December 3, 2018




Great Polish Writer: Joseph Conrad was born on December 3, 1857.  He was a Polish-British writer regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. He joined the British merchant marine in 1878, and was granted British nationality in 1886. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature. Many of his stories and novels had a nautical setting, that depicted trials of the human spirit in the midst of an impassive, inscrutable universe.  Conrad is considered an early modernist, though his works still contain elements of 19th-century realism. His narrative style and anti-heroic characters have influenced many authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald,  William Faulkner,  Ernest Hemingway, André Malraux,  George Orwell,  Graham Greene, Gabriel García Márquez, John le Carré, V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, and Salman Rushdie. Many films have been adapted from, or inspired by, Conrad's works.  When Conrad departed from Poland,  it seemed that he wanted to break once and for all with his Polish past. But in a letter dated August 14, 1883 to a family friend, Stefan Buszczyński,  he wrote, "......I always remember what you said when I was leaving [Kraków]: "Remember"–you said–"wherever you may sail, you are sailing towards Poland!"   That I have never forgotten, and never will forget!......"


Nazi Ayrianization Law.  On December 3, 1938 Nazi Germany froze the value of Jewish property at the lowest level. Though they permitted the sale of personal valuables and jewels, it could only be sold through state offices. The systematic impoverishment of the Jewish population made it impossible for the Jews to emigrate, eventually making them the victims of the Final Solution.  Before Hitler came to power Jews owned 100,000 businesses in Germany. By 1938 many of the Jews were forced out of business due to Nazi boycotts, intimidation, violence, vandalism, threats, forced sales and restrictions on professions. According to a report by Yad Vashem, "Of the 50,000 Jewish-owned stores that existed in 1933, only 9,000 remained in 1938.  ( After the war, the Federal Republic of Germany paid restitution for the material losses.)


"Orchestrated Hell"  On December 3, 1943, Edward R. Murrow, a renowned American broadcaster and foreign correspondent,  delivered his classic "Orchestrated Hell" broadcast over CBS Radio, in which he described a Royal Air Force nighttime bombing raid on Berlin. The night before, Murrow was given clearance to ride aboard the Lancaster bomber D for Dog.   Murrow commented at the close of his report that,  "......Berlin was a kind of orchestrated hell -- a terrible symphony of light and flame. It isn't a pleasant kind of warfare. The men doing it speak of it as a job. Yesterday afternoon, when the tapes were stretched out on the big map all the way to Berlin and back again, a young pilot with old eyes said to me, "I see we're working again tonight." That's the frame of mind in which the job is being done. The job isn't pleasant; it's terribly tiring. Men die in the sky while others are roasted alive in their cellars. Berlin last night wasn't a pretty sight. In about thirty-five minutes it was hit with about three times the amount of stuff that ever came down on London in a night-long blitz. This is a calculated, remorseless campaign of destruction........"

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