A Model for the West

Letter From Poland

Ciechocinek lies about 200 kilometers northwest of Warsaw, near Torun, the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus, in the Kujawy-Pomorze (Kuyavia-Pomerania) region.  It is a spa and resort town of about 14,000 permanent residents, known for its unique titration towers—large wooden structures with thick layers of bramble, through which water from nearby salt springs is filtered into the air, producing a healthy microclimate, which approximates that of sea air.

I have flown into Warsaw from Toronto on a direct flight from Polish Airlines LOT on the night of June 4, 2004.  A female relative is waiting with a compact but elegant Peugeot 206 to take me directly to Ciechocinek.

We drive from the airport through most of Warsaw, which is again a beautiful city, despite the depredations of World War II.  Warsaw was virtually destroyed by the German occupiers, in the wake of the tragic Warsaw Uprising of 1944.  Over 240,000 Poles died in the uprising, and the remaining population was deported to concentration camps.  Unlike the situation during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, when the Soviet front was several hundred miles away and all of Poland was being ground down under German occupation, Soviet forces had reached the east bank of the Vistula River (Warsaw is on the west bank) in August 1944.  Most historians believe that Stalin deliberately suspended all Soviet offensive operations until October,...

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