I must advise my friends that to tell a Polish joke around me is to risk my violent wrath. This is a country that has suffered tremendously and is poised for rebirth. Our trauma in the US and in Western Europe ended 51 years ago, while theirs did not end until about 5 minutes ago. My own ignorance had left me unaware of the significance of the Warsaw uprising in '44 (as opposed to that of the Warsaw Ghetto in '43). In the summer of '44 with the Red Army approaching from the east, the Polish resistance staged a major rebellion in order to oust the Nazis and gain control of the government before a potential communist takeover. But the Russians perversely paused on the east side of the Vistula before entering the city to take over for the next 50 years. They waited for the Germans to finish their slaughter of 800,000 citizens (the population was 1.3 million in 1939); 90% of the buildings of this beautiful medieval city were entirely destroyed and less that 5,000 Poles remained. Everyone here has a family member who died in the Warsaw Uprising and they speak of the generation that lost all its poets and idealists . I was impressed that the current generation of Polish children are all taken on school trips to visit Auschwitz; they seem to be well educated on what the Nazis did to the Jews and to their own people. So although there may be much history for the Poles to reexamine for themselves, I suggest we find another ethnic group to kick around (if we must), and if you have a vote, I would urge you to use it to admit Poland to NATO, for they need time to heal, and given the geography, they will surely need protection again one day.


Auschwitz text