Our 2-month stay in Poland is coming to an end tomorrow, and we will definitely be back. We have had an amazing time here, but what is really on my mind, is the story behind the Poland we see now. What the walls would say if they could talk. I’ll start with this picture…
You will notice many different colors and varying ages of brick. This is the side of the Malbork Castle, which was 50% destroyed during WW2. I’d read history books, but walking through it has a different effect. The scars from destruction on buildings, and stories from locals, planted many questions in my mind about why people (my ancestors included) left here, what life was really like and what has happened. This led me to study more about the history of Poland while here.
Discovering in detail the sheer brutality and oppression that has occurred on this land, in the not so distant past, is hard to comprehend. Families just like mine, just like so many I know back home, suffered to the full extent of the word. My family lost track of relatives during WW2, and I am sure this is the case for far too many other families. With 6 of the 8 death camps from WW2 being located in Poland, this country experienced millions of people lost; brothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, uncles.
I learned that those who did survive, were then under communist rule by the USSR until 1989, and were on food rations and strict surveillance. A photographer captured photos that speak volumes from the time when martial law was enforced, though he wasn’t able to develop them in Poland at the time due to the socialist surveillance system. 1989 puts Poland with 26 years of independence now.
We noticed how others our age are very aware of current events and their history here, and I can understand why; such harsh events happened very recently.
It is a good thing to see families abound in Poland now, businesses thrive, store shelves overflow and buildings are being constructed everywhere. I am thankful that despite horrible tragedy and violence, there is now independence, freedom and growth.
A few of our favorite things about Poland were:
Delicious Food and Great Drinks
Great Architecture and Beautiful Churches
Lots of Birds
Great Public Transportation
Malls with Good Products
Beautiful Parks and Landscapes
and Friendly People
Now we travel on from here. Tomorrow we will pack up our bags, check out and head to our next destinations in Italy. We are very interested to see how it is…
Take-away from Poland: A life where food is sufficient, a house is available, and a person is free to go about daily life as they choose, is truly something to be thankful for. Many people have had these basics of life taken from them, and longed to simply hear their child’s laugh again, have a warm home, or have a full plate of food.