Why you should care
Because there’s more to Poland than blintzes and pierogies.
Addicted to fashion in Poland? Not yet, but you will be. Tamara Gonzalez Perea, who makes her home in Szczecin (pronounced ”Stet-chin”), Poland’s seventh largest city, not only just won Fashion Magazine’s award for best fashion blog of 2012 for her Macademian Girl blog, but also took a first place win from Press Magazine for fashion blogs. In fast fashion, those wins were followed by spreads in Glamour, Elle and Cosmo this summer. And it’s not just the fashion blogging that makes her interesting. Nor is it simply her wild pastiche of found/repurposed materials.
Being stylish and well-informed has to start somewhere. And the spot to be if you want to be seen is Odra Zoo, a play on the Polish words for “right away.” It sits squarely in the Kolumba district of Szczecin, near the Academy of Art, and is the brainchild of 34-year-old Ludwik Przelomski. “Well, I care about young, difficult and unpopular art,” said Przelomski amid the dust of a soon-to-be-completed side room. “So, if it’s new and fresh and has something to do with visual arts, music, food or drink, it’s perfect for what we’re trying to do.”
Arrested, tortured and sentenced to death, Irena Sendler managed to escape her sentence for smuggling over 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and saving them from certain death. A Polish nurse and social worker in Warsaw, the 29-year-old Sendler and two dozen like-minded Poles smuggled more than 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and away from the certain death that awaited them during the Nazi occupation. They smuggled the children out, obtained false identities and papers for them, and placed them with other families resisting a murderous policy.
Well before President Ronald Reagan famously demanded that Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev “tear down this wall” in Berlin in 1987, 36-year-old labor organizer Lech Walesa climbed over a wall at a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland, starting a chain reaction of events that would culminate in the collapse of the Berlin Wall and, with it, the Soviet Union. The Communist government in Poland ultimately gave in to the strikers’ demands and signed what became known as the Gdansk Agreement, allowing workers to form the first independent labor union in the Soviet bloc, known as the Solidarity union. Walesa was named its leader. And in 1983, he was recognized for his activism with the Nobel Peace Prize.