Topic: Poland

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🔗 2022 Oder Environmental Disaster

🔗 International relations 🔗 Germany 🔗 Disaster management 🔗 Poland 🔗 Current events 🔗 Rivers

The 2022 Oder environmental disaster is a mass die-off of fish, beavers and other wildlife in the Oder river in Poland and Germany, causing a health and environmental crisis in large parts of the country and subsequently a political scandal.

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🔗 Scottish Café

🔗 Mathematics 🔗 Books 🔗 Food and drink 🔗 Poland 🔗 Food and drink/Foodservice 🔗 Ukraine

The Scottish Café (Polish: Kawiarnia Szkocka) was a café in Lwów, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) where, in the 1930s and 1940s, mathematicians from the Lwów School of Mathematics collaboratively discussed research problems, particularly in functional analysis and topology.

Stanislaw Ulam recounts that the tables of the café had marble tops, so they could write in pencil, directly on the table, during their discussions. To keep the results from being lost, and after becoming annoyed with their writing directly on the table tops, Stefan Banach's wife provided the mathematicians with a large notebook, which was used for writing the problems and answers and eventually became known as the Scottish Book. The book—a collection of solved, unsolved, and even probably unsolvable problems—could be borrowed by any of the guests of the café. Solving any of the problems was rewarded with prizes, with the most difficult and challenging problems having expensive prizes (during the Great Depression and on the eve of World War II), such as a bottle of fine brandy.

For problem 153, which was later recognized as being closely related to Stefan Banach's "basis problem", Stanisław Mazur offered the prize of a live goose. This problem was solved only in 1972 by Per Enflo, who was presented with the live goose in a ceremony that was broadcast throughout Poland.

The café building now houses the Szkocka Restaurant & Bar (named for the original Scottish Café) and the Atlas Deluxe hotel at the street address of 27 Taras Shevchenko Prospekt.

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🔗 Stańczyk

🔗 Biography 🔗 Comedy 🔗 Poland

Stańczyk (c. 1480–1560) (Polish pronunciation: [ˈstaɲt͡ʂɨk]) was a Polish court jester, the most famous in Polish history. He was employed by three Polish kings: Alexander, Sigismund the Old and Sigismund Augustus.

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🔗 Drzymała's wagon

🔗 Germany 🔗 Architecture 🔗 Poland

Drzymała's wagon (Polish: wóz Drzymały) was a house on wheels built by Michał Drzymała as a protest against Imperial Germany's policy of Germanization in its Polish territories. Its owner, the peasant Michał Drzymała (1857-1937), was not only able to circumvent German building regulations by moving his home every day, but with his wagon-home became a Polish folk hero during the Partitions of Poland.

In 1886, by resolution of the Prussian Landtag, a Settlement Commission had been established to encourage German settlement in the Province of Posen and West Prussia. The Commission was empowered to purchase vacant property of the Polish szlachta and sell it to approved German applicants. The Prussian government regarded this as a measure designed to counteract the German "Flight from the East" (Ostflucht) and reduce the number of Poles, who were migrating to the area in hundreds of thousands looking for work. In Polish eyes, the establishment of the Commission was an aggressive measure designed to drive Poles from their lands.

While the campaign against Polish landownership largely missed its aims, it produced a strong opposition with its own hero, Drzymała. In 1904 he purchased a plot of land in Pogradowitz in the Posen district of Bomst, but found that the newly implemented Prussian Feuerstättengesetz ("furnace law") enabled local officials to deny him as a Pole the permission to build a permanent dwelling with an oven on his land. The law considered any place of stay a house if it stayed in one place for more than 24 hours. To get around the rule, he set himself up in a former circus caravan and for several years tenaciously defied in the courts all attempts to remove him. Each day, Drzymała moved the wagon a short distance, thereby exploiting the loophole and avoiding any legal penalties, until in 1909 he was able to buy an existent farmhouse nearby.

The case attracted publicity all over Germany. The German Kulturkampf measures and the Colonization Commission ultimately succeeded in stimulating the Polish national sentiment that they had been designed to suppress.

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🔗 Pilecki's Report

🔗 Military history 🔗 Poland 🔗 Hungary 🔗 Military history/World War II 🔗 Jewish history 🔗 European history 🔗 Military history/Polish military history 🔗 Military history/European military history

Witold's Report, also known as Pilecki's Report, is a report about the Auschwitz concentration camp written in 1943 by Witold Pilecki, a Polish military officer and agent of the Polish resistance. Pilecki volunteered in 1940 to be imprisoned in Auschwitz to organize a resistance movement and send out information about it. His was the first comprehensive record of a Holocaust death camp to be obtained by the Allies. He escaped from the camp in April 1943.

The report includes details about the gas chambers, "Selektion" and the sterilization experiments. It states that there were three crematoria in Auschwitz II able to cremate 8000 people daily.

Pilecki's Report preceded and complemented the Auschwitz Protocols, compiled from late 1943, which warned about the mass murder and other atrocities taking place inside the camp. The latter consists of the Polish Major's Report by Jerzy Tabeau, who escaped with Roman Cieliczko on 19 November 1943 and compiled a report between December 1943 and January 1944; the Vrba-Wetzler report; and the Rosin-Mordowicz report.

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🔗 Stanisław Lem

🔗 Biography 🔗 Science Fiction 🔗 Literature 🔗 Poland 🔗 Biography/arts and entertainment

Stanisław Herman Lem (Polish: [staˈɲiswaf ˈlɛm] (listen); 12 or 13 September 1921 – 27 March 2006) was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy, and satire. Lem's books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 45 million copies. From the 1950s to 2000s, he published many books, both science fiction and philosophical/futurological. Worldwide, he is best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has been made into a feature film three times. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon wrote that Lem was the most widely read science fiction writer in the world. The total print of Lem's books is over 30 million copies.

Lem's works explore philosophical themes through speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of communication with and understanding of alien intelligence, despair about human limitations, and humanity's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books.

Translating his works is difficult due to passages with elaborate word formation, idiomatic wordplay, alien or robotic poetry, and puns.

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🔗 Bomba (Cryptography)

🔗 Computing 🔗 Military history 🔗 Military history/Military science, technology, and theory 🔗 Cryptography 🔗 Cryptography/Computer science 🔗 Poland 🔗 Computing/Early computers

The bomba, or bomba kryptologiczna (Polish for "bomb" or "cryptologic bomb"), was a special-purpose machine designed around October 1938 by Polish Cipher Bureau cryptologist Marian Rejewski to break German Enigma-machine ciphers.

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🔗 The Scottish Book

🔗 Books 🔗 Poland

The Scottish Book (Polish: Księga Szkocka) was a thick notebook used by mathematicians of the Lwów School of Mathematics in Poland for jotting down problems meant to be solved. The notebook was named after the "Scottish Café" where it was kept.

Originally, the mathematicians who gathered at the cafe would write down the problems and equations directly on the cafe's marble table tops, but these would be erased at the end of each day, and so the record of the preceding discussions would be lost. The idea for the book was most likely originally suggested by Stefan Banach, or his wife, Łucja, who purchased a large notebook and left it with the proprietor of the cafe.

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🔗 Zygalski Sheets

🔗 Cryptography 🔗 Cryptography/Computer science 🔗 Poland

The method of Zygalski sheets was a cryptologic technique used by the Polish Cipher Bureau before and during World War II, and during the war also by British cryptologists at Bletchley Park, to decrypt messages enciphered on German Enigma machines.

The Zygalski-sheet apparatus takes its name from Polish Cipher Bureau mathematician–cryptologist Henryk Zygalski, who invented it about October 1938.

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🔗 Wills of Tadeusz Kościuszko

🔗 United States 🔗 Law 🔗 Poland

Tadeusz Kościuszko (1746–1817), a prominent figure in the history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the American Revolution, made several wills, notably one in 1798 stipulating that the proceeds of his American estate be spent on freeing and educating African-American slaves, including those of his friend Thomas Jefferson, whom he named as the will's executor. Jefferson refused the executorship and the will was beset by legal complications, including the discovery of later wills. Jefferson's refusal incited discussion in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Kościuszko returned to Europe in 1798 and lived there until his 1817 death in Switzerland. In the 1850s, what was left of the money in Kościuszko's U.S. trust was turned over by the U.S. Supreme Court to his heirs in Europe.

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