Archive for 'Culture'

Kto ty jesteś? Polak mały…The profession of faith of the Polish little child

Posted on 29. Apr, 2016 by in Calendar, Culture, Holidays, Poetry

Constitution Day in Poland is just around the corner. Today couple of Polish patriotic poems!


Władysław Bełza – ,,Wyznanie wiary dziecięcia polskiego”

Kto ty jesteś?
Polak mały.
Jaki znak twój?
Orzeł biały.

Gdzie ty mieszkasz?
Między swemi.
W jakim kraju?
W polskiej ziemi.

Czem ta ziemia?
Mą ojczyzną.
Czem zdobyta?
Krwią i blizną.

Czy ją kochasz?
Kocham szczerze.
A w co wierzysz?
W Polskę wierzę.

Coś ty dla niej?
Wdzięczne dziecię
Coś jej winien?
Oddać życie.


Władysław Bełza – The profession of faith of the Polish little child”

Who are you?
A Polish child.
What’s your emblem?
The eagle in white.

Where’s your home?
With my loved ones.
In what country?
In the Polish land.

What the land is?
My beloved home.
How was it won?
By scar and bloody yomp.

Do you love Her?
With my heart and soul.
What do you trust in?
In Poland – as a whole.

What are you?
Her grateful kid.
What should you do for Her?
To lay down my life indeed.

Maria Konopnicka

Pojedziemy w cudny kraj 

Patataj, patataj,
pojedziemy w cudny kraj!

Tam gdzie Wisła modra płynie,
Szumią zboża na równinie,

Pojedziemy, patataj…
A jak zowie się ten kraj?

A jak ciebie ktoś zapyta:
Kto ty taki, skąd ty rodem?
Mów, żeś z tego łanu żyta,
Żeś z tych łąk co pachną miodem.

Mów, że jesteś z takiej chaty,
Co Piastowską chatą była.
Żeś z tej ziemi, której kwiaty
Gorzka rosa wykarmiła.

Maria Konopnicka

We’ll go in the wonderful country

Patataj, patataj (word used when horses go forward, run)
We go in the wonderful country!

Where the Vistula flows,
Roar of grain on the plain,

We will go, Patataj …
And how is called the this country?

And like you, someone will ask:
Who are you? Where are you from?
Tell them that you are from this crop of rye,
And from those meadows that smell like honey.

Say that you are from this cottage,
Which used to be  Piast’s.
Thou from the ground, the flowers
Bitter dew nursed.

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Why Poles don’t say hello to the strangers on the street?

Posted on 22. Apr, 2016 by in Communication, Countries, Culture

I remember my first impression when I came to USA: how friendly most of the people were and how people on the street were saying hello to me! I thought to myself: what a great, positive, friendly experience! I loved how people were smiling, saying hello and asking how was I doing. I have never really experienced this in Poland…sadly. However, I know that there are so many differences in Polish and American culture and people in Poland are just not used to saying hi to strangers while passing them on the streets.

When my husband visited Poland for the first time, I remember borrowing my parents car and driving to the local village store. He rolled the window down and was waving to everyone he saw, with a big smile! Now, imagine little village where everyone knows each other…and of course they recognize my parents car. And there is a stranger waving and smiling…It was actually pretty funny:) It seems like something pretty normal here in US, but it’s definitely not something you see all the time in Poland!

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My husband and I visiting Kraków! This guy didn’t mind to say hello and pose for a picture with us…

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…I think he actually liked meeting us…or me…


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…my husband was a little jealous, but look, he is still smiling:)

So why Polish people don’t greet strangers on the street? I think it’s just a difference between our cultures. I’m not saying that one is better than the other, just different. I think that Americans meet someone and want to have a good relationship immediately. Poles need a little time to warm up. After you know each other for a little while, it usually changes completely. I think generally Poles are a little wary or distrusting of others. Something left over from the past… In reality, if you need something from an American, they’re probably nowhere to be found. Why? Too inconvenient. Need something from a Pole? They help you, make you dinner, feed you cake and give you a place to sleep. And offer you a drink:) Americans are more friendly, but I think Poles are more hospitable. Of course there are different people everywhere, there are exceptions and there are different Americans and different Poles, so please don’t think I’m trying to judge everyone. I definitely do not mean to offend anyone.

I have to admit I really like when people say hello to me everywhere! I don’t try to push it when I’m visiting Poland, but I definitely try to at least smile to strangers…and it must work, because a lot of them smile back!



How to get out of trouble if you get arrested in Poland

Posted on 18. Apr, 2016 by in Countries, Crime, Culture, Regulations, Safety

In my last post I shared some tips on how not to get in trouble while visiting Poland (take a look here).

Hopefully none of you will get in a big trouble after all! But, if you will….well, let’s see if we can get you ready for this. So what to do if you will get arrested in Poland?

First thing: you need a lawyer (adwokat, prawnik). Lawyers in Poland are divided into two types, advocates (adwokaci,prawnicy) and “radca prawny”. Only advocates and trainee advocates (aplikant awokacki) may represent you in criminal proceedings.

If you are a not a Polish citizen, your local embassy may also maintain a list of lawyers who speak your language and can provide you with their details.

If you I cannot afford to pay for a private lawyer, what should you do? 

You may have the right to free legal advice, depending on your financial circumstances. In order to apply for legal aid, you need to obtain the relevant forms. If your case is at the investigation stage, you can return the completed application to a police officer or prosecutor. If your case is already reached trial, you can return the completed application to the court. In both cases your application will be assessed by the President of the Court, who will decide whether you qualify for legal aid based on the evidence you provide. If you qualify for legal aid, the court will appoint a lawyer for you and you have no right to choose your representative.

Criminal legal aid must be granted in the following cases, regardless of your financial situation:

If you are under 18 years of age,
If you are deaf or blind,
If there are concerns about your mental health and you have to be examined by psychiatrists in this regard,
If you are charged with a more serious offence (a felony) and your trial takes place in the District Court (the court of first instance that tries serious cases),
If you cannot defend yourself because you have a physical or mental disability.
If you have a right to legal aid for any of the reasons above, you have the right to choose your own lawyer.

So, will you have to stay in prison until your trial starts? 

Although there is a presumption that people should be given bail ( kaucja), but it is often harder for most foreign nationals to get bail. There is a common tendency to assume that if you do not have a place of residence in Poland, you are more likely to flee if released before your trial.

You may be kept in detention for a number of other reasons, for example:

  • In order to prevent you from tampering with evidence (manipulowanie dowodami), or interfering with witnesses (kontakt ze świadkami),
  • In order to ensure that you attend your trial,
  • To prevent you from committing another serious crime.
  • If you are suspected of committing a serious crime (poważne przestępstwo), it is less likely that you will be released.

You may appeal against both the arrest and the temporary detention, each of them separately and independently. The prosecutor or the court may impose various measures to ensure, for example, that you attend your trial, or that you do not engage in activities which could potentially affect the evidence to be used in your trial, but only the court can order your detention pending trial. You can be released pending your trial with or without conditions. Your release may be accompanied by one or more of the following restrictions:

  • reporting at the police station at specified times
  • not making contact with the victim of the crime
  • paying money as security
  • remaining in Poland
  • refraining from driving
  • not engaging in certain economic activities
  • being prohibited from visiting certain places

You can apply for release from detention at any time. Your application will be granted if the reasons for your detention are no longer valid. To be released you should apply to the prosecutor at the pre-trial stage or to the court if your case has reached trial. If you are denied release from detention, you can appeal from that decision. At pre trial stages, you can appeal only 3 months after the last decision that refused your release.

Photo credit Jerzy Rucinski

Can you go back to your home country if you have been released pending your trial?

Yes, unless you have been expressly forbidden to do so, you may leave the country while on bail. However you must keep the prosecutor informed about any change of your place of residence lasting over 7 days. A failure to do so may result in the prosecutor requesting your extradition, to force you to go back to Poland. You also have an obligation to appear before the Prosecutor or the Court should you be summoned by them. Failure to do so may also result in arrest and detention.

Now, trial can go different ways. You are entitled to plead guilty and, if this is accepted, it may limit some of your evidence at the trial. If you plead guilty, this may mean that you receive a less severe sentence. You may also make a deal with the authorities in what is called a plea bargain. This is a deal made between you and the police or the Prosecutor. If you make a plea bargain, this usually means that you are making a guilty plea, or at least you do not dispute your involvement in the incident for which you are being tried. You will be offered a certain punishment to accept, and this could be a shorter sentence than what you may get if you are convicted following a trial. If the deal is accepted by the Court it will limit the trial to usually one hearing and there may be no evidence presented at all at trial.

Can you serve your prison sentence in your home country?

You can ask to be transferred to your home country, if Poland has an agreement with your country allowing such transfers. Transfers are usually at the discretion of both the country where you are detained and the country to which you want to be transferred. This means that even if you qualify for a transfer, your application may still be refused.

I really hope that you will never have to deal with any of it. Just be careful and not get involved in any fights, suspicious conversations and…you will be just fine. And of course, don’t drink and drive and be true to 10 Commandments, after all, Poland is a very much catholic country!