Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ghosts of the Uprising

The big topic today is the new 3D movie displaying the ruins of Warsaw after the Uprising.  Miasto Ruin (The City of Ruins) is a digital reconstruction and exploration of the rubble that used to be Warsaw.  Directed by the venerable Baginski (y'all ought to have seen Katedra (Cathedral) by now), it's been unveiled for the 66th anniversary at the Warsaw Uprising Museum.  I'm not at the museum today, so I'll watch it soon and report back on how it was.  The purpose of the film is to show the youth really how Warsaw was decimated; to bring alive the destruction (which should contrast with Warsaw's recent spurt of construction.)

A few months ago, I wrote about the old woman who had passed away.  Her long stretch of life saw the outbreak of World War II, the Warsaw Uprising (plus visits to concentration and work camps), the creation of the Iron Curtain, the fall of Communism, and Poland's entry and integration into a united Europe.  I was tapped with helping to clear out the woman's apartment, which had stood vacant about three months.  She left behind lots of clothes and kitchenware, but also her and her late husband's documents.  Tucked in a small cabinet and stuffed into folders were documents and photos, ranging from certification of passing the Matura, to the Red Cross stating the validity of her claims of being in a work camp, to her husband's paperwork saying he was part of the Armia Krajowa.  (NOTE:  I have been told that he was not actually part of the Home Army, but rather lied to the officials.  Right after the War, members of the AK where hunted down and oppressed.  Years later, there was an amnesty and recognition and those who were members could receive certain benefits; all one needed to prove that he/she was indeed a member of the Home Army were two witnesses to vouch for him/her.  This man apparently found two men to vouch for him to receive the benefits and recognition, but the family has confided that he actually stayed away from any sort of fighting and was never a member of any sort of resistance.  I'm not really an expert to find out the validity of either claims, so I'm just putting the documents up here.)
The front and verse of a medal from the Maximilan-Kolbe-Werke Foundation.

Red Cross documents, verifying the journey to three concentration camps.

These documents show that those who suffered were not forgotten (even if the Home Army and its memory was oppressed and quashed for a few decades.)

The documents and identifications of a fighter in the Home Army

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