WWII and Eastern Europe

When visiting Eastern Europe the scars left from WWII are visible everywhere, in the landscape and its people. Conversations often turn to this topic, and once there bitter memories and still-vital nationalistic pride and prejudices come to light. It is not hard to understand why this happens, with many structures built for the purposes of the evil intentioned still standing, the ghosts of the past just cannot be avoided. In order to pull some pride and honor from this sad time of occupation and loss, heroic rescues and victories are replayed for the new generations to witness.

The images presented here represent Auschwitz, Communist Blok style Apartments, and a Reenactment by Poles of the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Photo credits: Aviahuismanphotography.

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March 02, 2010



The point is to reflect on reality. If you have ever been to Eastern Europe and spent time among it's wonderfully friendly and welcoming people then you would not have read a negative tone in what I have written. This area of the world has seen much tragedy, loss and hardship, that is, like I said, still visible in the culture today. This is simply an Anthropological description of the state of things.

I am in no way critical of Auschwitz remaining standing or of old communist buildings not being torn down. It is important for Auschwitz to remain open. It must continue with its new mission: to teach new generations that what happened during the war was real and that unrestricted hate can lead to horrible realities coming to pass. The communist buildings remain because they are a part of their communities, this is where people live and work. The buildings are now being renovated and updated (now that the economies of these countries that communist mis-management drained are beginning to rebound) giving them a new life and new meaning to their inhabitants. Yet--the past, the reason they were built is inescapable. So, thoughts and conversations turn to this dark time. The Polish, a particularly strong and proud people, suffered during the war and its aftermath. Yet, rather than dwell on all the bad, they often prefer to talk about the bravery and strength of their people during the invasion of their country and during various battles, particularly the one for Monte Cassino.

Here in the US it is hard for us to understand such things. There are few places where such tragedy is so ever-present. No place that, everywhere you look you see evidence of past oppression and occupation. As such, this is what popped out at me when looking at these images as a group. In contrast, my photos and experiences with people in Zakopane (a town in the Southern Mountainous region of Poland) was quite different. There, farther away from the industries that drove communist leaders to build factory towns and the blok apartments for the workers, the people and the landscape are freer from this time period. Their thoughts do not turn to it as often, they do not see reminders of this sparse time everyday when they return home.

Please do not be so cynical of other's intentions or so quick to pull negativity out of what has been written or posted. We all have our own stories and such comments will only serve to encourage people to keep them to themselves. This blog is intended to share these images and the power they hold in their history.

Only by reflecting on the past can we move forward into a better future.

March 02, 2010


I don't understand this blog. Are you critical of the Eastern European countries that did not clean up the scars of WWII like Auschwitz? Or that they did not forget the bitter memories? Maybe you should elaborate. Or you only wanted to show your pictures without too much thought about the text?

March 02, 2010


We must learn from historical events. Your images have very strong messages.

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