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Cognitive battlefield

Comment to the article Stalin’s War by Sean McMeekin, review — a different way to look at WWII by Dominic Sandbrook in The Sunday Times, 21 March 2021.


Lech S Borkowski comment in The Sunday Times 22 March 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Sunday Times 22 March 2021

‘[WWII] didn’t begin in September 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland, but eight years earlier with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. It didn’t end in the summer of 1945, but dragged on until the autumn of 1989, when the Soviet empire finally broke up.’

Nazi Germany and Communist Russia jointly invaded Poland in September 1939, slight delay on the Russian side notwithstanding. 1989 is not the end of WWII. 1989 is significant mainly as the date of West’s crucial defeat on the cognitive battlefield.

Also, no one here seems to be concerned that the Yalta deal, signed by Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin in 1945 was an illegal one.

@LechSBorkowski

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Kafkaesque hurdles

Comment on the article ‘Plunder,’ a Gripping Reflection on What the Nazis Took and What It Would Mean to Take It Back, review of Menachem Kaiser’s book.

Dwight Garner in The New York Times, March 8, 2021.


Lech S Borkowski comment in New York Times 9 March 2021
Lech S Borkowski comment in New York Times 9 March 2021

I hope Kaiser recovers his family property. I am very familiar with ‘Kafkaesque hurdles’ in Poland. You need to understand the presence of the red elephant in the room. My wife and I extensively dealt in recent years with state administration, law, legal issues, prosecution office, and through correspondence, with top state officials. The Kafkaesque process is symptomatic of fundamental, deeper issues. This is not anomaly. This is actually modus operandi of the state that does not want to follow its own laws.

In other words, the legal processes and enforcement of the law have been taken outside the law. The law functions only as a theoretical concept. There is theory and there is experiment. Experimental data do not agree with theory.

We have spoken to many lawyers. I would not describe any of them as a ‘normal lawyer’. Kaiser’s difficulties are neither weird nor accidental. They are systemic.

In many ways, WWII hasn’t ended in 1945. I am currently paying mortgage on an apartment in Zielona Góra (German Gruenberg). My presence there is an indirect consequence of WWII. My parents lived in eastern Poland before WWII. They were both prisoners of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia after WWII. Their family properties are located within current Belarussian borders. Their farms were seized by the Soviet authorities during their post-1945 occupation of the area.

Whichever way you look, WWII does not want to go away.

@LechSBorkowski

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Discourse control

My comment on the article Poland tries to extradite woman, 97, on SS charge by Oliver Moody and Maria Wilczek in The Times, 1 January 2021.


The Times 1 January 2021
Statue of slave crouching in front of Abraham Lincoln removed from Boston in the US, first left, 1950s Joseph Stalin memorial towering presence in Warsaw with no plans of removal, first right, The Times 1 January 2021

There is an article in the same World section of today’s Times about removal of a kneeling slave memorial from Boston in the US, illustrated by a picture of the statue. The slave is crouching in front of an erect figure of Abraham Lincoln.

The current article, in turn, is illustrated by a crowd in front of a towering Soviet monument, Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw erected in the 1950s on orders from Moscow.

There is no plan to remove the monument. Publishing pictures of this building whenever possible is part of the Communist policy. The picture, although not an illustration of the article’s subject, is consistent with the text in the sense of discourse control.

Writing and talking about, and sometimes prosecuting Nazi crimes is fine. The article is equipped with a testimony of one of the victims of Nazism. Good.

Lech S Borkowski comment in the World section of The Times 1 January 2021
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times 1 January 2021

Not so with the Communist crimes. The aim is to purge them from memory, history, and public life. The illustration of the article with the picture of the Joseph Stalin memorial is also a clear message that Communism has not collapsed and the power remained in the hands of the same ruling class.

The article mentions “177 Polish women, many of whom had been arrested in the Warsaw Uprising.” They are only mentioned collectively as a nameless and faceless number. The Joseph Stalin memorial picture represents their post-WWII Communist oppressors. Other postwar Communist buildings in the picture were obviously not what those women fought for. Those buildings are symbolically tied to the Communist oppressors, not to the women.

Polish authorities have not tried to do anything remotely resembling prosecution of the Communist crimes. I have an obligation to raise my voice and point this out as child of survivors of Communist concentration camps and more recently a target of campaign against my own family.

@LechSBorkowski

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Myths and fantasies in The Times

Comment on the article Regimes have learnt not to fear street protests, by Roger Boyes in The Times, 27 October 2020. Polish version: Mity i fantazje w The Times.


Lech S Borkowski The Times 28 October 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times, 28 October 2020

“The democratic uprising that I accompanied most closely, the rise, fall and rise again of Solidarity in the Poland of the 1980s and 1990s, still has some useful pointers for today’s revolutionaries.”

Mr Boyes must have been reporting from Po La Land, not Poland. Solidarity was created and controlled by Communist political strategists. Millions of people joined once they had the impression this would be tolerated by the authorities. My father, a worker in a clothes making factory joined as well.

As a first-year student of chemistry, I took part in a two-week student strike and sit-in at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. However, both workers and student strikes have been engineered by the Communists themselves.

He surely must have known, that one of key ‘opposition’ figures was Adam Michnik, son of a Soviet agent working diligently in the 1930s on increasing support for the future Soviet control of eastern Poland. Michnik’s mother had a PhD in history and was a devout Communist as well. His half-brother Stefan was a Communist military judge and is responsible for murdering many Polish officers who fought against Nazi Germany and resisted the Communists post-WWII.

The Communist authorities manufactured a fake fall from power. Adam Michnik became the editor in chief of the main newspaper in Poland.

My pianist wife was fired from her teaching job in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, Poland. She was the best piano teacher of the school. Her grandfather fought against Nazi Germany in 1939, was imprisoned by the Soviet Union in 1940-1941, then fought with the Polish forces on the western front. When he returned to Poland in 1947, he was immediately arrested and imprisoned.

I was fired from my job at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań also in 2015, where I was an associate professor of physics. I have a PhD from a well-known American university. My parents and many members of my mother’s family were prisoners of Communist concentration camps after WWII.

The Times is publishing myths and fantasies about Poland.

@LechSBorkowski

P.S. The Times held my comment for about 5 hours before releasing it eventually. The newspaper arrested information which should be common knowledge. Interesting parallel to imprisonments pointed out in my comment.
@LechSBorkowski

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Narracja komunistyczna w The Sunday Times

Mój komentarz do artykułu Exploring Poland’s Lake District, Emma Thomson, The Sunday Times, 27 września 2020. Tekst oryginału po angielsku: Communist narrative in The Sunday Times Travel section.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Sunday Times 27 September 2020
Lech S Borkowski, komentarz do artykułu w The Sunday Times, 27 września 2020, część 1
Lech S Borkowski comment The Sunday Times 27 September 2020 part 2
Lech S Borkowski, komentarz do artykułu w The Sunday Times, 27 września 2020, część 2

Artykuł reprezentuje narrację komunistyczną. Mieszkańcy regionu jezior mazurskich uciekli przed wojskiem komunistycznym Związku Radzieckiego lub zostali wypędzeni później w akcji totalitarnej czystki. Praktycznie cała populacja dużego regionu została usunięta. Prusy Wschodnie zostały podzielone arbitralnie poprowadzoną granicą i radziecka enklawa “Kaliningradu” została umieszczona w części północnej. Koenigsberg (Królewiec) Immanuela Kanta i kilkaset lat historii zostały zostały zlikwidowane.

The capital of the region is the “garden town” of Olsztyn”, czyli “stolicą regionu jest Olsztyn, miasto-ogród”

Nie jest to miasto-ogród. Pełno w nim komunistycznych bloków mieszkalnych. Do drugiej wojny światowej było to miasto Allenstein w Prusach Wschodnich.

Wera Głuchowska i jej syn Witold, babcia mojej żony i jej ojciec, wówczas mały chłopiec, znaleźli się w Allenstein jako uchodźcy w 1945, kiedy wojna dobiegała końca. Ich dom znajdował się w Iwacewiczach, miasteczku Polski wschodniej, które znalazło się pod okupacją sowiecką, a teraz w rękach białoruskich. Żywności nie było. Wera zmarła w 1945 z choroby i wyczerpania, wkrótce po zakończeniu wojny. Jej grób znajduje się na zaniedbanym cmentarzu za kościołem świętego Józefa (to nazwa współczesna, nie jestem pewien nazwy niemieckiej). Biuro polskiego Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej znajduje się naprzeciw kościoła po drugiej stronie ulicy. Nazwa tej instytucji jest jednak myląca. Krótki spacer na cmentarz wystarcza do obnażenia tego kłamstwa. Stan cmentarza nie ma nic wspólnego z pamięcią i upamiętnianiem. Dowodzi polityki usuwania z pamięci i podporządkowaniu propagandzie władz.

Cmentarz jest świadkiem wielkiej tragedii. Są tam groby małych dzieci, które przyszły na świat wkrótce po zakończeniu wojny, groby osób starszych narodowości polskiej, które zmarły na obcej ziemi, zamiast na swoim gospodarstwie, w otoczeniu, w którym wyrośli i pracowali. Groby przedwojennych mieszkańców Prus Wschodnich, których potomkowie uszli, zostali zabici lub wygnani. Groby są zaniedbane. Ich granice są często trudne do wskazania.

“The farm near Utka was bought by her great-grandparents for a small sum when the borders were redrawn after the Second World War. This previously German region became Polish, the Germans left, and residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south.”

 

“Gospodarstwo koło Utki zostało kupione przez pradziadków za niewielką sumę, kiedy granice zostały poprowadzone na nowo po drugiej wojnie światowej. Niemiecki wcześniej region stał się polski, Niemcy wyjechali a rezydenci współczesnej Litwy przenieśli się na południe.”

Nazwa tej miejscowości w języku polskim to Ukta, nie Utka. To prawdziwe osiągnięcie, że udało się sfałszować tyle historii w dwóch zdaniach. “Granice zostały poprowadzone na nowo”? Przez kogo? Kto tego dokonał? Dlaczego? Żadnej wzmianki o nielegalnej umowie z Jałty, której stroną, niestety, był również rząd brytyjski.

Zwrot “kupione przez jej pradziadków” ma sugerować legalną transakcję, jak również stworzyć wrażenie długiej polskiej historii tego miejsca. Zdanie “Niemiecki wcześniej region stał się polski, Niemcy wyjechali a rezydenci współczesnej Litwy przenieśli się na południe” jest klasycznym przykładem totalitarnej metody opowiadania. Autorka sprowadziła tragedię ogromnej rzeszy ludzkiej do prostej transakcji sprzedaży domu. Ta tragedia była wszystkim, tylko nie sprzedażą domu.

Jest to narracja komunistyczna podporządkowana narracji sowiecko-rosyjskiej.

Zwrot “rezydenci współczesnej Litwy przenieśli się na południe” jest zwykłym kłamstwem. Jestem dzieckiem tych “rezydentów”. Byli rzeczywiście rezydentami, ale nie Litwy. Przez długi czas po drugiej wojnie światowej rezydowali w komunistycznych obozach koncentracyjnych w północnej Rosji w rejonie Archangielska. Mieli wielkie szczęście, że przeżyli. Wcześniej byli obywatelami Polski. Radzieccy okupanci pozbawili ich obywatelstwa polskiego.. Oboje moi rodzice mieszkali w Polsce wschodniej, dziś zaznaczonej jako część państwa Białoruś.

Urodziłem się w Kętrzynie, pruskim Rastenburgu, i dorastałem wśród rodzin uchodźców z Polski wschodniej. Mieliśmy bardzo małe mieszkanie w byłych koszarach niemieckich. Wśród naszych sąsiadów była cicha rodzina Niemców. Mogli być wyrzuceni ze swojego gospodarstwa lub domu. Wyjechali do Niemiec około 1970. Dwóch spośród moich kolegów z dzieciństwa również przeniosło się do Niemiec w tym czasie. Ich ojcem był Polak, a matka Niemką.

W miarę upływu czasu stopniowo zrozumiałem ogrom tragedii wszystkich ludzi w tej wojnie.

A co nam serwuje The Sunday Times? Żadnej wzmianki o zniszczonych domach, zrujnowanych gospodarstwach. Wszystko jest słodkie i piękne. “Kupione za niewielką sumę”. Naprawdę? Ten region nie jest moim miejscem i nie jest moim dziedzictwem.

@LechSBorkowski

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Neural correlates of consciousness

My comment on Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees review: a tale of two tyrants by Robert Gerwarth in The Telegraph, 26 October 2020. Polish version: Neuronalne korelaty świadomości.


Lech S Borkowski comment on a book review by Robert Gerwarth in The Telegraph 26 October 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment on “Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees book review” in The Telegraph, 26 October 2020

WWII and associated developments are typically viewed from mostly a military perspective. Started on [date], ended on [date]. [number] mln killed.

My family comes from eastern Poland, which suffered three occupations during WWII and afterwards: the Soviet one 1939-1941, the German 1941-1944 and again the Soviet one from 1944 on.

The war has not ended in 1945. My parents and other family members were imprisoned in concentrations camps in the Soviet Union for many years after WWII. One of my uncles was tortured to the point of not knowing his own name. He was permanently damaged. Technically alive, dead as a human being.

My mother suffered terribly as well. WWII was terrible enough, but the real hell came post-1945. The war against our family has never really ended. More recently, my wife and I were fired from our jobs in Poland in 2015, because the neural correlates of our consciousness exhibited features proscribed for elimination by the ruling class installed as a result of the Communist occupation.

Our families suffered from both Nazis and Communists. My wife’s grandfather fought against the German invasion in 1939, was later imprisoned by the Soviets in 1940-41, then fought with the Allies on the western front, and again imprisoned by the Communists when he returned to Poland in 1947.

While WWII understood as a military campaign ended in 1945, the violence associated with it continued in non-military forms against civilians. Poland understood as a civilization developed over the centuries, has been wiped out. Now the same name is being used by the Communist fake.

@LechSBorkowski

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WWII history reduced to caricature

My second comment on Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees review by David Aaronovitch in The Times, 23 October 2020. Polish version: Druga wojna światowa zredukowana do karykatury.


Lech S Borkowski, WWII history reduced to caricature, comment The Times 26 October 2020
WWII history reduced to caricature, my comment on Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees book review, David Aaronovitch in The Times 26 October 2020

26 October 2020

I would like to return to the second paragraph of the review, on which I commented already earlier. The entire article is based on the concept of symmetry of the two dictatorships.

“One of the Polish cities the Soviets annexed was Lwow, which they incorporated into Ukraine.”

Ukrainian Soviet “republic”.

“As the German forces neared Lwow the local NKVD — the internal security police — massacred 4,000 political detainees in Brygidki prison. A few weeks later the occupying Germans egged on local Ukrainians to murder 4,000 Jews by way of retaliation. It was a bloody symmetry, of a kind.”

This is a misrepresentation. There is no symmetry here. Those killed by the Soviets were Polish citizens of Polish and Ukrainian ethnicity. Those killed by the Germans were also Polish citizens. Omitting their citizenship is beneficial to the Communist narrative. Soviet Union worked through their agents before WWII, such as the father of a contemporary prominent figure in the Polish media, on promoting support for the annexation of eastern Poland. The occupation by the Soviet Union of eastern Poland in 1939-1941 and again post-1944 was appropriately manipulated by Moscow. Declaring that Poland was dead, omitting the victims’ citizenship, and focusing on their ethnicity instead, while eliminating Poles from the picture, is part of that Communist narrative.

The Nazi occupiers also killed professors of the Polish universities in Lwów.

Poland was the only significant country which fought against both of these totalitarian states.

@LechSBorkowski

P.S. Note the captions under pictures of the dictators:

“Adolf Hitler always planned to attack the USSR”
“Joseph Stalin refused to listen to warnings about German aggression”

Communist caricature of WWII.

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Communist narrative of WWII in The Times

My comment on Hitler and Stalin by Laurence Rees review — bloody fantasy versus cruel rationalism, book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times, 23 October 2020. Polish version: Komunistyczna narracja drugiej wojny światowej w The Times.


Lech S Borkowski, comment on book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times 24 October 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment on book review by David Aaronovitch in The Times 24 October 2020

This review starts with a caricature and is a bit of a caricature of history itself. It is a bad idea to use a cartoon to illustrate this subject. I understand, however, that the author is interested in conserving the narrative favorable towards the Communists. Although the cartoon uses insults about each of the leaders, it performs a very important function. It goes well with the grand Communist narrative.

A much better illustration would be the picture taken by a German soldier during the joint Communist-Nazi victory parade in Brześć nad Bugiem/Brest on the Bug river. It shows a banner praising the Red Army written in Cyrillic, two swastikas on each side above the banner, and a slightly raised sickle and hammer positioned centrally above the banner.

The picture is available in the German archives.

The author calls the Soviet leader a “defensive nationalist”. Imagine you heard this phrase out of context. Who would you have associated it with? Quite possibly you would have thought about leader of a western country.

This is another example of the Communist narrative, in which Soviet Union is to be presented as a defensive power, not the bloody genocidal regime that it was.

Also, note the language of the following fragment:

“As the German forces neared Lwow the local NKVD — the internal security police — massacred 4,000 political detainees in Brygidki prison. A few weeks later the occupying Germans egged on local Ukrainians to murder 4,000 Jews by way of retaliation. It was a bloody symmetry, of a kind.”

There was nothing “local” about NKVD. Decision to murder thousands of prisoners, citizens of Poland, was issued from Moscow. This is genocide and should be called this way. In the chaos of the first days of the German advance the Communists decided to give priority to killing the prisoners. The Soviet army retreated chaotically, abandoning equipment and arms along the way. They just could not retreat fast enough. The murder of the prisoners in eastern Poland, however, proceeded with precision and care.

@LechSBorkowski

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Political functionary as chief of the Auschwitz museum

My comment on the article Auschwitz museum chief offers to serve Nigerian boy Omar Farouq’s hard-labour sentence by Jane Flanagan in The Times, 30 September 2020.


Mr Cywiński is more of a political functionary than a museum director.

Here is part of my comment following the The Sunday Times article Holocaust novelists blur Nazi fact and fiction in bestsellers
by Andrew Holgate, 23 February 2020.

“The Museum did not invite Witold Pilecki’s son Andrzej and daughter Zofia, to the 70th anniversary of the Camp’s liquidation in 2015. Witold Pilecki was a Polish officer, who went to Auschwitz voluntarily, organised an underground resistance organisation there and sent reports about the Camp to the Polish resistance and the Polish government in exile in London.

At the same time, Museum issued an invitation to Rainer Hoess, 51, a grandson of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp commandant Rudolf Hoess, to participate in the 70th anniversary ceremonies. Rainer is a well-known anti-Nazi.

After WWII, Witold Pilecki was executed by the functionaries of the Communist dictatorship in 1948. This is clearly the reason behind refusing to invite Zofia and Andrzej Pilecki to the 70th anniversary. The concentration camp lives on under new leadership and with new guards. This is the camp of social death and elimination from history. The narrative is being actively managed and controlled.”

The entire comment can be found under the original article as well as in my blog.

@LechSBorkowski

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Communist narrative in The Sunday Times Travel section

My comment on the article Exploring Poland’s Lake District by Emma Thomson in The Sunday Times, 27 September 2020. Polish version: Narracja komunistyczna w The Sunday Times.


Lech S Borkowski comment The Times 27 September 2020
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times, 27 September 2020, part 1
Lech S Borkowski comment The Times 27 September 2020 part 2
Lech S Borkowski, comment in The Times, 27 September 2020, part 2

The article is representative of the Communist narrative. This is a region whose inhabitants either escaped or were expelled later in a totalitarian action. Practically the entire population of this large region was purged. The region was split by an arbitrarily drawn border and the Soviet enclave of “Kaliningrad” was installed north of it. The Koenigsberg of Immanuel Kant and several hundred years of history were annihilated.

“The capital of the region is the “garden town” of Olsztyn”

It is not a garden town. It is full of Communist blocks of flats. This was East Prussian Allenstein before WWII.

My wife’s grandmother Wera Głuchowska and her son Witold, my wife’s father, then a little boy, happened to be in Allenstein as refugees in 1945, just as WWII was coming to an end. Their home was in Iwacewicze, town in eastern Poland under Soviet occupation, presently under Belarussian control. Food was extremely scarce. Wera died of disease and exhaustion in 1945, after the war ended. She is buried in a neglected cemetery behind the church of St Joseph (current name, I am not sure of the German name). An office of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance is located just across the street from the church. The name is misleading, however. A short walk to this cemetery is enough to expose the lie. This has nothing to do with remembrance and everything with forgetting and subjugating to the official propaganda.

This cemetery bears witness to a great tragedy. Graves of little children who came to the world in the aftermath of WWII, graves of older Polish folk, who died in a foreign land instead near their farms in the fields, where they grew up and farmed. Graves of pre-WWII Prussian inhabitants, whose descendants fled, were killed, or were expelled. Most neglected, their boundaries sometimes difficult to recognize.

“The farm near Utka was bought by her great-grandparents for a small sum when the borders were redrawn after the Second World War. This previously German region became Polish, the Germans left, and residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south.”

The name of the place in Polish is Ukta, not Utka. It is quite an achievement to falsify so much history in two sentences. “Borders were redrawn”? By whom? Who did that? Why? No mention of an illegal Yalta agreement to which, sadly, the British government were part.

The phrase “bought by her great-grandparents” is meant to suggest a legal transaction as well as create an air of a long Polish history of the place. The sentence “This previously German region became Polish, the Germans left, and residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south” is a classic example of a totalitarian story-telling. The tragedy of the people is presented like a simple house sale. It was anything but.

This is the Communist narrative subordinated to the Soviet/Russian narrative.

The phrase “residents from modern-day Lithuania moved south” is simply a lie. I am a son of those “residents”. They were indeed residents, but not of Lithuania. Post-WWII, they resided in Communist concentration camps in northern Russia, Arkhangelsk region, for quite a long time. They were lucky to get out alive. Before that, they were citizens of Poland. They were stripped of their Polish citizenship by the Soviet occupiers. Both of my parents lived in eastern Poland, now marked as part of Belarus.

I was born in Kętrzyn/Rastenburg and grew up among refugee families from eastern Poland. We had a very small flat in former German barracks. Among our neighbours was a quiet German-East Prussian family. They may have been evicted from their house or farm. They left for Germany in the 1970s. Two of my childhood friends also moved to Germany during that time. They had a Polish father and a German mother.

As time went by, I gradually realised the enormity of the tragedy of all the people in that war.

And what are we served by The Times? No mention of vandalised country houses, ruined farms. It is all sweet and beautiful. “Bought for a small sum”. Really? This area is not my place and not my heritage.

@LechSBorkowski

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