December 13th, 1981

My mom woke me up. It was unusually quiet, even for a frosty winter morning Sunday. She looked very worried. I could tell she was not trying to panic and keep calm, but something was definitely wrong. She looked at me, as figuring out, how to break the news, and in a serious tone of voice announced: “I think, there is a war”.

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photo from "The Solidarity phenomenon"

“War?!!! But… I am so young…there could not be a war, I have to live my life first…” these were my very first thoughts, and I don’t even remember if I said it out loud. Thousands of streaming thoughts were piercing my mind. “War? Like in 1939, when Nazis invaded? Did the Russians cross our borders? Would they be so arrogant and insolent? Are the other Warsaw Pact allies with them? Will they occupy, close the schools, churches? Are they arresting, killing, torturing people? Do I have anything in the house that I should worry about? Any underground bulletins, anti-communist brochures?” I prayed something like: “Oh God, help us”

After few moments we realized that we were cut off from the world. Although living in a popular communist version of apartment complex (bloki), there was silence, like never before. TV (those two channels that we had then) did not transmit anything. Only sadly torturing Chopin pieces in the radio.

I was walking from window to window. No people outside, neither on the balconies or by the windows. Fear invaded not only our country, but now my little apartment, my future, my imagination. “Revenge”, I thought. “We crossed the line, THEY had to do something about it. This is it “.

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Then we’ve heard an announcement on TV. Our general, Jaruzelski, with a typical monotony proclaimed “State of War” (Stan wojenny). Military coup. No traveling. No school for some time. No social meetings. Evening curfew. Telephone conversations censored. Restrictions. Choking up the leftover dreams for something better than this undignified existence.

I went to church. On the streets some armored vehicles, some ZOMO guys warming their hands over the street fires.

During the Mass solemn prayers. Thousands came. It seemed that everybody wanted to check out, if we will give up, if THEY will win. Some were crying, some devastated, many confused, many in rage.

This was my birthday. Not a happy one. I did not have a party. My sweet 16…

mini_czas_apokalipsy

famous iconic photo taken by Chris Niedenthal, Newsweek reporter: armored vehicle standing by the movie theatre “Moscow”, and the movie being advertised is “Apocalypse now” by Francis Copolla who was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of darkness”


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September 17th

Just 17 days after Hitler’s invasion of Poland, according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, Stalin’s Red Army invaded Poland from the East. Until today, not many people know about it, and Russian authorities to this day do not want to acknowledge this fact. At the time of invasion Poland was free for only 20 years after over 100 years of partitions.

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baptised in fire

wizna

One of the four Polish Thermopylae battles in September 1939 was fought near Wizna (Bitwa pod Wizną). 700 Polish soldiers (Six 76 mm guns, 42 MGs, 2 URs) led by captain Raginis against 40 000 Germans (350 tanks, 657 mortars, guns and grenade launchers, Aircraft support). For real. 3 days of heroic defense. Only 40 Polish soldiers survived.

Swedish metal group Sabaton wrote a song called 40:1 (the ratio of German to Polish soldiers, but in reality it was more like 58:1) about this fight. They will play it tomorrow at the concert in the exact place where the battle took place. Have a peak. Both video clips play the same song, the first one is a historical view, the second from their concert in Poland.

Baptised in fire
40 to 1

So silent before the storm
Awaiting command
A few has been chosen to stand
As one outnumbered by far
The orders from high command
Fight back, hold your ground!

In early September it came
A war unknown to the world
No army may enter that land
That is protected by Polish hand
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your force will soon be undone

Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

The 8th of September it starts
The rage of the Reich
A barrage of mortars and guns
Stand fast, the bunkers will hold
The captain has pledged his life
I’ll face my fate here!
The sound of artillery strike
So fierce
The thunder of guns

So come, bring on all that you’ve got
Come hell, come high water,
Never stop
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your lives will soon be undone
[40 1 Lyrics On http://www.elyricsworld.com/ ]
Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, fathers and sons at war
Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, fathers and sons at war
Always remember, a fallen soldier
Always remember, buried in history

No army may enter that land
That is protected by Polish hand
Unless you are 40 to 1
Your force will soon be undone

Baptised in fire
40 to 1
Spirit of Spartans
Death and glory!
Soldiers of Poland
Second to none
Wrath of the Wehrmacht brought to a halt

No, no, no

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70 years ago

Sept 1st, 1939. The WWII started in Westerplatte. 3 500 German soldiers with 47 bombers, two torpedo boats and one battleship fired against 180 Polish soldiers armed with one 75 mm field gun,   two 37 mm anti-tank (AT) guns, 41 machine guns and four mortars.  It went on for seven days. Over 300 German and 15 Polish casualties. For real. Poles gave up because of lack of water and medical supplies. Polish wireless operator was shot, because he did not want to give up radio code. The rest were arrested. German commander allowed Polish major Sucharski to keep his saber in captivity. He applaud Poles for their heroic fight.

Polish movie about this first battle of WWII, made in 1967 (with English subtitles) starts here:

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