old town warsaw

On the road again – Return via Warsaw

Just under a month to go, and then I will leave Tallinn. It was a remarkable period, and I will return many more times. It is a fine city, with lots of nature and a fairy-tale language. And I learned from the legend that if at night I meet an old greybeard from Lake Ülemiste who asks me if Tallinn is ready, I must answer "no." Otherwise, the water from this lake will flood the city. For almost a year, I lived there, got to experience many beautiful things and made good friends, brought 'schwung' into my business, and hope to do the same for my clients. I remember how surprised I was when I set foot there, and I will never lose this feeling. Still, I'm putting myself in motion again.

From Tallinn to the West of Europe

On my journey from Tallinn to Western Europe, I make a few stops and look forward to being back in Warsaw. It is a city which has much more to offer than many children of Cold War rhetoric think, despite the gift of Stalin, standing next to the central station, trying to cast a shadow over an entire country. It's a bustling city with plenty of creativity, cozy neighborhoods and districts (like Praha), parks, and imposing bridges over the Vistula. As you walk through Warsaw, you see a city that pulled itself by its hair out of one of its greatest tragedies, the uprising against the occupiers in World War II. The insurgents thought they could deliver a devastating blow to the Nazis. There were many battle developments on both fronts, freedom was on the way, and their desire was to speed up this process. And so they took up some strategic positions in the city to drive out the occupiers. The zeal they entered the fight with was as great as the later losses. When the powder fumes had cleared, the old city center was in ruins, and the rebellion was destroyed. The Uprising museum depicts this story and the many horrors involved. For any peace-loving person, this is a must-see. A crucial part that is told but conveniently lost sight of by many is the role of the Soviets.

Stalin said, "one deceased is a tragedy; all others are mere statistics." The West attributed this to Churchill, but that is a mistake. The current war in Ukraine shows how this statement is still relevant and Warsaw a city that illustrates this mentality.

Of course, the Allies were aware of the plan, but the Soviets refused help. Hence, the British had difficulty dropping equipment, such as weapons and ammunition, to the insurgents. In addition, they were not allowed to fly over Soviet-liberated territory. It says a lot, but the Soviet attitude during the uprising was even worse. Instead of helping the Polish insurgents, they did nothing. They stood on the other side of the river, watched them with their arms crossed, and only after the old city was no more did they cross the river. Evidently, for them, the rebellion was just a war statistic. It is a logic that many in the West will never understand. However, the war in Ukraine again shows that we must let go of our reason and start acting up against this horrible mentality with our sleeves rolled up.

Here in Estonia, I was told that World War II lasted until 1991 when they broke free from the Soviet Union and regained their independence again. Until then, torture, repression, and deportation of innocents were commonplace. Many of us have no idea what crimes the Soviets committed to uphold their territory.

Getting back to Warsaw

The inner city has been rebuilt with great respect for history and is flanked by parks. The town breathes again, and on a random Sunday afternoon, as the sun slowly sets, poetic feelings emerge here again. As with, for example, Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor. Chopin was born not far from Warsaw and went to its Conservatory. He was a poet at the keyboard, a composer, a great innovator, and an influential pianist. In his compositions, he expressed his romanticized image of Poland and found his strength in nuance rather than loudness.

The piano-concerto, as mentioned earlier, is praised for its beautiful piano score, although some experts say the orchestration is thin or meager. But what if that piano symbolizes the longing for freedom? For being allowed to be yourself in a society that takes a humble stance without violence and repression. Where there is room for romance and hope, does the orchestra hold back to give space to this freedom? I find this explanation more fitting.

Enjoy the music!


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