Tag Archives: Poland

Catholic Wayside Shrines

roman catholic shrine poland

There are Catholic Wayside (Roadside) Shrines throughout Poland Indeed in pretty much every hamlet, village, town or city has at least one shrine. Here are three photographs we took back in the summer of one shrine that we drive by most days. This particular wayside shrine is in the column-style and located about 20 metres from a country road in the province of Lubuskie in the far west of Poland; not far from the German border; and around an hour’s drive from Berlin.

catholic roadside shrine polish

This shrine is often used as a small chapel where a handful of villagers will spend time praying. Often bringing along chairs to sit on. Candles are also placed and lit here around religious holidays or to remember people who have passed. As can be seen in the photographs the central figure here is Jesus Christ. Others in the are known as ‘Marian’ shrines and feature figures of the Virgin Mary.

catholic wayside shrines poland

This type of more established wayside shrine shouldn’t be confused with the many thousands of more personal and probably more temporary crosses and small shrines placed beside the roads of Poland to mark where a relative or friend died, often as the result of a road traffic accident. On my daily commute to work I drive past three of these large wayside shrines maintained by local communities, whereas I pass five markers, mostly in the shape of crosses, placed beside the road by family’s who have lost a loved one.

Synagogues in Poland

Jewish Poland

synagogue poland

The synagogue in Schneidemuehl, now, Piła, Wielkpolskie, Poland, c.1905. It was destroyed by fire during the Nazi pogrom of 9th/10th November 1938.

Three old images from our archive of now lost Synagogues in present-day Poland. All three were once in areas, which were part of Germany until 1945. All three were destroyed by the Nazis during the pogroms of November 1938.

synagog poland

The synagog in Gruenberg, Silesia, now, Zielona Gora, Lubuskie, Poland, c.1905. This Synagogue was burnt down on Crystal Night, the 10th November, 1938.

Information on and images of former synagogues in present-day Poland:
- A Synagogue in Bialsko-Biala.
- A Synagogue in Grajewo.
- A Synagogue in Katowice.
- The Old Synagogue in Krakow.
- The ‘New’ Synagogue in Poznan (Posen) in Greater Poland.
- The Synagogue in Wolsztyn.
- A Synagogue in Lodz.
- A Synagogue in Warsaw.
- The conversion of the Synagogue in Miedzryzecz.

polish synagogue

An early 1900s image of the synagogue in Koeslin, Pommern, now, Koszalin, Poland. It was built to the ground on Kristallnacht in November 1938.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- A little-known and relatively well preserved Jewish cemetery in Poland.

Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking in Poland

nordic walking

An information board advertising a Nordic Walking route in the west of Poland.

Nordic walking is that exercise that involves moving yourself along with the aid of two poles. Rather bizarrely over the last couple of years boards like the one in the photograph above and I suppose the Nordic Walking routes they advertise have sprouted up throughout Poland. I say bizarrely because I’ve only ever seen one or two people walking around in a Nordic Walking sort of way! One has to suppose that these Nordic Walking routes could perhaps be a good way of getting hold of some sort of European Union funding. This particular trail in Lubuskie, at least, seems to have been EU funded.

Comments as ever are more than welcome. Especially if you are a Nordic Walker or know of someone who is!

Shortage of Children in Poland

News from Poland

The New Child Benefit Program

polish child

With an average of just 1.3 children per woman, Poland currently has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. Because of this the shortage of children in Poland has been the subject of much debate and in the news a lot over recent years. In an effort to solve the problem the new PiS government plans to bring in a new child allowance where 500 zloties (120 Euros) per child will be given to families each month. Payment will be made only after the second child in each family. Meaning no child benefit will be paid to those families that only have one child. It is thought that this new welfare program will cost the Polish taxpayer around 20 Billion Zloties (5 billion Euros) per year. There is much discussion in the Polish media as to whether this program of child benefit is affordable and will actually result in encouraging women to have more children. Currently direct financial support for families in Poland is almost non-existent.

Independence Day in Poland

polands independence day

Today is a national holiday in Poland to mark Poland’s independence and restoration at the end of the First World War.

Independence Day is celebrated every year on the anniversary of the restoration of Poland’s sovereignty as the Second Polish Republic on the 11th November 1918. Shops, banks, and almost all businesses are closed. Flags are flown and street celebrations and marches take place throughout Poland.

More about Poland’s Independence Day on Polish Poland.

Radek Sikorski to work at Harvard

News from Poland

Radoslaw Sikorski to leave Poland

harvard university

Former foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski has been offered work as a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Oxford University educated minister did not put himself forward for re-election in the recent parliamentary general election, and will relocate to the US later this month. He will work at the Centre for European Studies giving lectures and seminars to students and faculty, and generally promote the centre and its academic research. Radoslaw is married with two children.

English in Poland

News from Poland

In a newly published survey Poland has come in 9th place out of 70 countries in terms of English as a foreign language proficiency!

english language in poland

Here are the top 12 countries:

1 – Sweden
2 – Netherlands / Holland
3 – Denmark
4 – Norway
5 – Finland
6 – Slovenia
7 – Estonia
8 – Luxembourg
9 – Poland
10 – Austria
11 – Germany
12 – Singapore

The lowest ranking European countries in terms of English (EFL / ESL) language skills were France and Russia.

The tests were conducted by Education First on almost a million adult users of English as a foreign / second language. In Poland, as was the case in nearly all countries surveyed, women were found to have stronger English skills than men.


PiS for Beginners


The Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (PiS) ‘Law and Justice’ party was founded in 2001 by the Kaczyński twins, Lech and Jarosław. It is currently led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, with both the President, Andrzej Duda, and the incoming Prime Minister, Beata Szydlo, being members of the party. Politically PiS is a curious blend of conservative right-wing social policies and left-wing economics. The party and membership is mildly Euro-sceptic and opposes the adoption of the euro currency. It is patriotic, pro-Catholic, and anti-immigration. It is also against gay marriage and abortion. They plan to introduce new taxes on banks and large supermarkets, such as Tesco, to fund more social welfare for the poor and a lower retirement age.

Related content on Polish Poland:
Information on the main opposition party – Platforma Obywatelska (PO) ‘Civic Platform’ party.

Election Result

News from Poland

The Election Result!

Jaroslaw Kaczynski

Jaroslaw Kaczynski on the cover of his book ‘Polska naszych marzen’ (The Poland of our Dreams).

After weeks of speculation the opinion polls have been proved right with the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party winning a majority in yesterday’s parliamentary election.

The broadly eurosceptic popularist party is presided over by the former-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, twin brother of late President Lech Kaczynski. The probable new Prime Minister will be Beata Szydlo.

Elections promises included: opposition to closer EU ties; a lowering of the state retirement age; higher tax on banks and supermarkets; and help for small business.