1st of March 2012: The National Day of Remembrance of the „Cursed Soldiers” – the latest national day in Poland
In 2011 the Polish Parliament established a new national day, the Day of Remembrance of the “Cursed Soldiers”. It is celebrated on 1st of March, that is the anniversary of execution of seven officers of the organization “Wolność i Niepodległość” (“Freedom and Independence”) in a prison in Warsaw. This national day commemorates members of the independence underground who in 1945 (and partially even in 1944) started an armed struggle against the communist regime in Poland and its Soviet patrons. This particular term “cursed soldiers” shows that those, who were the most persistent defenders of the Polish right to self-determination, were until 1989 described as villains and presented in media and in school curricula as deplorable reactionaries and criminals. The fight against them was also an important component of the “founding myth” upon which the communist regime in Poland was based.
Jiří Gruša was a Czech writer and diplomat. Since 1960s he was involved in anti-communist opposition in Czechoslovakia. After the collapse of communism he served as the first non-communist ambassador of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic to Germany and Austria. From 2004 to 2009 he was the President of International PEN. Between 2005 and 2009 he was a Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Since 2008 he had been a member of the Board of the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity.
He was an outstanding intellectual, a charming person, invaluable, wise and tactful advisor. We are disturbed and saddened by his death.
Every year, on the 1st of August, Warsaw commemorates the Warsaw Uprising outbreak. The 63days long fights against the Nazi occupation remains one of most signifcant elements of Polish social memory. Dr. Pawel Ukielski writes about the Warsaw Rising Museum as a place of remembrance.
Warsaw Uprising in the Poles' Consciousness. Warsaw Rising Museum as a Place of Remembrance.
The Warsaw Uprising is one of the events key to understanding the history of Warsaw, Poland, Central Europe and World War II. Firstly it shows the identity of a city wiped off the face of the Earth, secondly it explains the enslavement of Poland and Central Europe after the war and thirdly it is the last example of real German-Soviet cooperation in the desire to destroy the Polish capital. The Uprising shows that the war was not a simple fight of good against evil (as it often perceived in Western Europe) but that in fact three sides, each with different goals, were involved – two totalitarian systems and the world of Western democracies. During the war the alliances changed – the West allied itself with one of the totalitarianisms to beat the other while Central Europe paid the price of the alliance.
"Nowadays, when there almost aren’t any conflicts concerning borders, history becomes a surrogate field enabling politicians fuelling of conflicts." - Jan Rydel and Rafał Rogulski in conversation with Patrycja Bukalska. Tygodnik Powszechny, no 38 (3245), September 18th 2011.
Prof. Jan Rydel – Chairman of Steering Committee of European Network Remembrance and Solidarity and Rafał Rogulski - Director of Secretariat of European Network Remembrance and Solidarity talk about how the Network came into being, what are its tasks, plans for the future and if the common memory is possible at all.
The interview in Polish Language is available at the website of Tygodnik. We recommend it!