Ignorance is renewed with each newborn, and by the time any man figures out anything, he can almost feel the mortician leaning over his stiff face. Though all lessons are embalmed within history, few care to explore that infinite corpse. Lewis Mumford, ‘So far from being overwhelmed by the accumulations of history, the fact is that mankind has never consciously carried enough of its past along with it. Hence a tendency to stereotype a few sorry moments of the past, instead of perpetually re-thinking it, re-valuating it, re-living it in the mind.’
Far from learning from history, people tend to distort it to their own ends, and thus during the last commemoration of Russia’s defeat of Germany in World War II, many commentators conveniently forgot that those two countries had collaborated to start the war in the first place. After the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia, while Soviet Russia poured troops into Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the eastern portion of Romania. Russians massacred 22,000 Poles at Katyn alone, imprisoned 100,000 and deported 1,200,000 to Siberia, Kazakhstan and other places within the Soviet Union. More than half would die.
In the Polish city of Brest-Litovsk, conquering German and Russian troops paraded together on September 22, 1939. On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded Russia itself, however, thus ending that evil alliance. Working from London, what’s left of the Polish government arranged for its citizens in Siberia to be transferred to British controlled Iran, and from there, many of the surviving Polish children could finally consign to posterity their horrific experiences of the Russian Socialist Paradise. In 1981, Irena and Jan Tomasz Gross published a selection of these accounts in their book, War Through Children’s Eyes. Here are three:
This post was published at Lew Rockwell on June 6, 2015.