Author Topic: little-known story  (Read 221 times)

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Offline jynnan tonnix

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little-known story
« on: December 06, 2013, 08:46:22 AM »
This is something which has been making the news here and there recently. Don't know whether anyone here will be interested, but as something which I grew up hearing about, I think it's pretty cool. There are also some recent articles out there which focus more on my father, as he has been at the forefront most of his life in the efforts to lift the coverup on the Katyn massacre, where his father was killed.

This book also covers some of the more heartwarming aspects of the story, and the woman who wrote it actually, for some reason, dedicated it to my children, whom she had never met, in thanks to my father for having been so instrumental in getting all the information.


http://cosmopolitanreview.com/second-homeland/

Quote
The Second Homeland is the story of the group of Poles who, having been deported to the Gulag by the Soviets, were settled in temporary camps in India after their escape from that “inhuman land” in 1942. They were part of a much larger group of some 50,000 civilians evacuated from the USSR together with the army of General W?adys?aw Anders, the Polish II Corps that was to be based in the Middle East and fight under British command. Their odyssey ultimately spanned several continents, every segment of it marked by tragedy and uncertainty, but also by the unexpected kindness of strangers and their own indomitable spirit. This book focuses on the Indian sojourn of Polish children who rediscovered their childhood among people who were welcoming and kind, in a land of great beauty where exotic fruit and elephants were a part of the natural landscape.


But Anuradha Bhattacharjee’s opening chapter begins with a much grimmer story, with Katy?, the murder of over 20 thousand Polish reserve officers held as POWs by the USSR. She notes Vladimir Putin’s invitation to Polish officials to commemorate the Katy? Massacre in April 2010, and Boris Yeltsin’s 1990 delivery to Warsaw the documents that definitively acknowledged Soviet responsibility for this crime. She makes clear that she is writing about one of the greatest unacknowledged war crimes, a violation of human rights that was compounded by a cynical cover-up of the massacre, and an official silence about the mass deportations to Siberia. Not a few of the children whose story she tells lost their father at Katy?.

That the author does so is indicative of her profound understanding of her subject. Bhattacharjee knows that while she is telling a heartwarming story about orphaned children welcomed by a loving Maharaja, their trauma runs deep. She never loses sight of these two strains of the narrative and this is what gives her book its power and beauty.

Offline wright

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 03:07:59 PM »
Thanks, jynn. History in general fascinates me; there's always something more to learn.

I'll see if my library system has a copy of  Bhattacharjee’s book. The Katyn Forest massacre was something I certainly never learned from any of my high school texts. I first heard a reference to it in an interview with Joe Kubert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Kubert), who also lost relatives to it.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 04:31:34 PM »
I've actually gotten a lot more interested in this whole thing in recent years. My father tended so much to use the whole story as a guilt trip for me when I was younger (if I either didn't appreciate something, or when I rebelled against the constant insistence that my Polish ancestry was all-important) that I unfortunately started tuning out pretty early on. But it's quite a fascinating story, and my father has actually become something of a dignitary in Poland these days (he's 83 years old, and still goes back there to visit at least once a year) as a result of his digging and never-ending demands to several governments that the coverup be exposed, and a formal apology made. Not that he was the only one, but his perseverance seems to have made quite an impact.

Offline wright

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 04:56:59 PM »
But it's quite a fascinating story, and my father has actually become something of a dignitary in Poland these days (he's 83 years old, and still goes back there to visit at least once a year) as a result of his digging and never-ending demands to several governments that the coverup be exposed, and a formal apology made. Not that he was the only one, but his perseverance seems to have made quite an impact.

Good for him and the others who kept the pressure on the Polish and Russian authorities. The tendency to whitewash and otherwise rewrite history is perhaps unavoidable, but must be fought tooth and nail. Our past shapes our present and future, whether we acknowledge it or not.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline Quesi

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 05:12:06 PM »
Very cool.  Thank you for sharing.  I know a lot of refugee stories, but this is the first time I have heard of this particular situation. 

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 05:51:19 PM »
Wow. My MIL was Polish, which makes my daughter at least 1/4 Polish. I pay attention to stuff like this. Amazing story out of the horrors of WWII.

Not to derail the thread, but I just taught a unit on Pol Pot and the genocide in Cambodia. The massively bad sh!t people did to each other in the 20th century will be with us forever. :'(
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online Jag

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Re: little-known story
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 06:53:32 PM »
Thanks jynnan tonnix, that was quite a read. Never had any awareness of this prior, another eye-opening moment, courtesy of WWGHA. Yet another item to add to my ever growing list of things to learn more about.

There's simply no way I'll live long enough to get even a superficial understanding about all the things I'm curious about, but I'll also never lack for mental stimulation either.  :)
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."