30 March 1980

Easy Sunday over vodka and Katyn news

Katyn Memorial, Krakow
Easy Sunday. We get together with a few friends in our room. Ann, Romek, Tadek and a ping pong player whose name I missed all join for a few glasses of vodka. A bit funny to drink in the morning but well, we are in Poland.

They convey some harrowing news: a man in his seventies set himself on fire at the Krakow memorial to the victims of the Katyn massacre. Apparently he was one of the few from the group of Polish officers and intellectuals who made it out alive. Today's newpapers did not mention anything but the ping pong player has a brother who lives in Krakow and he told him over the phone.

The subject of the Katyn massacre is pretty much off the agenda in Poland. Everyone knows the politically incorrect truth (the Soviets did it) but no one is allowed to say anything other than the ridiculous propaganda line (the Germans did it) and so most prefer to just ignore the issue. The poor man who set himself on fire was probably sick of this fiction and lack of respect for the Poles who died such a cruel and useless death in 1940.

We are all in a somber mood after the news.

Tadek tells us about his brother's studies at the military academy. Apparently they have to study American weapons and the best instructors are Vietnamese soldiers who have recent first hand experience! Funny ironies of history.


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