Russia, awarded by Russians for fighting Chechens. Arrested by selfsame Russians for conspiring, he escaped from his Siberia-bound transport and got to France, where fought for the Paris Commune. Died and was interred in Paris. Mentioned in the Polish National Anthem he is not — another J. Dąbrowski is, being a British Queen(‘s peer), sort of.

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500 ZŁOTYCH

0000500
Tadeusz Kościuszko

A noble, born in Polesia. Got a scholarship in Paris, a military engineer. Fought against Britain, an American national hero. Insurrected against Russia in Poland, leading nobles and peasants alike, sorely defeated, Sworn allegiance to the Russian tzar, emigrated to USA, then to Paris, died in Switzerland. Did I mention he’s mentioned in the name of the highest peak Down Under?

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1000 ZŁOTYCH

0001000
Mikołaj Kopernik

Born in Torun (Prussia, Poland, either Pole or German), wrote in Latin. An astronomer, a mathematician, a translator, a general, a diplomat, a businessman, he stopped the Sun and moved the Earth. In 2006 his skull was DNA-tested and certified to be his. [Watch out for a Polish insider joke: he was a woman.]

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2000 ZŁOTYCH

0002000
Mieszko I

The first ruler of Poland, when there was no Poland yet. His other wife was German. He got (t)his country baptised and religious. Sweet, huh? You bet!….
Real McCoy

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5000 ZŁOTYCH

0005000
Fryderyk Chopin

You’d brand him a pop musician today, somewhere betwixt Rubik and Doda. He was so Polish that his name is spelled French way. Adored, quite weirdly, in Japan. As is Vader. (Which is much less weird.) His “green” banknote – unlike 50 zlotych – was first to mean anything like a dollar.

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10000 ZŁOTYCH

0010000
Stanisław Wyspiański

Montypythons unwound it eloquently: Say no more! Say no more!

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20000 ZŁOTYCH

0020000
Maria…?

….If you go on with “Skłodowska-Curie”, you are pro-Polish.
….If you choose “Curie-Sklodowska”, you are a bloody French lover. Or worse, a French person.

She and her spouse (or the other sex round) used to be on a 500 French Franc banknote. Say: who valued her more? Anyway, the lady discovered polonium and radon.

[Watch out for a Polish insider joke: she was a woman.]

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50000 ZŁOTYCH

0050000
Stanisław Staszic

A middle-class man, a philosopher, a geologist, a scientist, a sponsor to others, including this Jew. Set up a coal mine. A Catholic priest. Well, naturally? Said to dislike wearing his cassock so much he did not wear it. Wanted general education and teology separated. [Ain’t that a shocker? Hardly lived in any Poland though.]

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100000 ZLOTYCH

0100000
Stanisław Moniuszko

A noble, born in Russia (now Belarus), died in Russia (now Warsaw). His composer’s career set off in Berlin. Fathered Polish national opera. — It was, uh, blasphemised calculated there are 5 female names in Poland. The title of one Moniuszko’s highlit opera is Halka. “Halka” is a female name – and then it means “petticoat” in Polish (plus some scary things in some scary languages, possibly).

Below Jontek, a Highlander, Halka’s boyfriend, pines for his love. Halka dumped him for a landlordling, thus he pines. His first words: “The pines tremble on the mountain”. (Or “Roar firs”. Anyway, some trees near Zakopane. Anyone spots a bagpiper in second two below? Oh, and the voice comes from a Ukrainian.)

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200000 ZLOTYCH
0200000

The front side is PRL. (You won’t understand.) The reverse shows Warsaw. (I don’t understand.)

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500000 ZLOTYCH

0500000
Henryk Sienkiewicz

Born in tzarist Poland into a family of Tartar Lithuanians, died in Switzerland. The man who wanted to lift up Polish hearts, basically by means of heart-chilling stories about cruel non-Poles suffering defeats from not less cruel foes. One of his novels, Quo vadis, is about non-Poles suffering in Rome. A Nobel prize winner. Without him, Poland would be different, including some titles.

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1000000 ZLOTYCH

1000000
Władysław Reymont

Born on the much hated 7th day of May, just like Hume, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and, well, others.

He got a Nobel prize for a lengthy dialect-laden novel about peasants. Thomas Mann did not get the prize then. Some say there were few good candidates “during the 1920s”.

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2000000 ZLOTYCH

2000000
Ignacy Paderewski

Born in Russia (now Ukraine), died in New York, a composer and a triumphant piano virtuoso. His heart is interred in the USA. Married a baroness. Has haunted his own museum. They say he was a Sir of the British Empire. A skillful politician, in English, a prime minister, in Poland. Starred in a music drama, as pioneerly as 30 years prior to another music drama, “Yellow Submarine”.

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A 5000000 zloty note was designed, with the Moustached Marshall
5000000
but people had started miscounting zeros already, so the powers that mint gave the idea up. (So, the highest ranking officer here is the Soviet 3-star general, I suppose?)

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They don’t pay me for this.

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Non-Polish soldiers Poles are proud of

One of the legends the Pole would hold dear in their heart is that of husaria. You know – the winged, well armed, invincible Polish cavalry everybody knows. (You do know, right? Well, you do now.)

British hussar, next of kin?

But why well-armed? But why winged? But why invincible? But why Polish?

The hussar’s scale armour wasn’t the best solution, not to mention other flaws.

The wings were probably for parades only and not used on the battlefield. Don’t believe that the sound of the vibrating feathers was to frighten enemy horses. (Pointless, it would be. Infantrymen and artillerymen are not horsemen, while any hostile cavalrymen could just put plugs in their horses’ ears, right?)

Husaria was not invincible. It’s quite ironic that many YouTubes glorifying the supposedly greatest horsepower mounted by man use Krzesmir Dębski’s tune (often started at 1:30) named Husaria ginie – “Hussars Dying”. Dying? Someone managed to kill them? Yup.

Thank you Mr Dębski, we know some great composers are Polish. Husaria of the Polish legend, however, isn’t Polish: The cavalry became a heavy formation, when a Hungarian prince of Transylvania made it such. “Our” CO in the battle of Kircholm (1605) was Ruthenian; his forces were more Lithuanian than Polish. The same Ruthenian led “us” at Chocim (1621). The commander at Kłuszyn (1610) was as Polish as his Ukrainian birth-place or his Ukrainian burial-place. And so on.

Whenever an English name for husaria is required, the terms “Polish Hussars” or “Winged Hussars” are used, both not accurate. When you take a look at a Kossak, don’t believe your eyes:

More winged, more Polish

Take some Brandt for more reality:

Less winged, more real

And the statistics are not too favourable for the Polish worshipper of husaria: had he a time machine, he’ll probably end up non-Polish. Even more probably, he would not be a nobleman. But a peasant, a townsman, a merchant, a jester. What’s wrong with jesters? Well, the company of brothers keeps dreaming of the days of the old winged glory.

Henryk Sienkiewicz, a genius, no doubt, who led the Polish mind into such twisted and lazy patriotism had to work out something for the little folk, too. Not every reader can imagine himself tall enough to jump to the hussar’s saddle. You know: “Aren’t you little short for a stormtrooper?” And so we were given Michal Wolodyjowski.

He was short. He had that French problem. He was not too good with ladies, he would fall in love quickly, platonically, not too physically. When he finally got married, he didn’t leave offspring. Though he tried hard. It’s no laughing matter, in the times of wars, it’s was an important man’s duty to produce more defenders of the state. Some offenders, too. (See PS.)

In the books, Wolodyjowski is called the First Sabre of the Republic, a most skilled duellist. Not the last one, sure. But generally, he was a raider, quick for forays, quick for retreats. He knew how to hide behind his horse when the enemy started shooting. Accidentally shot, that’d be a stupid cause of death for a fine swordsman, right? (So what it’s not chivalrous? I’d love the skill! But ask the greater Polish mind if it is ready to take pride in the ability of getting under the horse to avoid a stray bullet.)

And how did Wolodyjowski die? What were his lifetime’s dodges and tricks good for? Well. How Polish. He decided to blow himself up with the castle he didn’t manage to defend. A romantic death — so that someone else’s grandsons may revel in the biography’s unhappy ending.

By the way, Wolodyjowski didn’t pluck up all of his courage to follow the lit fuse. But there was a Scotsman beside him, fortunately, who did the boom job.)

PS: Did Poland have any other good formation? Of course! Try to learn more about these guys, mercenaries, murderers, pillagers, rapists, outlaws, adventurers, some quite usual breed of their times. And damn, they were efficient!

Stay tuned for more.


Here, I’m nice. There, I’m mature.

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Defeats that make Polish people angry

 

So. Your neighbour buys a car. The fastest production car on Earth. “Life begins at 250!” – he says, smirking, trying to get on your wick. He succeeds. You challenge him to a race. Right away! “I’ll beat you barefoot and single-handed!” – you yell – “Ready, steady, go!” – and off you go, indeed, and you run, your teeth gnashed maniacally.

 

The neighbour needs a few seconds to rethink what you’ve just said, then he accepts the challenge but can’t find the key, so needs to rethink whether the car opens with a key, or with a thumb pad, or a voice recognition system, or is there Scottie to beam him inside, and yes, I guess, it’s that hi-tech, so he spends more time looking for some Star Trek uniform, then, being not too slim, he takes even more time to position himself in it, then in the car, which might start chasing you – oh wouldn’t she swirl to 60 mph in 2.5 secs, but you – you slyfox, you – took wicked turns through the bushes and then abrupt jump down some rocky road, so the neighbour’s got to watch out, slow down not to scratch his baby. Then, the way starts looking civilised, almost German – and the man overtakes you – 5 minutes after you set off. You lost your breath, you lost your boots, you lost your teeth – but not your pride. — You won! — For 5 minutes you were faster than the fastest car on Earth! If that’s not a victory, what is?

 

 

In short: your victories are all about how you define your objectives. Is it the final scene that rules the landscape? Well, my guest here suggested some of the Polish victories were: Tannenberg. Moscow. Vienna. Monte Cassino. Saratoga. The Miracle at the Vistula.

And I brag to differ:

 

= Tanneberg (1410) — If the aim’s to pick a fight with Western Europe, that’s some, duh, victory. But if the aim’s to take the enemy’s capital and impose upon him your terms of the peace treaty – then Poland sustained a major defeat.

 

= Moscow (1610) — If the aim’s not to launch a bunch of adventurers into the Kremlin but to start a royal line of Polish monarchs steadfast on the tsar’s throne – then Poland was defeated.

 

= Vienna (1683) — If the aim’s to clear the path towards the forming of Austrian Empire to destroy Poland in return – call that a victory.

 

= Monte Cassino (1944) — If the aim’s to send the soldiers of Poland [betrayed in 1939 and re-betrayed in 1945] to their Mount Doom in Mordor of Italybe my guest, call it a victory.

 

Right?

 

And then, Poles don’t appreciate they scored some real victories. Great Polish victories. Greater Polish victories. Greatest Polish victories. They’ll be dazed and confused. “You mean, eh, we actually did win all of that?”

To end something in a victory – is not too Polish. It’s Polish to win a battle and lose a war. To suffer for suffering’s sake. To have false history classes instead of true middle classes. To sell cheap myths why we don’t buy expensive cars. Come, stranger, cry rivers with us.

 

So, in the other half of this episode I’ll tell you why — instead of crying — you can laugh at the myth of the winged horsepower of Poland. A bonus, some truths about Poland’s top sabre. (I mean, you need to know Wolodyjowski if you want to survive in Poland! Watch out for the shortest guy in the movie:

 

And stay tuned for more.)

 

PS The Battle of Warsaw (1920) was a victory – but that’s why it’s called a miracle. (And it must be added that soon after the battle Poland re-betrayed Ukraine. As if the reaction to the first betrayal should not teach us anything.) And Saratoga (1777) was a battle co-starring one Pole’s fancy to procure engineering work in America.

 

 

 

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Looking for me?

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How to make Poles angry? [Teaser]

Some of you may need to know what Poland and Poles are truly like or about.

The saying is: “truth shows when wine flows”. When someone goes sloshed(wards), their mind starts closing but their mouth starts spilling the beans (beside some grosser things) — so you can learn a lot. Yet, though any potent wine, plonks included, can do the trick – you have to stay sober yourself — and the timing is crucial since Poles are not heavy drinkers.

So, there’s another way: Make Poles angry.

It’s cheaper. Quicker. Better. Healthier. Sexier.

By making a Pole angry, you’ll make him utter his loud truths. I wrote “him” and “his” as men are socially permitted to give in to their aggression and they get fuming freely, unlike women. (And the generalisation I’ve just made is only to make the female reader angry. Quote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman”, unquote.) By the way, discussing Polish women is some evergreen hellraiser.

Optionally, you may consider hints about how to make Poles angry as warnings what not to discuss with them. Take the nukes, hide them in your arsenal, and pray no one steals or uses them.

The nukes will be my next 7-8 posts — discussing:

1. Polish sportsmen. (Why 30 years’ old memories of clowns are young?)
2. Polish soldiers. (Why they never won their battles, anyway? The whole truth in two half-truths.]
3. Polish artists. (Why no one heard of them?)
4. Polish scientists. (Why they speak American English?)
5. Polish workers. (Why miners, teachers, pensioners
won’t get to decent work?)
6. Polish friends. (And how to use them.)
7. Poles who have to be Polish. (Though they don’t want to or don’t know why.)

[There will be more, but only if your comments make me angry enough.]

Stay tuned to Polandian.

 

You can release your anger here, too.

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