Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 1, page 1 of 60)


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Chapter 1

Poland as a nation did not exist in the years before the Great War - the First World War. Politically it was just a part of the huge Austrio-Hungarian Empire with fond memories of its past sovereignty and glory, its own traditions and language and its continuing yearning for independence. As the 'cockpit of Europe' that part of the world was constantly being attacked, occupied and dismembered. The Swedes had occupied it (and a relic of this is still seen in the famous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa which bears a double scar on the cheek caused, it is said, by the slash of a Swedish sword. When sacking the famous monastery the actual icon became so heavy when loaded up with all the rest of the booty that the horses could not pull the cart. The officer in charge, in sheer frustration - and all expletives have been deleted from the traditional account - took his revenge on the picture and abandoned the load).

The Russians were constantly nibbling at the eastern frontiers and the Germans or their predecessors acquiring territories on the western side. In 1918 the peace treaties re-established this split state of Poland with all its deep-rooted divisions between east and west. The population had to 'opt' for a nationality so that those in the east could remain 'Russians' while those in the west could opt for remaining 'German'. Those who chose to be 'foreign' could remain in the country as more or less welcome aliens while if they opted to be Poles they were there by right. Ethnic cleansing is, thank God, a comparatively modern way of solving such problems.

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