Here is a list of three Polish men that you should know: a freedom fighter, an opportunist lifesaver, and chronicler of the Polish soul.
Tadeusz Kosciuszko has a long list of accomplishments that span Poland, the United States and even Australia.
He was one of George Washington’s right hand men in the Revolutionary War and was awarded US citizenship for his galliant war efforts. Washington is said to have complained that his name was too hard to pronounce. Kosciuszko’s response was that it has the same number of letters as Washington.
He designed and oversaw the construction of West Point fortifications.
He was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson.
He led a army of serfs to a Polish Victory at the famous Battle of Racławice.
His remains are buried in Wawel Cathedral which serves as a pantheon of Polish kings and leaders.
Reviving an age-old custom, Poles raised a huge mound to his memory outside the city of Krakow.
In 1814, the tallest mountain in Australia was first scaled by a Polish man named Pawel Edmund Strzelecki who had the honor of naming the mountain. He chose to name it Mt Kosciuszko after his favorite hero because of its resemblance to the Kos Mound in Krakow.
Here is a machine used in Oskar Shindler’s factory.
This is the Krakow that Shindler knew. All monuments with Polish heroes were destroyed. Street theatres and squares were renamed. The stated purpose of the Nazis is to eliminate the world of Jews.
If your papers were in order showing German employment, you were allowed to remain. If not, you were removed. Schindler employed 700 men and 300 woman.
There is a book called Righteous Among the Nations. It contains the names of those who helped the Jews during the Holocaust through showing love, selflessness, compassion, courage, solidarity, decency, resistance, humanitarianism, cooperation, dignity, respect, faith, friendship.
Schindler’s name is on THAT list.
There is also a book called Book of Treason. It contains names of those who did shameful acts during the Holocaust: blackmailers, traitors, informers, greed, contempt, jealousy, hatred.
Both of these books are on display.
The National Museum in Krakow had an interesting exhibition about lifetime achievement Academy Award winner named Andrzej Wajda.
His father was in the Polish Army. Wajda never saw his father not wearing his uniform. He left for war in 1939, and Wadja never saw him again. (His father was murdered at Katyn. Only Wajda could tell that story in film and the timing was right as the facts were still being uncovered.)
Wajda started out as a painter and was affected and moved by those images that he saw on canvas and would incorporate them into his films.
For much of his life, Wajda didn’t have a home and often used the film institute as his address. Home is a reoccurring theme in his movies as this is the heart of the Polish soul.
Our generation is a generation of sons who must tell of the fate of our fathers because the dead cannot speak anymore.,”
The exhibit had costumes, storyboards and even budgets for his films. It was a museum of movie trailers but of the best scenes. Here is a list of films that I want to see.