Late Night Open Thread: Resistance Legends

Despite her advancing years and tiny stature, the Warsaw Uprising veteran has lost none of her fighting spirit when it comes to defending Poland’s presence in the European Union and migrant rights.

Tens of thousands of people had turned out in October in support of Poland’s EU membership after the Constitutional Court contested the primacy of EU law, in what experts saw as a step towards a “Polexit” given the nationalist ruling party’s euroscepticism…

Traczyk-Stawska was a 12-year-old girl guide when the German army invaded Poland. She joined the resistance movement and went on to carry out acts of sabotage under the sweet pseudonym of “Doughnut”.

At the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising on August 1, 1944, she was one of 50,000 fighters to revolt against the Nazis — as well as a rare girl with a machine gun, an assignment usually reserved for men at the time.

Over the course of 63 days of battle, nearly 200,000 civilians and fighters died and the city was reduced to a pile of rubble.

Traczyk-Stawska later passed through four German prisoner-of-war camps, before Polish forces operating in the Netherlands and Germany freed her from a camp in Oberlangen, northwest Germany, in 1945. Once back home, she worked as a teacher at a centre for handicapped children.

The last order she received, her life’s mission, has been to watch over the cemetery bearing the remains of nearly half of the wartime dead found in the ruins of the Polish capital.

Remaining in the EU “is a question of national security… Were we to quit the union, where would that leave us?” Traczyk-Stawska asked.

“We already know what 1939 was like,” when Poland found itself alone in the face of a two-front invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

“It’s our greatest danger… We’d end up like a fly up against an elephant,” she added, her robust voice contrasting with her fragile frame.

She said she was “furious” at the rally when she chose to call out the far right, who have received funding from the state and plan to go ahead with a march through Warsaw on Thursday, Poland’s Independence Day…

“I got up on stage to speak of the Poland of our dreams, us veterans of the uprising… a Poland that is kind and tolerant,” Traczyk-Stawska added.

She soon received death threats…

Compare & contrast:

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