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Superstar Pope of the Cold War Era: John Paul II Remembered

Kraków,  the Polish city in which Pope John Paul II – then Karol Wojtyła – was once cardinal, has at a rough estimate more than two hundred churches, and they are of every variety: Gothic churches, Baroque churches, Romanesque churches; Bernardine churches, churches Franciscan, Jesuit, Capucine and Carmelite. There are churches which stand out proudly…

Robin Ashenden | July 11, 2016
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In Praise of Polish London

“Dear Poles, I am so sorry to hear about what happened yesterday. We the Brits are grateful to you for fighting alongside us in the war and now for the enormous contribution you make to our society. We love you.” Thus read one of the messages the Polish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith received last week…

Robin Ashenden | July 5, 2016
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Dan Cruickshank: ‘Warsaw: Resurrecting History’ – reviewed by Olenka Hamilton

Dan Cruickshank is a writer, art historian, architectural consultant and broadcaster who’s made numerous history and culture programmes for the BBC including Around the World in Eighty Treasures;  Under Fire: Culture and Conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq; The Country House Revealed, and Warsaw: Resurrecting History. In London on February 16th, he descended on Ognisko Polskie’s…

Olenka Hamilton | February 21, 2016
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A Romanian Christmas, by Camelia Ciobanu

I’ll tell you who you are if you tell me what you do for Christmas. If, among family gatherings and presents, you happen to be a “sinner” and “a saint”, and feast on a multitude of pork dishes, chances are you could be Romanian… The Romanian Orthodox Church, St Gheorghe, in the City of London,…

Camelia Ciobanu | December 24, 2015
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REMEMBERING BOSNIA: Sarajevo under Siege. Two books, reviewed by Judith Fagelson

In war-ravaged Bosnia in the 1990s, the UN’s largely symbolic interventions failed time and again to bring peace to the region. Partly as a result of the West’s inertia until the late stages of the war, tens of thousands of civilians lost their lives, and even more lost their homes. The siege of Sarajevo was…

Judith Fagelson | December 16, 2015
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Golos: Ukrainian Voices (Gavanski & Levchenko 2015) reviewed by Judith Fagelson

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Bulgarian actor Dolya Gavanski and Ukrainian filmmaker Fedor Levchenko have teamed up to make Golos: Ukrainian Voices, a sensitive and insightful documentary about modern-day Ukraine. Although the film takes the Euro-Maidan demonstrations of late 2013 and 2014 as its starting point, the unrest is really just a pretext. In fact, Golos: Ukrainian Voices would be…

Judith Fagelson | October 27, 2015
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The Elixir of Freedom – Michael Moran at Ognisko Polskie, by Judith Fagelson

Michael Moran was first posted to Poland shortly after the collapse of communism, and he’s clearly grown deeply attached to the country. Born and raised in Australia, he initially felt a degree of objectivity that Europeans attempting to study Poland might not, and arrived unshackled by any preconceptions or stereotypes about the Poles. It’s interesting…

Judith Fagelson | October 6, 2015