Tom lived in western Poland in an area that had been part of Germany until the end of World War 2. He describes how his grandmother settled in this area and the strangeness of taking over formerly German houses and apartments.
Tom’s grandfather on his mother’s side was a Communist activist who worked for the Polish security services which created some tension as Tom’s father dodged the draft into the Polish Army.
Tom describes his childhood in some detail, highlighting the contrasts of life in Cold War Poland versus some of the Warsaw Pact countries such as how the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church managed to co-exist with the Communist government.
He is 11 years old when the free trade union Solidarity is made illegal and martial law is declared by the Polish Communist authorities. Tom describes how life changes under martial law and the suppression of Solidarity demonstrations.
We end with the poignant story of his Grandmother’s experiences as a forced labourer in Germany during World War 2.
0:00 Introduction and background of Tom's family history in Cold War Poland
9:06 Tom's family members and their roles during the Cold War
20:38 Tom's parents' professions and their impact on his upbringing
26:15 Living conditions in the 70s in Poland and Tom's school life experiences
41:56 The role of the Scouts movement and the state in shaping youth ideology
48:59 Declaration of martial law and its immediate impact
1:02:19 Witnessing solidarity demonstrations and restrictions on travel
1:11:39 Visit to Dresden and grandmother's experience as a forced laborer
1:22:00 Communicating with the locals in Dresden and Grandma's vivid recount
1:24:15 Podcast extras and thanking financial supporters
1:24:43 Closing remarks and teaser for next week's episode
Extra episode information https://coldwarconversations.com/episode304
The fight to preserve Cold War history continues and via a simple monthly donation, you will give me the ammunition to continue to preserve Cold War history. You’ll become part of our community, get ad-free episodes, and get a sought-after CWC coaster as a thank you and you’ll bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history.
Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/
If a monthly contribution is not your cup of tea, We also welcome one-off donations via the same link.
Find the ideal gift for the Cold War enthusiast in your life! Just go to https://coldwarconversations.com/store/
Support the project! https://coldwarconversations.com/donate/
Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/ColdWarPod
Love history? Join Intohistory on this link Cold War Conversations – Into History
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In 1966 most of Bridget’s friends, in their early twenties, were settling down with jobs and/or husbands…
She, on the other hand, set off alone to travel across Poland relying on the kindness of strangers. Fascinated by what she experienced she continued to wander the highways and byways of,...
The Jordan Harbinger Show is an award winning podcast with some fascinating recent episodes. I hope you give it a listen.
Many of Tim’s family had served in WW1 and WW2 and from a young age, he was determined to follow their path.
Overcoming huge competition for places he became a driver of the Leopard AS1 MBT at 1st Armoured Regiment of the Australian Army.
Australia is largely ignored in most Cold War histories,...