Mikolajki

Today is Mikolajki!

Mikolajki St Nikolas

December 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, and Mikolajki as this day is known in Polish is a special day in the run up to Christmas when small gifts are given to children in Poland. Depending on family traditions these presents are either left under pillows, on windowsills, or in footwear (clean shoes or boots!).

The Roland War Memorial Mound

heldendenkmal labes lobez

An old picture postcard of the ‘Heldendenkmal’ war memorial and mound in Labes / Lobez, c.1937.

Information and archive images of the ‘Roland’ war memorial and mound in Lobez / Łobez, Zachodniopomorskie, (western Pomerania), Poland.

kriegerdenkmal labes lobez

The ‘Kriegerdenkmal’ and statue of Roland in Labes / Lobez / Łobez, Pommern, c.1937.

war memorial lebes lobez

The War Memorial and Mound in Labes / Lobez photographed just after completion of the main structure in 1929.

Historical note: Roland was a Knight and nephew of Charlemagne. He was part of Charlemagne’s army fighting the Muslims in Spain and was killed at the Battle of Roncevaux. As a result of which Roland was immortalised in the medieval French epic poem ‘Song of Roland’ (La Chanson de Roland). Statues of Roland (Rolande) still exist throughout present-day Germany. Many dating back several hundred years. The most famous surviving monument to Roland is probably the 15th century five metre high limestone statue in Bremen.

Lighting Church Candles

Church candles in Poland

Our children and their friend lighting votive candles in the Church Our Lady of Rokitno in the west of Poland.

This afternoon we paid a visit to the simply wonderful mid 18th century Church and Minor Basilica in the village of Rokitno, in the Przytoczna / Skwierzyna area of Lubuskie, Poland. During the visit we lit votive candles and said silent, individual prayers for either individuals or specific issues. These prayer candles continued to burn after we left the church. The burning flame symbolising the ongoing nature of the prayer. This is a commonplace activity in Catholic churches throughout Poland. In every church we have visited a small charge is made to cover the cost of the candles. In this case the recommended donation is one zloty.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- All Souls’ Day / All Saints’ Day.

Neudorf / Nowa Wieś

neudorf

An old pre-war multiview postcard of Nowa Wies (former: Neudorf). Posted in 1929 to Frankfurt an der Oder.

Here we present a selection of images from our archive and photographs taken on a recent wander around the village of Nowa Wieś (former Neudorf), near Skwierzyna (Schwerin) in Lubuskie, Poland. Look closely at the images and you will see some of the changes that have taken in Nowa Wies through time.

Neudorf Nowa Wies

Four 1930s photographs of Nowa Wies (Neudorf), near Skwierzyna (Schwerin an der Warthe) / Bledzew (Blesen).

Some things you may not know about Nowa Wieś:

- Nowa Wieś has a population of around 600 people.
- The local church is dedicated to St. Nicholas and dates back to the 1760s.
- An unrestored 19th century manor house (schloss / palac) can be seen in Nowa Wieś.
- Neudorf (the German pre-war name for the village) and Nowa Wieś mean the same in English – ‘New Village’

See also our page about nearby Bledzew.

Polish Dried Mushrooms

polish stringed mushrooms

Two freshly-dried and packaged strings of delicious Polish Podgrzybek mushrooms.

Over the last few weeks the whole family have been busy wandering the forests around our home in beautiful Lubuskie, in the west of Poland. We have been searching for and picking wild mushrooms for consumption by us on special occasions such as Christmas Eve and Easter and indeed throughout the year in dishes like Bigos and Mushroom Soup.

Here are a couple photographs of the two youngest members of our family with some of our freshly dried Borowik and Podgrzybek mushrooms.

polish dried mushrooms

Dried Borowik and Podgrzybek mushrooms, packaged and ready for mailing out to anywhere in the world!

This year we have been fortunate in finding and drying many more of these delicious mushrooms than we can possibly eat, so, do please get in contact if you would like to buy some. The Borowik mushrooms have been sliced and dried using a traditional drying method. While the Podgrzybek mushroom caps have been dried on strings in our kitchen.

We store our own dried mushrooms in large airtight ‘Kilner’ style jars and they will safely keep for more than a year in this way. To re-hydrate dried mushrooms simply soak them in boiling water for about 30 minutes and add to whatever dish you are cooking.

There really is nothing quite like the taste of wild mushrooms from Poland and these are truly a Polish product. We can post them from here in Poland to anywhere in the world. Payment can be made via the secure online Paypal system and mushrooms packaged and mailed by tracked airmail in any quantity. Stocks are limited though. We have only selling what we can’t possibly eat ourselves over the next one year. Get in touch and buy some today!

polish dried borowik mushrooms

Sliced and dried Polish Borowik mushrooms on our kitchen table in Lubuskie. All the mushrooms were picked within 25 kms of our house in western Poland. Most within 2 kms and by four members of our family!

Related content on Polish Poland:
- More about Polish Wild Mushrooms.

Kazimierz (Casimir) Funk

kazimierz funk

A postage stamp commemorating Kazimierz Funk issued in 1992 by the Polish post office.

Did you know that the discovery of vitamins is thanks to a Pole? Well, you do now!

Kazimierz Funk (or Casimir Funk as he is also known in English-speaking countries) was born in Warsaw in 1884 and was the Polish biochemist, generally credited with the first to formulate the concept of vitamins, which he called ‘vital amines’ or ‘vitamines’. Funk published his research in a book, The Vitamines, in 1912, where he proposed the hypothesis that diseases, such as rickets, pellagra, coeliac disease, and scurvy could also be cured by vitamins. In the same work he postulated the existence of other essential nutrients, which became known as vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, and D. Later in life he conducted research into hormones, diabetes, peptic ulcers and other diseases.

Grottkau / Grodków

grottkau grodkow

A lithographic picture postcard showing scenes from Grodkow (Grottau), Schlesien, c.1899.

Grodków (former: Grottkau) is a town in the south-west of Poland. Here is a selection of images from our picture archive showing the location through time.

grottkau grodkow Grodków silesia

The Rynek / ulica Warszawska area of Grodków (Grottau), Silesia, c.1910.

Three things you might not know about Grodków:

- Grodków was part of Germany and called Grottkau until 1945.
- Around 50% of Grodków was destroyed in the fighting between German and Russian / Soviet soldiers in February 1945.
- Most of the German population, who had not already fled west, were expelled by the end of 1945.

grottkau grodkow poland

A photograph of Grodkow (Grottkau) at it looked in 1935. Look carefully and you’ll see the town’s windmill, now a restaurant.

A couple more bits of information on Grodkow:

- The composer Joseph (Józef) Elsner was born in Grodków in 1769.
- The population of Grodków is currently around 8,800.

Grodków grottkau

An old picture postcard of the Post Office and Church on ul. Warszawska, Grodków (Grottkau), c.1935.

Also good to know:

- Grodkow, although historically part of Upper Silesia, is now part of the province of Opole.

Grodków  grottkau

An elevated photographic view of the centre of Grodków , Poland, c.1964.

See also:
- Information and images of the villages of Makowice (Mogwitz) and Skoroszyce (Friedewalde).
- Old images of and information on the nearby cities of Opole (former: Oppeln) and Nysa (Nissa).

Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese

Oscypek Polish Smoked Cheese

A plate of delicious Oscypek smoked cheese about to be eaten at our home here in Lubuskie, western Poland.

Oscypek is Polish smoked cheese produced in the Tatra Mountains in the far south of Poland. It is traditionally made using unpasteurized salted sheep’s milk. To sample this unique cheese you could travel to the Oscypek Festival organized each summer in Zakopane or alternatively visit any good store anywhere in Poland and buy them to enjoy at home. Since we’re a long way from the Polish highlands we usually buy ours at our local Intermarche supermarket! A similar cheese known as Gołka is made using the milk of cows rather than sheep.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- Polish Smoked Cheese Braids.

Schoenau an der Katzbach / Świerzawa

Schoenau an der Katzbach Świerzawa

An old postcard from Schoenau an der Katzbach, now Świerzawa, Schlesien, c.1899.

In response to a visitor request here are scans of three images from our archive of the small town of Schoenau an der Katzbach, now Świerzawa in Lower Silesia, south-west Poland.

Schonau Swierzawa

The Lower Market Square in Schonau / Swierzawa, Lower Silesia, c.1930.

Three things you may not know about Świerzawa:
- Świerzawa was called Schoenau until 1945 and between 1945 and 1947, Szunów.
- A recently closed railway line once connected Świerzawa with Legnica, Złotoryja, Marciszów, Kamienna Góra, and Lubawka.
- Świerzawa has a population of around 2,400.

Schonau Swierzawa pl

An aerial photograph of the centre of Schoenau / Swierzawa. This was taken in 1939.

Related content: Information and images of the nearby city of Jelenia Gora.

Demolka!

demolka

Yesterday we attended a fun car and motorcycle event at a sports stadium in Lubuskie, Poland. The event called Demolka (or Demolition in English) was organised by ‘Street Owners’ from the Czech Republic and featured all manner of stunts including cars driving on two wheels, motorcycle jumps, people leaping through fiery hoops from the roof of fast moving cars, a mock hanging, and a motorbike globe of death. Much fun was had by all who attended!

demolka poland

‘Streets Owners’ are a touring group that put on similar events throughout Poland and elsewhere in Europe. When not doing this they are involved in providing stunts for numerous television productions and movies.

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