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Friday, October 30, 2009

Not so simple

There were two grandfathers. But, not exactly. Not in my friend's lifetime. "My grandfather was shot in 1941 by the Nazi's." It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which this story is repeated by grandchildren all over Poland. Three million Poles perished in World War II. In this particular family, the grandfather was fighting with the resistance, the underground Polish Home Army. He was confronted. And, as I remember hearing it, he was shot in front of his fourteen-year-old son. There was no birch cross in a quiet village cemetery near Warsaw to visit. No stories of a man grown old, teaching his grandson to play chess, imparting his wisdom about life. But he lives still, in the strength and courage of his heirs. It is not so simple, to remember them all.

1 comment:

John Guzlowski said...

Thanks for the post, Jan. We lost much of our family in the war--the ones who were killed by the Nazis or taken to Russia by the Soviets, the ones who returned to Poland after the war rather than coming with us to America.

Growing up I felt this strongly. Our family was just the four of us. The loneliness was so painful for my parents that they never spoke about those who had been lost.