July 15, 2012


Great men and women throughout history are remembered for their magnificent oratory, probably much more so than for their valiant, or infamous deeds. Quotations have always captured our attention and fascination. They exquisitely encapsulate in a few words the scope of human understanding, thoughts and ideas and is a skill that is almost tantamount to wizardry. Who among us does not instantly recognize the following quotations, words which will endure for posterity.  Neither shall we forget their names for they have been written into our collective consciousness.

We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills: we shall never surrender.

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace.

Be not afraid.

These are inspiring words but there remain a treasure chest of many other great quotations which have yet to capture our attention. The following are a collection of Polish quotations which I have gathered laboriously from countless sources, from famous writers, musicians, and film makers. I would have included many more, but unfortunately many quotes have not been translated to English. These quotations serve to inspire, amaze, educate, liberate, and sometimes, even amuse. The best quotations, I believe, are those which captured the sentiments of a nation in one moment of history, and thus preserved it for all time. Quotations are the signposts of our society - the good ones inspire us to become better than ourselves, while the bad ones alert us to danger, or alas, lead us astray. In any event quotations invite us to delve deeper to explore its meaning, and to understand its past. That is the mission.

Marshal Jozef Pilsudski - Famous Polish Quotation

To be defeated and not submit, is victory;
to be victorious and rest on one's laurels, is defeat.
Jozef Pilsudski

Leopold Okulicki - Famous Polish Quotation

 In comparison with the NKVD,
the Gestapo methods
are child's play.  
 Leopold Okulicki

Irena Sendler - Famous Polish Quotation

Every child saved with my help and the help of all the wonderful secret messengers, who today are no longer living, is the justification of my existence on this earth, and not a title to glory.          Irena Sendler

Karol Wojtyla - Pope John Paul II - Famous Polish Quotation

Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
  Pope John Paul II

I belong to a nation which over the past centuries has experienced many hardships and reverses. The world reacted with silence or with mere sympathy when Polish frontiers were crossed by invading armies and the sovereign state had to succumb to brutal force.
 Lech Walesa


Zbigniew BrzezinskiBut if Russia is to be part of this larger zone of peace it cannot bring into it its imperial baggage. It cannot bring into it a policy of genocide against the Chechens, and cannot kill journalists, and it cannot repress the mass media.       Zbigniew Brzezinski

Polish General Kazimierz Sosnkowski Warsaw is not waiting for empty words of praise, for expressions of recognition, not for assurances of sympathy. Warsaw is waiting … Warsaw is waiting … for weapons and ammunition.  
  General Kazimierz Sosnkowski

Polish General Stanislaw Maczek

Polish soldiers fight 
for freedom
of other nations 
but dies only
 for Poland. 
General Stanislaw Maczek 

Comrades, I took the red tram of socialism to the stop named Independence, but that's where I got off.
Jozef Pilsudski

This homage has been rendered not to me - for the Polish soil is fertile and does not lack better writers than me - but to the Polish achievement, the Polish genius.         
Henryk Sienkiewicz 


Marek Belka - Famous Polish QuotationThe Holocaust committed by the Nazis turned this country, where most of the European Jews used to live and where their culture used to flourish, into a massive grave. This is why initiatives to revive Jewish culture in Poland is so important.
  Marek Belka


Ludzi coraz więcej, a człowieka coraz mniej -  

There is more and more people in the world, but less and less humanity.
          Edward Stachura


It has been said that Poland is dead, exhausted, enslaved, but here is the proof of her life and triumph. 
 Henryk Sienkiewicz

Bronislaw Geremek

It is often said that Poland is a country where there is anti-semitism and no Jews, which is pathology in its purest state.  Bronislaw Geremek

May God permit us both
to return to a free 
and independent
General Wladyslaw Anders

Jan Karski - Famous Polish Quotations

But I am a Christian Jew. I am a practicing Catholic. Although I am not a heretic, still my faith tells me the second original sin has been committed by humanity: through commission, or omission, or self-imposed ignorance, or insensitivity, or self-interest, or hypocrisy, or heartless rationalization....This sin will haunt humanity to the end of time. It does haunt me. And I want it to be so.      Jan Karski 

My most ardent desire is that my country will recapture its historic opportunity for a peaceful evolution and that Poland will prove to the world that even the most complex situations can be solved by a dialogue and not by force.    Lech Walesa

Witold Pilecki - Famous Polish Quotations 
During the first 3 years
at Auschwitz, 
2 million people died; 
over the next 2 years -
3 million.   Witold Pilecki

President Aleksander Kwasniewski 

So I think that I can say, as the President of Poland, we're proud that I am coming from Poland, which is different and what's more important, much better than before. President Aleksander Kwasniewski

There is a fundamental difference between the Polish experience of the state and the Russian experience.  In the Polish experience, the state was always a foreign power. So, to hate the state was a patriotic act.    Ryszard Kapuscinski

Richard Edgar Pipes - Famous Polish Quotations

[Lenin was] merely a psychopath to whom ideas barely mattered and whose only motivation is to dominate and to kill.        Richard  Edgar Pipes 

Copernicus portrait - Famous Polish Quotation
To know that we know what we know, and to know that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.  Copernicus 

Stanislaw Jerzy Lec - Famous Polish Quotation

The weakest link in the chain is also the strongest. It can break the chain.  Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Adam Michnik - Famous Polish Quotation

Poland is an ally of the United States of America.  It was our duty to show that we are a reliable, loyal and predictable ally.  America needed our help, and we had to give it.  Adam Michnik

Andrzej Wajda - Famous Polish Quotation 
We expected that people were just waiting for the collapse of the Soviet Union, or at least for its retreat, and they were going to be full of initiative in all areas of life - in culture, in economy and in politics.  Andrzej Wajda

Jozef Wadecki - Famous Polish Quotation

I did the following routine during practice:
round off, whip, whip, whip, whip, whip, flip, double back straight 
with four twists.
Jozef Wadecki

Radek Sikorski - Foreign Minister- Poland - Famous Polish Quotation

When the world is shifting and new competitors arise, standing still is not sufficient. Institutions and procedures that have worked in the past are not enough. Incremental change is not enough. You have to adapt fast enough even to retain your position.  
Mr. Radek Sikorski (Foreign Minister of Poland)

In a democracy, one does not know what the next government will be like. Under fascism there is no next government.    
        Michal Kalecki


It is not so important what I did or how I did it but what is between the notes. That is what matters.  Pope John Paul II said at the beatification of Fra Angelico, "his belief became art, which in turn became faith. The art became a prayer.  You don't have to have a strong belief to make religious art but art and faith follow similar paths.     Henryk Gorecki


All the common people kissed my hands, my feet, my clothes; others only touched me, saying, 'Ah, let us kiss so valiant a hand!

King John III Sobieski (an excerpt from a letter written to his wife, after victory in the Battle of Vienna)

Joseph Conrad  - Famous Polish Quotation

He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word.  The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.     Joseph Conrad


The difference between western and eastern intellectuals is that the former have not been kicked in the ass enough.   Witold Gombrowicz

The Pole listening to Chopin listens to the voice of his whole race.   Ignace Paderewski

All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.  Marie Sklodowska (Curie)

Normal love isn't interesting. I assure you that it's incredibly boring.   
Roman Polanski

There are no miracles. There is only what one does oneself,"   Read more at Suite101: Tamara de Lempicka - The Life of an Artist | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/tamara-de-lempicka-the-life-of-an-artist-a346971#ixzz20dUCjuA4 

There are no miracles.
There is only what one does oneself.
Tamara de Lempicka


I am the master! I stretch forth my hands, even to the skies! I lay my hands upon the stars, as on the crystal wheels of the harmonica. Now fast, now slow, as my soul wills, I turn the stars. I weave them into rainbows, harmonies. I feel immortality! I create immortality!  
             Adam Mickiewicz

Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont - Famous Polish Quotation 
It is only our exactions of life that are terrible. It is only our impossible conceptions of beauty and good and justice that are terrible--because they never are realized, and at the same time they prevent us taking life as it is. That is the real source of all our sorrow and suffering.  
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont

We have to oppose the widespread view that if the Russians are provoking us, we shouldn`t react because that could be perceived as a confirmation of Poland`s alleged Russophobia.  Let`s remember that Russia is not only provoking us but also checking how far it can go.  Recently, it went definitely too far.  We must react when we have to do with obvious nonsense, like the Russian foreign ministry`s recent statement that Yalta resulted in a strong, free, and democratic Poland.  President Lech Kaczynski

Polish President Lech Kaczynski - Famous Polish Quotation
President Lech Kaczynski
December 23, 2005 to April 10, 2010

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