Director of Auschwitz museum has died

Posted on 27. Jan, 2012 by in Countries, Culture, Current News, Famous people, History, Places to visit, Uncategorized

Kazimierz Smoleń, a former prisoner of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, passed away on The International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust.  He was 91 years old.

Kazimierz Smoleń was born on April 19, 1920 in Chorzów Stary. He was sent to the concentration camp for underground activities in Chorzów in one of the first transports of Polish prisoners. He was given a number 1327. Kazimierz Smoleń was also imprisoned in Mauthausen.

After the war Kazimierz Smoleń graduated from law at the Catholic University and worked for the Main Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crimes. He appeared as a witness and an expert in many trials of war criminals, inter alia in Nuremberg and Frankfurt.

He was a co-founder and a director (1955-1990) of the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was also a long time secretary general and deputy chairman of the International Auschwitz Committee.

He once explained his decision to return to the camp to manage it as a way of honoring those who were killed there:

“Sometimes when I think about it, I feel it may be some kind of sacrifice, some kind of obligation I have for having survived,” he said.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Irena Jarocka has passed away

Posted on 26. Jan, 2012 by in Arts, Culture, Current News, Famous people, music

After more than 40 years on the international stage, Polish singer Irena Jarocka has passed away in Warsaw.

One of the best known hits of Irena Jarocka was “Odpływają kawiarenki” (Sail Away Cafes).

Irena Jarocka debuted in 1968 at the festival in Sopot. Her first hit was the song “Gondolierzy znad Wisły” (Gondoliers on the Vistula River).

Over the years, Irena Jarocka sang such well-known songs as “Motylem jestem” (I am a Butterfly), “Kocha się tylko raz” (You Love Only Once), “Odpływają kawiarenki” (Sail Away Cafes), “Wymyśliłam Cię” (I Created You), “Beatlemania story”.

She also starred in the movie “I Am a Butterfly, or a 40-year-old’s Romance” and in the Mrozek’s play “Beautiful View”.

She won many prestigious awards at international festivals and recorded many albums. The last of them were “Małe rzeczy” (Little Things) released in 2008 and “Ponieważ znów są Święta” (Because the Christmas Comes Once Again) in 2010.

She performed in eight languages with such stars as Mireille Mathieu, Charles Aznavour, Michel Legrand and ABBA. She has recorded for the world’s largest studios, such as Phillips, Supraphon, Warner Brothers, Cristal-EMI, Melodia, and Polish Records.

She emigrated to the United States in the 1990s and she took a break from performing for several years, before gaining speed anew, particularly after she returned to Poland, where she always felt most inspired. Over the years she released several albums through such major labels as Universal Music Polska “Little Things” – a collection of ballads and pop songs. 2010 proved to be a productive one for Irena Jarocka, both from a musical and a publishing standpoint. She released a two-CD compilation with the artist’s great hits in new arrangements.

Jarocka will be buried in the Catacombs of Old Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.

A memorial service for Irena Jarocka is being held at the Stanisław Kostka Church in Greenpoint, New York (607 Humboldt Street) on Sunday the 29th of January at 5:00 p.m.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Nie, dziękuję

Posted on 24. Jan, 2012 by in Culture, Grammar, Phrases, Polish Language, Vocabulary

Many times you were probably in a situation when you had to refuse something, say “no” in a polite way.

Today I will try to give you some examples of refusal in a different situations you may find yourself in Poland.

Shopping at the store, when you are approached by the sales representative asking if she/he can help you with anything, sometimes you just feel like just looking around and you do not help…What do you say then?

Nie, dziękuję – no, thank you

Narazie tylko się rozglądam – I’m just browsing right now

Dam pani/panu znać, jeśli będę potrzebować pomocy – I will let you (polite form pani(f)/panu (m)) know if I need help

Nie dziękuję, nie potrzebuję pomocy – No thank you, I do not need help

If you are purchasing something and sales person will ask you about additional insurance, you may use these phrases:

Nie, dziękuję, nie potrzebuję dodatkowego ubezpieczenia/gwarancji – No, thank you, I do not need additional insurance/warranty

Wezmę tylko podstawową gwarancję – I will take only basic warranty

While walking  in public, you may be approached by a person doing gallup poll (ankieta) for some company. You may not feel like talking to anyone, so you can just simply say:

Nie, dziękuję – no, thank you

Dziękuję, ale nie jestem zainteresowana (f)/zainteresowany (m) – Thank you, but I’m not interested

Well, there are a lot of homeless people everywhere in the world. Probably everywhere, while you walking ,you may see a person like this begging for money. In this case decision is yours. But if you want to refuse, just say:

Proszę zostawić mnie w spokoju – please leave me alone

Another situation is when you want to refuse someone who is trying to invite you on a date:

Dziękuję, ale nie jestem zainteresowana (f)/zainteresowany (m) – Thank you, I’m not interested

Jestem zajęta (f)/zajęty (m) – I’m taken

Mam chłopaka/dziewczynę – I have a boyfriend/girlfriend

Mój mąż nie byłby szczęśliwy z tego powodu - My husband would not be happy about it

Moja żona nie byłaby szczęśliwa z tego powodu – My wife would not be happy about it

…and hopefully they get it!

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If there are other situations you may think of and I missed them, please let me know in comments below.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)