HV027- Poland

Boy sits among bombed buildings, photo by Julien BryanHearing Voices from NPR®
027 Poland: A Ghost Story
Host: Art Silverman of NPR
Airs week of: 2009-09-16 (Originally: 2008-09-03)

“Poland” (52:00 mp3):

For the 70th anniversary of the invasion:

Poland battles against the Germans and then the Russians at the start of the Second World War.

A German foot soldier and Polish townspeople recall, differently, the first days of the invasion of Poland in September 1939, and Poland’s later battle to fight years of environmental poisoning during the Soviet era.

All in a series of stories written by NPR’s Alex Chadwick and produced by host Art Silverman.

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Comments (4)

Living in Germany I noticed that a notion of a “Moralische Keule” (moral bat or moral beating club) is being applied all too often as a reaction when critical questions are raised about what really happened in WW2. Just remember the controversies that were roused by the Wehrmachtsausstellung (German: German Army exhibition) in the 90ies, and it was the famous German writer Martin Walser who caused controversy by introducing the phrase “using Auschwitz as a moral club” in his acceptance speech for the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. Still to date the discussion about Nazism seems partly driven by a need to blur history with myth, so that the answer about “HOW could the holocaust happen, why did people turn their eyes away, etc” will never seem answerable. Programs such as yours, help giving real answers: The form of approach makes the big difference here!

Comment added by Gita Yegane Arani-May on 09.07.08

As I listened to this piece, I thought of my grand- mother, father and aunt. When they were children he and his sister where visiting family in Western Europe. This was in 1939 About the time of Hitler’s invasion of Poland, family members in Europe urged them to return immediately to America, which they did. I was wondering of how my family members in Europe conducted their lives in that time as the war eventually involved their homelands as well.

I was also hearing in my mind, the music of Gorecki, his 3rd symphony. Known as “The symphony of sorrowful songs”.

The second of three movements is based upon the inscription written upon the wall of a gestapo prison by an eighteen year old Polish girl

There is discussion over the purpose of the composition but many take it as having to do with the invasion and occupation and the holocaust.

It seems that much of Poland is in the same economic state now as it was in 1939 and has never been able to recover from the occupation of others.

Comment added by N K Hagen Jr on 09.21.09

Maybe my math is wrong, but I believe this is the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland in Sept 1939, not the 60th anniversary.

Comment added by T on 09.21.09

T, thanks for the arithmetic: corrected. as you say, the 70th.

Comment added by BG on 09.21.09

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