All posts filed under: poland

this way to the gas ladies and gentlemen

This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski: Around the World in Books

I am trying to read a book from every country in the world.  BOOK: This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, by Tadeusz Borowski IN SHORT: This is a harrowing, fictionalized account of life as a prisoner at Auschwitz. THE BEST BIT: It is hard to use the word “best bit” to describe any passage in this book, because “best” implies an enjoyment that is difficult to come by here. Have I already used the word harrowing? In some ways there are similarities — in the setting, in the precision of the prose — to Primo Levi’s Survival at Auschwitz, though Borowski’s characters jockey more openly for positions of, and the spoils of, relative privilege. In the opening account, the narrator and Henri, a French prisoner, quarrel over the allocations of “the bacon, the onion … a can of evaporated milk” — even a loaf of bread baked by his mother. From the book’s introduction: “[Borowski and his fiancée] were both ‘lucky.’ Three weeks earlier ‘Aryans’ had stopped being sent to the gas chambers — except for special cases. …

Ida, Poland: ATW in Movies

So I’m doing this thing where I’m trying to watch one movie from every country but I got sort of carried away with Poland and watched three. I had barely seen any of Eastern Europe until I did this thing where I drove from London to Mongolia. It is easier to get to Mongolia from London if you drive through Eastern Europe, so we did—or at least through Prague, where we were going to spend the night in a parking garage but ended up at a hotel instead. A few years after that, I spent 36 hours in Budapest. In October, I went to Ukraine for fashion week, and it was amazing. But I still haven’t seen nearly as much of it as I would like. I was reminded of this last year, when I went on a series of dates with a Polish engineer who was very cool and who would cry when we watched “The Pianist,” which seems like a very Eastern European thing to do. Anyway: Like that movie, all three of the …