University of Maryland--College Park
When I Was Growing Up in Poland, We Didn’t Have “Dynasty” or Donna Summer, But We Did Have Health Insurance
I grew up in communist Poland, and I knew few people who didn’t dream of leaving. I was one of them, and I emigrated as soon as the ban on traveling to the West was lifted. The place we all wanted to live was the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. There were many reasons why America was the best, and after living here for a quarter of a century, I still remember some of them.
The first was red socks. I reca...
How does a scholarly boy from an affluent Egyptian family grow up to be a terrorist? Danuta Hinc’s new novel, To Kill the Other, imagines the story of the gradual radicalization of a young man in the years leading up to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Through his travels in Egypt, Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the young man, Taher, is molded by the people he meets and the things he sees, experiences which lead him down the dark path to his own destruction. Danuta Hinc spoke with Signal producer Lisa Morgan about her journey inside the mind of a killer. ~ Aaron Henkin, 88.1 FM Your NPR News Station
We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen—because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts; because so many others stood silent. But let us also tell our children about the Righteous among the Nations. Among them was Jan Karski—a young Polish Catholic—who witnessed Jews being put on cattle cars, who saw the killings, and who told the truth, all the way to President Roosevelt himself.
President Barack Obama, announcing Jan Karski’s posthumous Presidential M...
The year I was eligible to vote for the first time, I announced to my parents that I would tell the communist officials at the voting place that I know it is all a sham. This is what eighteen-year-olds do, they announce their bravery, while the elders look at them with fear and pride. When I left the house that day, I carried myself with certainty and resolve suitable for someone who was about to change the world.
Everyone knew that elections in communist Poland were elections in name only, b...
In first grade, at seven years of age, I started catechism classes like everyone else in my school. A part of me was excited about it, and a part of me was scared. Today I know that the part of me that was scared was precisely responsible for my excitement, kind of like when we watch horror movies.
Let’s start from the beginning. It happened in the 70s, in communist Poland. Catechism classes were held in a presbytery next to the Catholic Parish of the Assumption of the Bless...
Growing up in communist Poland, in a family opposed to the regime, was like watching and discussing open wounds with the understanding that nothing could be changed, but that opposition was necessary.
The liar’s punishment is,
not in the least that he is not believed,
but that he cannot believe anyone else.
–George Bernard Shaw
With our red carnations pointed to the ground, in jackets turned back to front, we walked in silence in front of the tribune, looking straight ahead—with pride of accomplishing the protest, and in fear of the consequences that would surely follow.
Danuta Hinc is the author of the novel, To Kill the Other. Her fiction and essays have appeared in The Little Patuxent Review, The Muse, Litteraria, The Word Riot, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Barry Hannah Merit Scholarship in Fiction from Bennington College. She lives in Ellicott City, MD, and teaches at the University of Maryland.
Language and finding the place of belonging most « ...