Polish Vintage Film Posters pt. 5 (pt. 1, pt. 2, pt. 3, pt. 4)

Terms of Endearment, Artist: Andrzej Pagowski
Year: 1985

The Graduate, Artist: Maciej Zbikowski
Year: 1973

Ordinary People, Artist: Jan Mlodozeniec
Year: 1983

Sabrina, Artist: Maciej Zbikowski
Year: 1967

Back to the Future, Artist: Mieczyslaw Wasilewski
Year: 1986

Empire of the Sun, Artist: Andrzej Pagowski
Year: 1989


German invasion of Poland, September 1st, 1939

"At 4:45 a.m., some 1.5 million German troops invade Poland all along its 1,750-mile border with German-controlled territory. Simultaneously, the German Luftwaffe bombed Polish airfields, and German warships and U-boats attacked Polish naval forces in the Baltic Sea. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler claimed the massive invasion was a defensive action, but Britain and France were not convinced. On September 3, they declared war on Germany, initiating World War II.

To Hitler, the conquest of Poland would bring Lebensraum, or ‘living space,’ for the German people. According to his plan, the ‘racially superior’ Germans would colonize the territory and the native Slavs would be enslaved. German expansion had begun in 1938 with the annexation of Austria and then continued with the occupation of the Sudetenland and then all of Czechoslovakia in 1939. Both had been accomplished without igniting hostilities with the major powers, and Hitler hoped that his invasion of Poland would likewise be tolerated.

To neutralize the possibility that the USSR would come to Poland’s aid, Germany signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939. In a secret clause of the agreement, the ideological enemies agreed to divide Poland between them. Hitler gave orders for the Poland invasion to begin on August 26, but on August 25 he delayed the attack when he learned that Britain had signed a new treaty with Poland, promising military support should it be attacked. To forestall a British intervention, Hitler turned to propaganda and misinformation, alleging persecution of German-speakers in eastern Poland. Fearing imminent attack, Poland began to call up its troops, but Britain and France persuaded Poland to postpone general mobilization until August 31 in a last ditch effort to dissuade Germany from war.

Shortly after noon on August 31, Hitler ordered hostilities against Poland to begin at 4:45 a.m. the next morning. At 8 p.m. on August 31, Nazi S.S. troops wearing Polish uniforms staged a phony invasion of Germany, damaging several minor installations on the German side of the border. They also left behind a handful of dead concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms to serve as further evidence of the supposed Polish invasion, which Nazi propagandists publicized as an unforgivable act of aggression.

At 4:45 a.m. on September 1, the invasion began. Nazi diplomats and propagandists scrambled to head off hostilities with the Western powers, but on September 2 Britain and France demanded that Germany withdraw by September 3 or face war. At 11 p.m. on September 3, the British ultimatum expired, and 15 minutes later British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went on national radio to solemnly announce that Britain was at war with Germany. Australia, New Zealand, and India followed suit shortly thereafter. At 5:00 p.m., France declared war on Germany.

In Poland, German forces advanced at a dizzying rate. Employing a military strategy known as the blitzkrieg, or ‘lightning war,’ armored divisions smashed through enemy lines and isolated segments of the enemy, which were encircled and captured by motorized German infantry while the panzer tanks rushed forward to repeat the pattern. Meanwhile, the sophisticated German air force—the Luftwaffe—destroyed Polish air capability, provided air support for the blitzkrieg, and indiscriminately bombed Polish cities in an effort to further terrorize the enemy.

The Polish army was able to mobilize one million men but was hopelessly outmatched in every respect. Rather than take a strong defensive position, troops were rushed to the front to confront the Germans and were systematically captured or annihilated. In a famously ill-fated strategy, Polish commanders even sent horsed cavalry into battle against the heavy German armor. By September 8, German forces had reached the outskirts of Warsaw, having advanced 140 miles in the first week of the invasion.

The Polish armed forces hoped to hold out long enough so that an offensive could be mounted against Germany in the west, but on September 17 Soviet forces invaded from the east and all hope was lost. The next day, Poland’s government and military leaders fled the country. On September 28, the Warsaw garrison finally surrendered to a relentless German siege. That day, Germany and the USSR concluded an agreement outlining their zones of occupation. For the fourth time in its history, Poland was partitioned by its more powerful neighbors.

Despite their declaration of war against Germany, Britain and France did little militarily to aid Poland. Britain bombed German warships on September 4, but Chamberlain resisted bombing Germany itself. Though Germans kept only 23 divisions in the west during their campaign in Poland, France did not launch a full-scale attack even though it had mobilized over four times that number. There were modest assaults by France on its border with Germany but these actions ceased with the defeat of Poland. During the subsequent seven months, some observers accused Britain and France of waging a ‘phony war,’ because, with the exception of a few dramatic British-German clashes at sea, no major military action was taken. However, hostilities escalated exponentially in 1940 with Germany’s April invasion of Norway and May invasion of the Low Countries and France.

In June 1941, Hitler attacked the USSR, breaking his nonaggression with the Soviet Union, and Germany seized all of Poland. During the German occupation, nearly three million Polish Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps. The Nazis also severely persecuted the Slavic majority, deporting and executing Poles in an attempt to destroy the intelligentsia and Polish culture. A large Polish resistance movement effectively fought against the occupation with the assistance of the Polish government-in-exile. Many exiled Poles also fought for the Allied cause. The Soviets completed the liberation of Poland in 1945 and established a communist government in the nation.” (source)

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WWII on the front page:  the world reacts to Germany’s invasion of Poland, September 1939

Germany | Völkischer Beobachter | September 2nd
Title: The German march continues to be successful on all fronts
Subtitle: Our war machines over Warsaw
Below: No German bombing of civilians  

Holland| Algemeen Handelsblad | September 2nd
Title: French-British ultimatum: No answer from Berlin
Subtitle: There is no war:  say Germany
Below: Warsaw hit with bombs yesterday

Italy| L’Osservatore Romano | September 2nd
Title: This morning a conflict erupted between Germany and Poland
Subtitle: What does the government in Berlin demand. Statements from Hitler and Mościcki.  Reichstag’s declaration. Lack of calls for help from abroad. Ground fighting and bombing. Call for parliaments to mobilization.
Italy announces it will not take part in any military conflict. 

France| La Croix | September 2nd
Title: Germany attacks Poland. France mobilizing its powers
Subtitle: House of Parliament called to meet - Exceptional circumstances in 89 French departments, in Belfort and Algeria
Below: Military action commenced throughout the German-Polish border. Warsaw and many other cities bombed.

Portugal| Jornal de Noticias | September 2nd Headline: European Drama
Title: Yesterday morning a military conflict began between Poland and Germany
Subtitle: German air force bombed several Polish cities, Warsaw and  Gdynia.  The Reich army attacked from three sides: Eastern Prussia, Silesia and Slovakia.  

Romania| Timpul | September 2nd
Title: Military action has begun
Subtitle: Fighting along the Polish-German border. Mobilization in England and France.
Below: The German army will fight with utmost energy, proclaims Hitler
- The whole nation stands together to fight until victory, says Mościcki

Soviet Union | Izwiestia | September 1st
Title: The ratification of the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact
Subtitle: Statement of comrade Molotov at the meeting of the Supreme Council of the USSR from August 31st, 1939

Great Britain | Daily Express | September 1st
Headline: German-Soviet pact is ratified.
Then, within 20 minutes Hitler drops a radio bombshell:
Title: ‘I consider my terms have been rejected’
Below:  16 points: return of Danzing at once

USA | Chicago Daily Tribune | September 1st
Title: Europe’s war is on
Subtitle: France and Britain mobilize to aid Poland. Italy wavers
Article below (on the left): Poles report attack by Nazi planes, troops
Article below (on the right): Germany takes Danzig, Navy blockades Gdynia  (source)

Haunting of Niedzica Castle:  Biała Dama (The White Lady)

The castle is a place rich in tales and legends with some of the former residents resembling characters from gothic novels. In the post-World War II period Polish newspapers wrote at length about Sebastián Berzeviczy (one of Niedzica’s owners) who traveled to the New World in the 18th century.   According to a popular legend, he fell in love with the alleged Inca princess. Their daughter Umina married the nephew of an Inca insurrection leader Túpac Amaru II, whose assumed name implied descent from Inca kings. Túpac Amaru was eventually executed by the Spaniards after rebelling against the colonial government. The legend goes on to claim that the sacred scrolls of the Incas had been handed down to his surviving family members. His nephew, Andrés Túpac Amaru a.k.a. Andreas with wife Umina and his father-in-law Sebastián Berzeviczy fled to Italy, where Andrés was killed in suspicious circumstances. Consequently, Umina with son and her father fled to [then] Hungary and settled at the castle. Sources claim that Umina was assassinated there some time later.  Her ghost, The White Lady, is said to appear in the castle courtyard regularly, among howling winds.  Her testament to son Anton, written in 1797 and stored there, allegedly contained information about the lost treasure of the Incas.  There was a leaden case found at the castle with some “quipu” writings, but it was lost in Kraków in the following years.  Later, news appeared about expeditions searching for fantastic treasures at Lake Titicaca in Peru. The notion that the Inca treasure map could be hidden somewhere in the depths of the castle is still cherished today. (source)


Hussar on horseback, designed by Jan Matejko, made by Leon Wyczółkowski, 1907

"Leon Wyczółkowski completed a decorative panneau on Knight among Flowers, depicting a Hussar sitting on horseback and blowing the horn against the background of a flowery meadow. This work was exhibited in the Warsaw Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts (Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych) in 1907. The sculpted Hussar from the Jan Matejko House is identical to its original painted on a panneau. The Hussar on horseback dressed in armour with gilded wings and real eagle feathers is holding a horn in his left hand which he is putting to his mouth, and a broad bridle in the right hand, with which he urges his mount. The horse is covered with a red-and-gold shabrack, decorated with colourful glass imitating precious stones, and fitted with a decorative gold harness." (source)

"Rzut Beretem" - Photography of Tomasz Tomaszewski

“‘A Stone’s Throw’ is a documentary concerning change in rural ares of Poland.  it is a story of a world that remains unknown and excluded from the collective consciousness, the world of the former State Agricultural Cooperatives - the propaganda calling card of the communist era.  Completely unproductive, they nonetheless were presented for nearly 50 years as the triumph of a socialist economy over its bourgeois counterpart, until they became the symbols of the system and were eliminated along with it in 1990.  For many of those involved, the shift turned to tragedy, for the few, it was an opportunity for a positive change of their hitherto existence.  My goal was to present a significant fragment of the newest Polish history and honor the people of the Polish countryside, which, contrary to the official declarations, have been marginalized and left alone with no help.”  (source)

Danuta Siedzikówna - September 3rd, 1928 – August 28th, 1946

Danuta Siedzikówna (nom de guerre: Inka; underground name: Danuta Obuchowicz) was a medical orderly in the 4th Squadron (created in the Białystok area) of the 5th Wilno Brigade of the Polish Home Army.  In 1946 she served with the Brigade’s 1st Squadron in Poland’s Pomorze (Pomerania) region.

After their mother was murdered by the Gestapo in Białystok, together with her sister Wiesława, Danuta joined the Home Army in late 1943 or early 1944. As part of the underground army’s training she acquired medical skills.  After the Soviets took Białystok from the German Nazis, she started work as a clerk in the forest inspectorate in Hajnówka.

Together with other employees of the inspectorate she was arrested in June 1945 by NKWD and UB for collaboration with the anticommunist underground. She was liberated from a prison transport convoy by a patrol of a Wilno group of ex-Home Army partisans commanded by Stanisław Wołonciej ‘Konus’, a subordinate of Zygmunt Szendzielarz, ‘Łupaszko’, who were operating in the area. ‘Konus’ took the freed prisoners to ‘Łupaszko’s’ camp where some of them, including Danuta, joined his group. Subsequently Siedzikówna served as a medical orderly in the ‘Konus’ troop, and then in the squadron of lieutenant Jan Mazur, ‘Piast’, and that of lieutenant Marian Płuciński, ‘Mścisław’. For a short period of time her superior was also lieutenant Leon Beynar ‘Nowina’, deputy of ‘Łupaszko’, later known as ‘Paweł Jasienica’ - a notable Polish historian and writer. During this time Danuta assumed pseudonym ‘Inka’.

The ‘Łupaszko’ brigade was dissolved in September 1945 and Danuta went back to work in the forest inspectorate in Miłomłyn in Ostróda County under the name ‘Danuta Obuchowicz’. However, the brigade was re-mobilized in response to Communist repressions in January 1946. In the early spring of 1946 Danuta came into contact with second lieutenant Zdzisław Badocha ‘Żelazny’, the commander of one of Łupaszko's squadrons. After 'Żelazny's' death, the new commander, second lieutenant Olgierd Christa ‘Leszek’, ordered Danuta to travel to Gdańsk in order to collect medical supplies.

She was arrested by the UB again on 20 July 1946, in Gdańsk. While in prison she was tortured and beaten but refused to give up any information about her contacts in the anti-communist underground and their meeting points. Danuta’s brutal interrogations were personally supervised by the Head of the Investigations Department at the Voivodeship Office for Public Security, (WUBP), (Polish Secret Police) in Gdańsk, Józef Bik, vel Jozef Gawerski, vel Jozef Bukar. In 1968, Bik, vel Bukar emigrated to Sweden. An IPN indictment against Bik, vel Gawerski, vel Bukar reads: ‘Jozef B. is accused of participating in court-sanctioned murders perpetrated against members of Polish Democratic Forces (pol. Polskie Siły Demokratyczne) and Polish Secret Army (pol. Polska Armia Tajna) whom he was beating and torturing in order to extract confessions’.

She was charged with taking an active, violent part in an attack on functionaries of the Communist UB (Polish secret police) and the Milicja Obywatelska near village Podjazy as part of the Łupaszko unit, despite the fact that she was only a medic. She was accused of shooting at the policemen and even issuing orders to other partisans. However, the testimony submitted by MO and UB members involved in the fight was at best contradictory, as some claimed to have seen her shooting and giving orders, while other denied it altogether. One (Mieczysław Mazur) even testified that Danuta gave him first aid after he was wounded by other partisans.  She was also charged with killing wounded policemen, which was also contradicted during her trial. Given such conflicting testimony and the absurdity of the charges, even the Stalinist court decided that she did not take a direct part in the attack. Despite these findings, and ignoring Danuta’s young age (she was only seventeen at the time), the court still sentenced her to death. The president of People’s Republic of Poland, Boleslaw Bierut refused to grant her clemency (the request was submitted by Danuta’s public defender, and she herself refused to sign it). Danuta Siedzikówna was executed (along with Feliks Selmanowicz nom de guerre ‘Zagończyk’), six days before her 18th birthday, on 28 August 1946, in a Gdańsk prison.

The last minutes of her life are known from the testimony of Marian Prusak, the priest who was called to give ‘Inka’ and ‘Zagończyk’ last rites. According to Prusak both prisoners were calm before their execution. Siedzikówna, after taking the Sacrament of Penance, asked Prusak to inform her family of her death and gave him their address. Afterward the two were executed in the basement of the prison, tied to wooden stakes. They both refused blindfolds. When the prosecutor gave the order for the execution squad to fire, both simultaneously shouted ‘Long Live Poland!’ Danuta was still alive however, and the coup de grace was delivered by the present prosecutor, Franciszek Sawicki (the members of the firing squad refused to do so).  Danuta’s Protocol of Execution was signed by: Major Wiktor Suchacki, (Prosecutor), Firing Squad Leader, 2nd Lt. Franciszek Sawicki, Attending Physician, Captain Mieczysław Rutkowski, and Jail Warden Jan Wójcik.” (source)


Danuta Siedzikówna

Wartime photo of Danuta Siedzikówna (aka Inka) with sub-machine gun and medic’s pack

Memorial graves for Danuta Siedzikówna and Feliks Selmanowicz in Gdańsk

Zamek Krasiczyn - Krasiczyn Castle

"Krasiczyn Castle is a Renaissance structure in Krasiczyn, Poland, located on a lowland on the right bank of the San, along the route Przemyśl-Sanok (about 10 kilometres southwest of the city of Przemysl). The castle across the centuries belonged to several noble Polish families, and was visited by many Polish kings.

The construction of the castle started in 1580, initiated by a local nobleman Stanislaw Siecienski of Siecin, who came to the area from Mazovia. Works lasted for 53 years, and the castle was not completed until 1633, by Marcin Krasicki, son of Stanisław and Voivode of Podolia, who in the meantime had changed his name. Originally, the castle was a fortified stronghold, protecting southern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, Marcin Krasicki, who was regarded as one of the most important promoter of arts in the country, turned the fortress into a sophisticated residence (palazzo in fortezza), under supervision of Italian architect, Galleazzo Appiani.  Also, he dubbed the complex Krasiczyn, after his last name. Later, a village of Krasiczyn grew near the castle, also bearing the same name. The Krasiczyn castle was built on the site of an older, wooden complex, called Sliwnica, which had probably been built in the 14th century.

Despite numerous fires and wars across the centuries, the castle’s complex has been essentially unchanged since the early 17th century. Built as a square, with walls representing all four quarters of the globe, at the corners there are four oval-shaped towers: Divine (Boska), Papal (Papieska), Royal (Krolewska), and Noble (Szlachecka). These names reflected the eternal order of the world, with four grades of authority.  The rectangular, spacious court is surrounded to the east and north by living quarters, and to the south and west by walls, adorned with attics. In the middle of the western wall, there is a square-shaped tower of the clock (Zegarowa), added by Marcin Krasicki at the beginning of the 17th century. This tower serves as a main gate, with a wall bridge over the moat. Across the centuries, the castle attracted most famous personalities of Polish history. Among visitors, there were kings Sigismund III Vasa, Wladyslaw IV Vasa, John II Casimir Vasa, and Augustus II the Strong.  Sigismund III Vasa, of whom Marcin Krasicki was a loyal supporter, visited the castle thrice. For the first time, in 1608, together with wife Constance of Austria.” Read More


Fot. Mariusz Cieszewski

"Rhabdocidaris nobilis" sea urchin found near Kraków, dating back to the the Mesozoic era – Upper Jurassic period.

”’Rhabdocidaris nobilis’ sea urchin is an extinct species of a regular echinoid which was one of the free-living sea echinoderms. Its name derives from the Greek words echinos – ‘hedgehog’ and eidos – ‘figure.’

The body of this animal was fitted into a subcutaneous carapace made of plates, usually joined with sutures covered with calcareous, movably mounted thorns. Due to their appearance, sea urchins can be divided into regular urchins of radial symmetry, and irregular ones of bilateral symmetry.

Regular sea urchins are animals of a spherical, mainly flattened carapace outline, covered with long and rare thorns. Irregular sea urchins, on the other hand, are distinguished by a heart-shaped or disk-like carapace which is often elongated and covered with short thorns.

In the case of recovered specimens, they usually retain both their carapaces and thorns. They are seldom found together.” (source)

Cześć Pracy - Photography of Tomasz Tomaszewski pt. 1 (pt. 2)

"The collection of presented photographs was created between March and August of 2009.  My intention was to honor people who did hard, physical work.  The laborers. 

I chose Górny Śląsk (Upper Silesia) where the ethos of work, traditions, and rituals connected to them seemed most alive to me; visible and colorful.  Poland is changing rapidly, and the events and places shown in my photographs have already become history.  So it is, in some sense, a tale of Górny Śląsk.  Today.” (source)

Cassocks and coat belonging to Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła).  Wojtyła was ordained as a priest of the Roman Catholic Church on November 1st, 1946.  The black cassock belongs to the period of Wojtyła’s priesthood.  The red cassock and the overlaying surplice were worn by Karol Wojtyła during his time as cardinal, which began on June 26th, 1967.  Previously, Wojtyła served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Kraków from July 4th, 1958 and Archbishop of Kraków from January 13th, 1964.  During this period Wojtyła wore the traditional purple colored vestments.  In October of 1978 Karol Wojtyła became the 264th pope, first non-Italian pope in 455 years, and the first Polish pope in history.  His papacy ended upon his death on April 2nd, 2005. (source)                                                                                                                                   

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