Eva, our most excellent Polish guide, who is the queen of hospitality, took us to the local Krakow mall, where we divided into two teams, mostly boys (with the exception of Mrs. Bauman) vs. the girls. The boys (even with Mrs. Bauman) dominated the girls, although Libby and Becca were extremely impressive bowlers. We had a taste of home, with lunch in the mall at McDonald’s, and a brief walk through the mall.
From there, Eva took us to her home in the outskirts of the city. What a beautiful, lovely home! She had snacks for us in her garden of fruit trees and lilac bushes, with lovely pansies growing in the window boxes on the patio and porch. Eva owns the movie, “Katyn,” an Academy Award nominated film this year for Best Foreign Film, which was filmed in Polish, with English subtitles. We made ourselves comfortable in her living room and watched the movie together on her big-screen TV. As we settled in, Eva told us that this is what she remembers from her college days–her professors would invite students to their homes to watch films that they wouldn’t have been allowed to watch at the university, under communism.
From this film, we learned more of the history of the Katyn massacre, through the storyline of Polish officers and their families. The film chronicles how the Polish soldiers were arrested and imprisoned by the Russians in late 1939. It follows their lives until the massacre in April of 1940, and through the end of the war into the post-war, communist Poland, when the Russians forced Poles to believe their propaganda that the atrocities were committed by the Nazis, not the Russians. After the film, Eva and her husband told us that when they were growing up, they were aware of the truth about Katyn, but were forbidden to talk about it. We highly recommend renting the film to learn more about it. What a wonderful experience, to be here in this historical city, watching a film at our Polish friends’ house, and to see in the film the sights that we have been seeing throughout our stay in Krakow. How surreal.