Poland


Most of my time in Eastern Europe I spent in Warsaw, but I traveled to a couple of other places in Poland, and I also went to Ukraine and Latvia in the process of doing my field research.  We'll start with Poland, though.

Below we have pictures of some of the wonderful people of Poland.  On the left are the people that generously shared their office with me (and otherwise made it possible for me actually to accomplish something), Kasia Wilk and Prof. Krystyna Janicka of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology in the Academy of Sciences.  On the right are Bartosz Glowacki, my Warsaw translator and best friend in Poland, and his girlfriend Kasia, the leading Polish Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan.


 
 

The pretty building below is known as the Palace on the Water or the Palace on the Island--it's the central building in the Lazienkowski Park (that is to say, the Bathhouse Park--it's named after the Palace, which was originally a bathhouse) in Warsaw, a park that they tell me is gorgeous in spring and summer, with all its flowers (I need to visit Europe some time in a season other than winter).  This is one of the few "old" things in Warsaw, as about 90% of the city, including almost all of the buildings of historical or architectural significance, were reduced to rubble by the Nazis, mostly during the Warsaw Uprising in the fall of 1944.  They tried to destroy this building, but their attempt to blow it up only damaged part of the first floor.





Now for the grim, depressing part of our tour--the Uprising probably is closer to the heart of Warsaw than any architectural monuments.  The top picture below is the "Kubus", an armored car built by some engineering students from an ordinary sedan; it's in the Polish Army Museum.  The pictures at the bottom are from the park around the Monument to the Unconquerable Fallen.  Although this isn't officially a monument to the Uprising--there was no such thing until the 1990's, probably because the USSR was seen as responsible for allowing the Nazis to crush the Varsovians by ceasing the Red Army's advance just across the river--the ashes of more than 50,000 Poles killed in Warsaw during World War II, mostly during the Warsaw Uprising, are buried beneath markers like these.  (This is a significant fraction of the Poles killed in the Uprising, but still only a fraction.)  Note the "OSOB 728 NIEZNANYCH" on the left marker--that's "728 unknown persons".  The third name down on the right marker is a one-month-old baby girl; at the bottom of that column are listed a middle-aged man and a teen-age boy with identical names--probably a father and son.


 

Finally, here's a picture of the Sukiennice (Cloth Market) in the main square of Krakow, the traditional cultural capital of Poland.  At least, it used to be a cloth market--now it's filled with souvenirs for the tourists.