The Charnel Continent
December 02, 2010
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler And Stalin By Timothy Snyder (Basic Books, 524 pp., $29.95) ‘Now we will live!’... the hungry little boy liked to say ... but the food that he saw was only in his imagination.” So the little boy died, together with three million fellow Ukrainians, in the mass starvation that Stalin created in 1933. “I will meet her ... under the ground,” a young Soviet man said about his wife. Both were shot in the course of Stalin’s Great Terror of 1937 and 1938, which claimed 700,000 victims.
April 12, 2010
One of the worst days for Poland is rapidly becoming one of its greatest. The country's president, its armed forces' chiefs of staff, and its National Bank President, along with many more high state officials--the core members of Poland's governing elite--lost their lives on Saturday morning. Much of the media attention has been on the destination of the presidential visit: the commemoration of the Katyn massacre in 1940. On Stalin’s orders the Soviet NKVD executed nearly 20,000 Polish Army officers (who were also key members of the educational, professional, and administrative elite).
February 16, 2004
The Noonday Cemetery and Other Stories By Gustaw Herling Translated by Bill Johnston (New Directions, 281 pp., $25.95) IN 1953, WITOLD GOMBROWICZ, the great punk of Polish literature, began publishing a diary in the émigré journal Kultura, hoping that it would make him rich and famous. The diary, written in desperation, was to become perhaps Gombrowicz’s most celebrated work.