8/23/2019

Warsaw notes

"There aren’t many traditional tourist sites. Construction workers will look at you funny if you visit the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the memorial plaque isn’t exactly prominent. The city’s much-heralded Jewish Museum is as much a critique of the Jews during medieval times as anything else. I don’t consider those sites as focal for the Warsaw population as a whole, but the official side of life here has not exactly taken the German tack of ongoing apologies. It is now against the law to suggest that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust (now only a fine, the threat of imprisonment was removed)...

Poland is a country where nationalism doesn’t seem to be going away. In fact, there seems to be a kind of intertemporal substitution into a new nationalism, a secure nationalism, finally safe from the bullying of larger neighbors. Polish flags are everywhere. So many Poles, even secular ones, view the Catholic Church as the central institution of Western civilization, and indeed they have a concept of Western civilization as having a central institution..."