Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
So, is it polish, as in “polish the silver,” or is Polish, as in “I am from Poland”? Gotta love the English language. I’m not a linguist, so I don’t know if other languages have so many words that can have multiple meanings and pronunciations. Which has very little to do with my thoughts about this prompt 🙂
I have an aunt who is now in her 80’s. Some years ago, she did a genealogical study of her side of the family, and she created a detailed and careful family tree going back into, if memory serves, the 1400’s. This picture is my mom and her sister Ginny, who created the family tree. My mom is on Ginny’s left.
Mom was 87 when she went to heaven, five years ago next month. Ginny is the last remaining of four sisters.
Anyway, in her research and toward the end of her discoveries, Aunt Ginny discovered that we have some Polish Jew in our gene pool.
While I find that interesting, it was really no surprise. I think most of us would turn out to have a little bit of Jewish ancestry. And of course the company that is advertising on TV that they will tell you your ancestry from your DNA is raking in the big bucks right now, because we all have some degree of a hankering to know who or what has created us.
Several years ago I met a delightful young woman from Poland who wanted me to tutor her in English. She had married an American, and needed to be able to communicate with him and her neighbors more accurately.
Sadly, I don’t remember her name. Our relationship was very brief because of her marital difficulties, and she ended up going back to Poland. How she missed it! She brought me a big book early on in our studies, full of pictures of her beautiful country. I asked her many questions about her home, growing up in Poland, Communism, and so on. She was a fount of information, and she loved to talk about her homeland. I think I learned a lot more from our sessions together than she did.
A quick search for some statistics about the Jewish population in Poland before and after WWII revealed that “At the start of World War II, Poland was partitioned between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (see Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact). One-fifth of the Polish population perished during World War II, half of them were 3,000,000 Polish Jews murdered in The Holocaust, constituting 90% of Polish Jewry.”(Wikipedia)
Think of that. First, Russia and Germany decided to divvy up Poland. I’m pretty sure they didn’t ask the Poles if that was okay with them. Then, 20% of all Poles died during WWII. Half of that 20%, 3,000,000 Jews, died in The Holocaust that revisionist historians want to declare a myth. That’s 90% of the Jewish population of Poland during the War.
Ninety per cent. And along with their murders, hundreds, thousands of documents were destroyed by bombs and fires, thus eliminating the records of whole generations of people.
There have been other tragedies visited upon the Polish people down through the centuries. It is situated between other nations who play tug-of-war with Poland, each wanting the strategic advantage of owning that little piece of the earth.
The Tatras, a mountain range, create a border between Slovakia and western Poland. Both are beautiful countries, full of astonishing scenery. I’ve had the privilege of visiting Slovakia, and I loved it. These countries still have visible signs to remind them of the horrors of war, the results of the greed of mankind.
So there’s just a tiny little bit of history for you today, the day after D-Day, June 6, 1944, a day that is still very much alive in the memories of those who survived the German and then the Russian sweep across Europe.