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Friday, July 19, 2019

Pawiak Prison History - Never Again by Basia Panko

The Pasiak Museum used to be a functioning prison. It was first built by the Tsar between 1829–35 when Warsaw was part of the Russian Empire. During that time, it was the main prison of central Poland, where political prisoners and criminals alike were incarcerated. During the January 1863 Uprising (Polish: Powstanie Styczniowe,) the prison served as a transfer camp for Poles sentenced by Imperial Russia to deportation to Siberia. After Poland regained independence in 1918, the Pawiak Prison became Warsaw's main prison for male criminals.

During the Second World War (1939-1945), it was used by the Natzis right after they took over Warsaw and it was used by them till the end of the II World War. Approximately 100,000 men and 200,000 women passed through the prison, mostly Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa, AK) members, political prisoners, and civilians taken hostage in street round-ups (Polish: Lapanka.) An estimated 37,000 inmates were executed and 60,000 sent to German death and concentration camps (Polish: obozy koncentracyjne.) Most of the people who ended there were not guilty. It's a pity that many famous people who could have helped the world in many ways were killed for no reason. Anyone who entered the jail never came out. The prisoners were tortured for one wrong phrase or one thing they said to an officer. There were many people who had to work there since the jail was very big. Some workers always stayed there while others came from the outside. Sometimes the workers, usually nurses, that were always kept in the prison wanted to communicate with their families and tell them that they were alive so they used the doctors from the outside to send messages. They put the notes in their sleeves and passed them to the doctors secretly who later delivered the notes to their families. If the Natzis found out about the conspiracy, they would kill the doctors, nurses, and their nearest families. Some women gave birth in the prison and their children were treated very badly. For this reason many nurses were needed. The Natzis had no mercy, that is how cruel they were. There are still some people alive who worked at Pawiak prison, but not many are left. Most of these people remember very well what happened but do not want to go back to the bad memories or are scared of Germans till these days. In the museum there is a video of the people who were comfortable with sharing this information and talk about their secret info and their life. It is important for us to know this information so we don't make the same mistakes in the future and know about the bad things that people did. We should encourage the people who have that knowledge to tell us this scary and paralyzing but important information. Nowadays most of the Pawiak building doesn't exist anymore and only a fraction of it is left. The Natzis wanted to hide the evidence of how bad they were and how many innocent people they killed. The final transport of prisoners took place 30 July 1944, two days before the 1 August outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. Two thousand men and the remaining 400 women were sent to Gross-Rosen and Ravensbrück. On 21 August 1944 the Germans shot an unknown number of remaining prisoners and burned and blew up the buildings and only a tree there was left.

See more pictures of Pawiak 

The tree died of old age, but a metal replica was created in Katowice and it is standing in front of the museum as a memory. People say that it is the only piece of evidence and the only thing that witnessed everything. As you can see from above, this is a very good and informative museum. I recommend everyone to visit it at least once. The pictures above will show you the information I included here.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Native Language With Your Child - Polish Potato Pancakes and Doughnuts

Second language is always a plus. If the house is bilingual or multilingual the child acquires the second or third language without a big effort and any limitations.
By setting an example and speaking your native language at home you encourage your child to use your mother tongue. Your child can connects to you, the relatives, their culture, history, identity and religion.
Find ways to help your child maintain and improve their mother tongue. Involve your child in simple tasks and use your language in carrying them out - whether it’s making a shopping list, preparing a snack or cooking traditional food from a grandmother’s recipe.

This time my daughter made Polish Potato Pancakes (similar to latkes), literally translated in Polish as "Placki Ziemniaczane." 

Recipe for "Placki Ziemniaczane"
(English version will be easier for you to understand the steps she had to follow in Polish.)

One onion, two eggs and two spoonful of wheat flour per each kilogram of potatoes. If you are allergic to flour you don't have to add it, replace it with one extra egg.
Pinch of salt (and pepper) for flavor.
Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce
Peel potatoes and onion and grate or ground them.
Transfer the mixture to a fine colander or strainer to wring out as much of the liquid as possible. 
Keep the liquid in a pot for a minute. Drain off  potato juice leaving potato flour. You will add it to the other ingredients. 
Mix grated potatoes with the other ingredients and shallow-fry on hot oil.
Served plain, or sweet with sugar, sour cream, and apple sauce, as well as no sweet with mushroom sauce, goulash, or bacon crisps.

Paczki - Polish Doughnuts