Poland Quotes

Quotes tagged as "poland" Showing 1-30 of 77
Eric Hoffer
“The Jews are a peculiar people: Things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it. Poland and Czechoslovakia did it. Turkey threw out a million Greeks and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese--and no one says a word about refugees.

But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis. Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace.

Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.”
Eric Hoffer

Henry Miller
“There is one thing I like about the Poles—their language. Polish, when it is spoken by intelligent people, puts me in ecstasy. The sound of the language evokes strange images in which there is always a greensward of fine spiked grass in which hornets and snakes play a great part. I remember days long back when Stanley would invite me to visit his relatives; he used to make me carry a roll of music because he wanted to show me off to these rich relatives. I remember this atmosphere well because in the presence of these smooth−tongued, overly polite, pretentious and thoroughly false Poles I always felt miserably uncomfortable. But when they spoke to one another, sometimes in French, sometimes in Polish, I sat back and watched them fascinatedly. They made strange Polish grimaces, altogether unlike our relatives who were stupid barbarians at bottom. The Poles were like standing snakes fitted up with collars of hornets. I never knew what they were talking about but it always seemed to me as if they were politely assassinating some one. They were all fitted up with sabres and broad−swords which they held in their teeth or brandished fiercely in a thundering charge. They never swerved from the path but rode rough−shod over women and children, spiking them with long pikes beribboned with blood−red pennants. All this, of course, in the drawing−room over a glass of strong tea, the men in butter−colored gloves, the women dangling their silly lorgnettes. The women were always ravishingly beautiful, the blonde houri type garnered centuries ago during the Crusades. They hissed their long polychromatic words through tiny, sensual mouths whose lips were soft as geraniums. These furious sorties with adders and rose petals made an intoxicating sort of music, a steel−stringed zithery slipper−gibber which could also register anomalous sounds like sobs and falling jets of water.”
Henry Miller, Sexus

Christopher Hitchens
“So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Zdzisław Beksiński
“I am obsessed with the process of creation.”
Zdzilsaw Beksinski, The Fantastic Art of Beksinski

James A. Michener
“a soldier lives always for the next battle, because he knows that before it arrives impossible changes can occur in his favor.”
James A. Michener, Poland

Haruki Murakami
“It was a small room with dim light coming in the window, reminiscent of old Polish films.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Olga Tokarczuk
“Nie, nie ludzie w naszym kraju nie mają umiejętności zrzeszania się i tworzenia wspólnoty, nawet pod sztandarem prawdziwka. To kraj neurotycznych indywidualistów, z których każdy, gdy tylko znajdzie się wśród innych, zaczyna ich pouczać, krytykować, obrażać i okazywać im swoją niewątpliwą wyższość.”
Olga Tokarczuk, Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych

Sana Szewczyk
“I believe that each person has a favorite place, a tree, a mountain, or a beach which they want to come back to, even if the return can only take place in the boundaries of their imagination.”
Sana Szewczyk, Under a Ginkgo Tree and Other Stories

Christopher Hitchens
“I went to interview some of these early Jewish colonial zealots—written off in those days as mere 'fringe' elements—and found that they called themselves Gush Emunim or—it sounded just as bad in English—'The Bloc of the Faithful.' Why not just say 'Party of God' and have done with it? At least they didn't have the nerve to say that they stole other people's land because their own home in Poland or Belarus had been taken from them. They said they took the land because god had given it to them from time immemorial. In the noisome town of Hebron, where all of life is focused on a supposedly sacred boneyard in a dank local cave, one of the world's less pretty sights is that of supposed yeshivah students toting submachine guns and humbling the Arab inhabitants. When I asked one of these charmers where he got his legal authority to be a squatter, he flung his hand, index finger outstretched, toward the sky.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, historians have become both more accurate and more honest—fractionally more brave, one might say—about that 'other' cleansing of the regions and peoples that were ground to atoms between the upper and nether millstones of Hitlerism and Stalinism. One of the most objective chroniclers is Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University. In his view, it is still 'Operation Reinhardt,' or the planned destruction of Polish Jewry, that is to be considered as the centerpiece of what we commonly call the Holocaust, in which of the estimated 5.7 million Jewish dead, 'roughly three million were prewar Polish citizens.' We should not at all allow ourselves to forget the millions of non-Jewish citizens of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and other Slav territories who were also massacred. But for me the salient fact remains that anti-Semitism was the regnant, essential, organizing principle of all the other National Socialist race theories. It is thus not to be thought of as just one prejudice among many.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Sylvia Plath
“In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars ...”
Sylvia Plath

Christopher Hitchens
“And thus to my final and most melancholy point: a great number of Stalin's enforcers and henchmen in Eastern Europe were Jews. And not just a great number, but a great proportion. The proportion was especially high in the secret police and 'security' departments, where no doubt revenge played its own part, as did the ideological attachment to Communism that was so strong among internationally minded Jews at that period: Jews like David Szmulevski. There were reasonably strong indigenous Communist forces in Czechoslovakia and East Germany, but in Hungary and Poland the Communists were a small minority and knew it, were dependent on the Red Army and aware of the fact, and were disproportionately Jewish and widely detested for that reason. Many of the penal labor camps constructed by the Nazis were later used as holding pens for German deportees by the Communists, and some of those who ran these grim places were Jewish. Nobody from Israel or the diaspora who goes to the East of Europe on a family-history fishing-trip should be unaware of the chance that they will find out both much less and much more than the package-tour had promised them. It's easy to say, with Albert Camus, 'neither victims nor executioners.' But real history is more pitiless even than you had been told it was.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Andrzej Szczypiorski
“Ah, my dear friend, cheer up... After all, we have peace! And because there is peace, the occupiers can't behave so abominably anymore. All right, we're not free. But we are used to that, Mr. Kujawski. After all we were both born into slavery, and we will die in it. Oh yes, at first they'll exploit us ruthlessly. Fourteen hours of slave labor a day. A bowl of watery soup. Whippings, beatings... But that will pass with time. Because there is peace, they won't have a chance to get any new slaves. They'll have to take good care of those have already. Cheer up, dear Mr. Kujawski... [...] Arbeit macht frei, work makes man free, and it makes him especially so in the sunshine of European peace. We will lack only one thing. Only one! The right of dissent. The right to say out loud that we want a free and independent Poland, that we want to brush our teeth and go on holiday in our own way, conceive children and work our own way, think in our own way, live and die. This is the one thing you will find missing in the sunshine of European peace, which you, my friend, hold to be the highest good.”
Andrzej Szczypiorski, The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman

P.G. Wodehouse
“If this is Upper Silesia, what on earth must Lower Silesia be like?”
P.G. Wodehouse

Christopher Hitchens
“What people still do not like to admit is that there were two crimes in the form of one. Just as the destruction of Jewry was the necessary condition for the rise and expansion of Nazism, so the ethnic cleansing of Germans was a precondition for the Stalinization of Poland. I first noticed this point when reading an essay by the late Ernest Gellner, who at the end of the war had warned Eastern Europeans that collective punishment of Germans would put them under Stalin's tutelage indefinitely. They would always feel the guilty need for an ally against potential German revenge.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Sana Szewczyk
“The voice was full of satisfaction with the things we had achieved, sadness for the life we had left behind, and hope for the unknown future. I could feel my heart beating strong and fast under my right hand. I wondered if anyone else could hear the beating of my heart. It felt like the integrated pulse of many hearts beating steadily together in this room at that very moment.”
Sana Szewczyk, Under a Ginkgo Tree and Other Stories

Sana Szewczyk
“On the way out through the steel door, as I held Makenzie in my arms, I wondered if she could use her "Dorothy shoes" to take us safely home, if I just held on to her tightly. Then I asked myself: Where is home, really? I hoped that now I would know.”
Sana Szewczyk, Under a Ginkgo Tree and Other Stories

Sana Szewczyk
“I want to be able to share the place I come from, just like I would share a piece of fresh Polish bread.”
Sana Szewczyk, Under a Ginkgo Tree and Other Stories

Józef Piłsudski
“To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat.”
Józef Piłsudski

“Polish leader Boleslaw Bierut, a charisma-free life support system for a bureaucrat's mustache.”
Daniel Kalder, The Infernal Library: On Dictators, the Books They Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy

Adam Mickiewicz
“No frogs can sing as well as Polish ones.”
Adam Mickiewicz, Pan Tadeusz

William Styron
“Despoiled and exploited like the South, and like it, a poverty-ridden, agrarian, feudal society, Poland has shared with the Old South one bulwark against its immemorial humiliation, and that is pride. Pride and the recollection of vanished glories.”
William Styron, Sophie's Choice

“Jeg trodde Auschwitz var helvete på jord og at ingenting kunne bli verre. Der tok jeg feil. Auschwitz var et organisert helvete. Krematoriene fungerte. Likene ble ikke liggende på appellplassen. Warszawa var et planløst helvete.”
Robert Savosnick, Jeg ville ikke dø

“- Módlcie się i nawracajcie - wzywała Matka Boska. Jej apel odniósł odwrotny skutek w gabinetach Komitetu Wojewódzkiego PZPR w Białymstoku, w biurze Wydziału do Spraw Wyznań i za murami białostockiej Komendy Wojewódzkiej MO.”
Piotr Nesterowicz, Cudowna

Andrzej Stasiuk
“Kim byśmy byli, gdybyśmy mieli tylko jednego sąsiada, a z drugiej strony morze albo Wielskie Księstwo Luksemburg? Bylibyśmy nikim. Co najwyżej jeszcze jedną umierającą z nudów zachodnią demokracją, jeszcze jedną postmodernistyczną republiką, w której głównym problemem jest wynajdowanie sposobów spędzania wolnego czasu, przeszczepy narządów oraz nieśmiertelność.”
Andrzej Stasiuk, Dojczland

Jan Kochanowski
“A dokąd wyroku  
Mars nie uczyni, nie ustępuj kroku.”
Jan Kochanowski, Fraszki, Pieśni, Treny, Odprawa Posłów Greckich

“Aresztowanie Gomułki w latach stalinizmu zmazywało przynajmniej częściowo jego wcześniejsze zbrodnie. To prawda, komunista, odpowiedzialny za powojenne bezeceństwa, ale przecież sam też przez komunistów szykanowany. Przez te lata w odosobnieniu znalazł się po stronie cierpiących Polaków. Na nikogo lepszego wówczas nie mogli liczyć.”
Piotr Lipiński, Gomułka. Władzy nie oddamy

Anna Świrszczyńska
“I am born for the second time,
happiness of the world
came to me again.
My body effervescences,
I think with my body which effervesces.

If I wish
I will soar.”
Anna Świrszczyńska, Talking to My Body

Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński
“katolicyzm w Polsce jest zaledwie w jakich 20% religią, a w 80% przemysłem, znakomicie zorganizowanym przedsięwzięciem finansowym. Aparat działa z drapieżną precyzją, ale zarazem z poczuciem, że wszystko to wspiera się na ciemnocie i na zastraszeniu i że wystarczyłoby trochę światła i powietrza, aby podciąć ten przemysł, uprawiany w mroku i zaduchu.”
Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński, Nasi okupanci

“polskie społeczeństwo oligarchiczne było tak mocno ugruntowane, że nie było w stanie zreformować się wewnętrznie - tak jakby tkwiło w czarnej dziurze, w której grawitacja jest zbyt silna, by cokolwiek, nawet światło, mogło się z niej wydostać”
Marcin Piatkowski, Europe's Growth Champion: Insights from the Economic Rise of Poland

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