"The state, it cannot be too often repeated, does nothing and
can give nothing which it does not take from somebody."
William Graham Sumner, "The Forgotten Man"
ENCYCLOPAEDIA POLSKA RZECZPOSPOLITA
Part 1 - "Animal Life" - "Love"
by Richard Karsmakers and Risto Kowaczewski
This encyclopeadia of Polish things originally occurred in ST
NEWS Volume 8 Issue 2, in an attempt to break open the Polish ST
scene. It is offered her as part of the "ST NEWS reference
section", in the exact same form it originally had.
A little while ago I received a very nice letter from
aforementioned Risto "STRych" Kowaczewski, coder of the Polish
Team From The East (TFTE). In his letter he supplied me with a
lot of interesting concerning the Polish ST scene which, even
though it seems yet to be in its younger years, is a very
enthusiastic one. I decided to use the information he had sent
me, as well as some more information I requested from him, to
compile this rather extensive article, to give all you guys a
somewhat more in-depth look at a still rather unknown Eastern
Spiral Arm of the ST Galaxy - that of the Polish scene.
I decided to opt for the same approach as the "Encyclopaedia
Norwegica" (and its revised edition) because it's an easy and
simultaneously humorous approach at treating Poland, its ST
scene, its history, its culture and multiple other aspects of its
life and times.
Again I'd like to extend thanks to Risto for doing a lot of
field work: You're the best, man! Additional thanks go to one of
my English tutors, Mike Sharwood Smith, who by the fact that he's
married to a Polish woman provided some interesting additional
I'd like to apologize to all Polish readers of ST NEWS for my
lack of using Polish letters. Unfortunately I couldn't be
buggered to use "o" and "c" with accents on them, nor the "l"
with the little dash through it. Tough!
The following attempt at an Encyclopaedia Polska Rzeczpospolita
contains over 120 entries plus some 'in-focus' contributions at
= A =============================================================
ANIMAL LIFE: Poland belongs to the so-called European-West-
Siberian Zoogeographic province, itself part of the Palearctic
subregion. The vertebrate fauna includes almost 400 species,
including many types of mammals and more than 200 native birds.
ARMY OF DARKNESS: A young Polish demo group, consisting of two
members going by the name of Mr. Larry (coder) and Budrys I
(swapper). They are soon to release their first demo.
ARMY OF LOVERS: Distinctly strange pop group consisting of
transvestites and a female who really likes to emphasize the
dimensions of her teats. They have nothing whatsoever to do with
the »Army of Darkness.
ATARI: Nice computer. All types, including TT and Falcon, are
available in Poland. The shops to go to are "Atari System",
"Turbo" and "Oscar".
AUSCHWITZ: Polish Oswiecinm, also called Auschwitz-Birkenau,
Nazi Germany's largest concentration-and extermination camp,
located near the Polish town of Oswiecim in Galacia. Heinrich
Himmler initiated its first camp on April 27th 1940, and the
first arrival of Polish political prisoners happened on June
14th. Camp boss was Rudolf Franz Hoess, and Auschwitz was also
the camp where the infamous camp doctor Joseph Mengele conducted
the most ruthless experiments on people.
Between 1940 and 1950, an estimated 1,000,000 to 2,500,000
(though some claim even 4,000,000) people were murdered at the
three camps in Auschwitz. A black page in the history of Poland
and the world.
AUSTRIANS: One of many people who have at one time invaded
Poland. See also »Russians, »Germans, »Mongols, »Swedes, »French
= B =============================================================
BABIA GORA: Poland's second-highest mountain, 1725 metres in
height, part of the »Carpathian mountains on the southern border
BACKWARD: Something which the »Polish are not, even though in
many jokes (especially arising from England and the United
States) the Polish are generally regarded to be so anyway. In
English jokes, the Polish are what the Belgians are the the Dutch
and what the Ostfriesen are to the Germans.
BALOVSKI, JERZY: The Polish landlord (and friend) of The Young
BALTIC SEA: The sea that forms the natural northern border of
BOLESLAW: The family name of many early Polish kings, like
Boleslaw I the Brave (ruled 966/967 - 1025), Boleslaw II the Bold
or the Generous (ruled 1039 - 1081), Boleslaw III the Wry-Mouthed
(ruled 1085 - 1138) and Boleslaw IV the Curly. See »History.
BRZESZINSKI: US Secretary of State during the Jimmy Carter
period. He is one of the most famous modern Poles together with
Pope »John Paul II and Roman »Polanski.
= C =============================================================
CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS: A mountain range at the south border with
Czechoslovakia. The highest Polish mountain, »Rysy, is part of
CHECKERS, POLISH: Also called Polish Draughts. A specific kind
CHOPIN: Full name Frédéric-Francois Chopin (Polish Fryderyk
Franciszek Szopen), famous composer of »music in the romantic
period, born March 1st 1810 in Zelazowa Wola (near Warsaw) in
Poland. Died October 17th 1849 in Paris, France. He is best known
for his piano concerti and his solo pieces for the piano,
including 55 mazurkas, 13 polonaises, 24 preludes, 27 études, 19
nocturnes, 4 ballades and 4 scherzos. Together with »Copernicus,
Chopin is one of the icons of Poland, parallel to people like
Dickens and Shakespeare in England.
CINEMA: Although many Westerners are not aware of it (or may not
be), Poland has made some significant additions to western
culture by supplying some directors such as Adrzej Wajda,
Kieslowski (now famous for a film called "Bleu"), Agnieszka
Holland and, of course, Roman »Polanski.
CLIMATE: Poland lies at the centre air masses from the west,
cold Polar air masses from the north and east, and subtropical
air masses from the south. Six seasons may be distinguished in
Poland: A snowy winter of one to three months; an early spring of
one or two months (with alternatirely wintry and spring-like
conditions); a predominantly sunny spring; a warm summer with
plenty of rain and sunshine; a sunny, warm autumn; and a foggy,
humid period signifying the approach of winter.
Sunshine reaches its maximum over the »Baltic Sea in summer and
the »Carpathians in winter, and mean anual temperatures range
from 8 degrees Celcius in the southwestern lowlands to 6 degrees
Celcius in the colder northeast.
The annual average precipitation is about 600 mm, but in the
mountains this is more like 775 to 1175 mm dropping to about 450
mm in the central lowlands.
COPERNICUS: Full name Nicolaus Copernicus (in Latin), in German-
Prussian dialect Niklas Kooernigk, Polish Mikolaj Kopernik,
Polish astronomer noted as the proponent of the view of the earth
in a daily motion about its axis and in yearly motion around a
stationary sun, a hypothesis which had profound effects on the
science and philisophy of succeeding centuries. He was born
February 19th 1473 in Torun, Poland, and died May 24th 1543 in
Frauenberg, East Prussia (now Frombork, Poland). Together with
»Chopin, Copernicus is one of the icons of Poland parallel to
people like Dickens and Shakespeare in England.
CUISINE: See »Gastronomy.
CURRENCY: The Polish currency is the »Zloty. To give you an
indication of what you can do with this currency: A train ticket
around Poland costs around 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 zl (around DM
100 to 150), one bread costs 5000 zl (around DM 0.5), a bottle of
Vodka costs around 70,000 to 80,000 zl (around DM 7 to 8), one
polish car (brand »Polonez) sets you back about 180,000,000 zl
(around DM 18,000), and sending one disk plus letter in a regular
envelope requires a 5,000 zl stamp. The average salary per month
is approximately 3,000,000 zl (around DM 300), but more can be
earned if you work more. The Polish economy is reported to be
quite a miracle, with most of the previous black market now
having been legalized and people making more and more money.
= D =============================================================
DARKNESS, ARMY OF: See »Army of Darkness.
DEBT: The Polish public debt (external, outstanding) is around
US$ 34,747,000,000 (which is about as much as Nigeria, China and
Turkey - each separately, of course). This is a rough indication
of the Polish economy; the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the
United States, Germany and Norway for example having no debt.
DEMOGRAPHIC STATISTICS: Poland has an average of 122.4 persons
per square km, 38.4% of the population is rural (61.4% urban),
48.74% is male (51.26% female). Age breakdown: Under 15 25.3%,
15-29 21.0%, 30-44 23.9%, 45-59 15.1%, 60-74 10.6% and 75 and up
4.1%. The ethnic composition is 98.7% Polish, 0.6% Ukrainian and
0.7% other. Also see »Religion.
DIALECT: The Polish language has some distinctive dialects,
mostly associated to the old tribal divisions of Great Poland,
Little Poland, Pomerania and Mazovia.
DRAINAGE: A massive 99.7% of Poland drains to the Baltic Sea,
more than half via the river Vistula (Wisla) and a third via the
river Oder. Polish rivers have two periods of high water each
year - in spring and summer.
There are around 9,300 Polish lakes with areas of more than one
hectare, totalling to 3,200 square km. In the northern glacial
belt these lakes are concentrated most heavily, and occupy about
10% of the land there.
DRINKING: Apparently, the Polish think that other people (of
other nationalities) see them as habitual drunkards (a bit like
the Dutch who always like to think that other find them utterly
hospitable). Anyway, drinking is not particularly more rampant in
Poland than anywhere else. Just a small bit of trivia there. In
the original research manuscript sent this bit of information was
headed by the sentence "I really don't know what to write what
could make any sense, so I'll write something that does not".
Just for your information.
= E =============================================================
ECONOMY: See »Currency.
EDUCATION: Contrary to what common folktales would have you
believe, the Polish do have an educational system.
Almost all schools are ruled by the government, its education
department. This counts for about 90% of all schools. The
remaining 10% are usually private schools - these are ruled by
parents and teachers.
All schools are divided into levels. You can pick 1, 2 or 3
schools or levels to graduate on. The more schools you graduate
on, the better the job you may be able to get.
The first level is an 8-year public school. This is obligatory.
This school starts at the age of 7. The first three years are not
very hard - you just have to play around 3 to 4 hours each day
(with grades). The next 5 years are spent studying. Some days you
may have to spend as much as 8 or 9 hours at school on one day,
although of course there are breaks.
The grading system has 6 grades. Six is best, one is worst
(parallel to A-F in the United States, 1-10 in the UK (?) and 10-
1 in the Netherlands). You get grades throughout your time at
school. At the end of year they are averaged, though many
teachers don't like that and just give you a good grade when
you're a good student (zealous, proper, etc.). If you have one 1
among your grades you won't pass to next year's class.
The second level contains both a comprehensive school and a
general school preparing you for work. The first lasts 4 or 5
years, the latter only 3. Passing the final exam of the
comprehensive school will allow you to study at »University. The
general preparatory school just gives you a chance to get a non-
EMPLOYMENT: By the end of 1992, 15.4% of the Polish were
estimated to be without work.
EXCITABLE AND PASSIONATE: Something which the Poles are supposed
to be. Usually the Czechs are said to be the Slav equivalent of
the Germans, and the Poles are the Slav Italians. There is a
apocraphyl story going around about Poles charging German
invading Panzer divisions on horseback. This never happened but
gives you an idea.
= F =============================================================
FOOD: See »Gastronomy.
FRENCH: One of many people who have at one time invaded Poland.
See also »Russians, »Germans, »Mongols, »Swedes, »Austrians and
= G =============================================================
GASTRONOMY: Polish cuisine includes various soups, like Barcsz
(beetroot soup), pea soup, soup made from fermented bread (said
to be really delicious), Bigos (hunter's stew), duck and apples,
various chicken and pork dishes, etc. They also have various
kinds of dumplings (sweet and savoury) and potato pancakes.
Polish eber can be very good and the vodka is arguably the best
in the world. A Polish linguist has unearthed linguistic evidence
to show that »Vodka is a Polish invention, not a Russian one.
The Polish love eating and drinking and are very hospitable.
GERMANS: One of many people who have at one time invaded Poland.
See also »Russians, »Austrians, »Mongols, »Swedes, »French and
GIELDA: A place in Poland where one can get used or pirated
software (also see »Piracy).
GOVERNMENT: Poland has a unitary multiparty government with two
legislative houses - the Senate has 1,000 seats and the Diet has
460 chairs. The chief of state is a president, the head of
government a prime minister.
GRAF: Real name Adam Nakonienczny, 18 years old, graphics person
of high reknown in Poland. His address is ul. Ostrobramska 82/69,
04-163 Warszawa, Poland.
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT: The Polish GNP is US$ 172,770,000,000
(around US$ 4,560 per head).
= H =============================================================
HENRICIAN ARTICLES: Or, in Polish Artykuly Henrykowskie. This is
a statement of the rights and privileges of the Polish gentry
(szlachta) that all elected kings of Poland, beginning with Henry
of Valois (elected May 11th 1573), were obliged to confirm and
that severely limited the authority of the Polish monarchy. The
remained fundamental law until 1795.
HEY: A Polish rock band that has an album out called "Fire",
released in 1993. They might also be called "Hey Fire", actually,
with their album perhaps being self-titled. They have a female
singer called Katarzyna Nosowska, and their lyrics are
alternately in English and Polish. "Fire" (or "Hey Fire") is
actually a pretty good album, sortof a cross between Fear of God
(because of the vocals) and Iron Maiden (or something similar).
HISTORY: At first, Poland was inhabited by around 20 tribes, the
most important of which was the Polanic tribe. These formed small
states between 800 and 960. The »language »dialects can also be
traced back to that time, still following the rough pattern of
the old tribal divisions. Around 990 the first trading centres
with between 6,000 and 10,000 inhabitants occurred - Wolin
(Wollin) and Szczecin (Settin) at the mouth of the river Oder and
Truso (later Elblag) and Gdansk (Danzig) on the mouth of the
From 875 to 880, Poland and Silesia were governed by Great
Moravia, led by prince Svatopluk. Around this time, Christianity
was introduced by the "apostles of the slavs", Cyril and
Methodius. Between 896 and 907 the Magyars destroyed Great
Moravia so that the south of Poland was indepentent - until it
came under control of the Bohemian dukes Boleslav I and II.
Poland was at that time known as Little Poland (Malapolska).
Somewhere in the 10th century, the legendary "Piast" founded the
dynasty named after him. From circa 963 to 1025 the country (then
a larger area by the name of Great Poland or Wielkopolska) was
ruled by his descendants - Mieszko I and Boleslaw I the Brave.
Mieszko II Lambert, who ruled until 1034, attempted Polish
expansion but got beaten by Germany. Casimir I the Restorer
(ruled from 1039-1058) slowly restored Poland with help of the
German king (Henry III). Under further rulers, Boleslaw II the
Bold and Boleslaw III the Wry-Mouthed, Poland again expanded and
got divided. Things got really interested again when, in 1241 and
1242, the Mongols invaded the country led by Batu Khan. Further
attacks were sustained from Lithuanians and Jatvingians.
In 1295 the Kingdom of Poland was reestablished when Przemysl II
got coronated. However, he was assasinated in 1296. Wenceslas III
succeeded him from 1300-1305, but he assumed the Polish lands
were part of Bohemia. When both he and his son (Wenceslas III)
got murdered this left both the Polish and Bohemian thrones
After another few kings, some wars and some occupations by other
countries, another big dynasty started, the Jagiellon Dynasty
that lasted from 1382-1572. This marked elected monarchs, another
Mongol invasion, a higher level of education, and the
(I am going through this a bit quicker now, as you see)
The next period in Polish history is called the Royal Republic
and Vasa Dynasty, which lasted from 1572 to 1697. This was called
after some of the new rulers, like Sigismund III Vasa, Wladyslaw
IV Vasa and John II Casimir Vasa. In this period, Poland battled
successfully against Tsar Ivan IV, suffered from the Cossack
Revolt, had the Jesuits become important, and was invaded by
Up next was the Saxonian Era and the Russian Protectorate (1697-
1763). There was a Civil War, large population growth and there
was a lot of social, religious and political change.
Next came a period of reforms and partitions, initiated by
Catherina the Great of Russia. Prussians got control over foreign
trade, and Poland got partitioned (like a hard disk, but slightly
different). Poland was partitioned from 1795 to 1914. In 1812 and
in the period of 1815-1874, Poland was positively tiny, and there
were even period when Poland was »Nothing at All. However, the
period of partition also saw the liberation of the peasants and
mass migration to Germany.
The Second Republic was found between 1914 and 1921. The
Blosheviks tried to revolutionize Poland but the Red Army got
beaten at the river Vistula from August 16th to 28th 1920.
Quickly we leap through World War II. There were massacres and
senseless battles instigated by the dude with the toothbrush
moustache. All that needs to be mentioned here is that 1 out of
every 6 planes shot down during the Battle of Britian were shot
down by Poles who had fled to the UK to join the free Polish
section of the RAF. Incidentally, most occupied countries had
their own SS divisions, but not so in Poland. After World War II,
Poland was a communist country. In 1948 the PUWP (Polish United
Workers' Party, in Polish PZPR or Polska Zjednoczona Partia
Robotnicza) was founded. This was not at all a party for the
workers, rather something like the Russian Communist Party. A bit
later, Poland entered the bit of history that many of us are
aware of. There were strikes in 1980, in 1978 a Polish Pope got
elected, in 1981 there was Martial Law, and in 1990 the PUWP
disbanded and »Walesa became president.
= I =============================================================
INCOME: See »Currency.
ILLUSIONS: A Polish group that is young, promising and highly
active. In 1991 they started their own disk magazine, »"Magnum".
It was the first real Polish disk magazine (i.e. smoothly coded,
cool graphics). They released four issues and then ceased doing
it due to school obligations. A few months later the group broke
up, because their coder was said to be lacking time. Two former
members, RFR and Nemesis, decided to revive the group with four
new members and started doing the "Shockware" megademo. This demo
will be very interesting because it will look like many Amiga-
style demos (minigame menu, no parts to choose, everything runs
automatically). At the moment, Illusions consist of NOP (coder),
Biker (coder), RFR (musician), Supleon (musician), Nemesis
(graphics and swapper) and Hektor (swapper). Illusions may be
contacted at Wojciech Pilszak, ul. Bokowska 16/25, 32-050
= J =============================================================
JAGIELLON: The name of the second Polish dynasty, 1382-1572. See
JOHN PAUL II, POPE: The current pope, who is actually Polish.
His original name is Karol Wojtyla, born May 18th 1920 at
Wadowice, Poland, and not dead yet. He became pope in 1978, the
first non-Italian pope in 456 years. He was the one that, in
1989, admitted that Galileo was right (in other words, that the
sun was the centre of our solar system, and not the earth).
= K =============================================================
KOWACZEWSKI, RISTO: Main researcher of this column and member of
»Team From The East. Coding name STRych, is a coder, 20 years,
and studies economy at Wroclaw University. Lives at »Zgorzelec.
Address: Ul. Reymonta 20c, 59-900 Zgorzelec, Poland.
= L =============================================================
LAND USE: Of Poland, 28.7% is covered with forests, 13.3% with
meadows, 48.5% is used for agriculture, and 9.5% is occupied by
the rest (like cities).
LANGUAGE: The official language of Poland is (remarkably)
Polish. This is a West-Slavic language (to which also Czech,
Kashubian, Slovak and Sorbian belong), family Lekhitic, subfamily
Polish. It has seven cases: nominative, genitive, dative,
accusative, locative, instrumental and vocative. That's a lot.
Following are some hints at how to talk with the Polish. First
of all you've got to listen carefully to what they say, as most
Polish words are written in a totally different way from the way
they're pronounced (unlike Skandinavian, and quite like English).
Unfortunately, all Polish disk magazines seem only to use this
See also »Dialect.
Some common phrases (in not much of a particular order) you
might want to try when visiting:
Dzien dobry Good morning
Czesc Hi, hello, how are you, bye
Do zobaczenia or do widzenia See you
Jak dojsc do dworca PKP? How can I get to railway
Spadaj pijaku Get lost you drunken skunk
Jestem czlonkiem grupy .... I'm a member of (name of the
Wypuscie mnie! Let me out of here!
Gdzie moge kupic butelke czystej Where can I get a bottle of
Gdzie jest granica? Where is the border?
Mowisz po angielsku? Do you speak English?
Czy jestem juz w Polsce? Am I in Poland now?
Zadzwoncie po policje Call the police!
Co do kurwy nedzy? What the hell is going on?
Mama Mummy (the maternal kind)
Jestem z Holandi I'm from the Netherlands
Calkiem ladna dziewczyna Pretty girl
Dysk Disk (the floppy kind)
To, tamto This, that
Nie ma There isn't any, he isn't
here, thery aren't here, etc.
Nie ma problemu No problem
LITERATURE: Although it took a long time for Polish literature
to start actually getting written in Polish instead of Latin,
Poland does have a history of literature. The golden age of
Polish literature was the Renaissance. In the beginning it all
consisted of translations of biblical stuff. Some of the
(humanist) writers of this time were Jan Dantyszek, Andrzej
Krzycki, Klemens Janicki and Jan Kochanowski. This was all in and
around the 16th century.
After the Renaissance, the Baroque Period arrived in Poland,
around 1570. Polish literature was very prolific at the time,
including poetry by Mikolaj Sep Szarzynski and the occurrence of
true Polish epics by Piotr Kochanowski, Waclaw Potocki and
Next came the Enlightenment, formed due to close contacts with
France and England. Polish prose of this time was invaded by
didacticism, and the first drama efforts happened by the hands of
people like Franciszek Boholomec, Wojciech Boguslawski and
Franciszek Zablocki. In 1797, when Poland was once more divided,
Jozef Wybicki wrote the national anthem (adopted in 1918 when
Poland became independent again) called "Mazurek Dabrowskiego").
We enter the 19th century with the period of pseudoclassicism,
which was a tad boring. The romantic livened things up a bit. The
romantic period started relatively late but laster longer than in
other countries. The three most famous romantic poets were Adam
Mickiewicz, Juliusz Slowacki and Zygmunt Krasinski, although they
write in exile. Among those not in exile, prose was more dominant
- people like Henryk Rzewuski and Jozef Korzeniowski. There was
even a woman novelist, Narcyza Zmichowska. The most dominant of
prose writers was the abudantly prolific writer Jozef Ignacy
Positivism was next. One of the most famous positivist writers
was Henryk Sienkiewics, who got the nobel prize for literature in
1905. In 1898 he wrote the famous book »"Quo Vadis?", which got
translated in multiple languages and made into a film. There were
two important positivist poets, Adam Asnyk adn Maria Konopnicka.
The 20th century set off with the "Young Poland" movement,
opposed to positivism (is that...er...negativism?). Some
important writers of this movement were Kazimierz Tetmajer, Jozef
Weyssenhoff and the genius artist and dramatist Stanislaw
Wyspianski. After the restoration of Poland (in 1918) Polish
literature got more foreign influences, and the Skamander group
of poets arose. Some important members of this group were Julian
Tuwin, Jan Lechon, Kazimierz Wierzynski, Antoni Slonimski and
Further literary periods in this century include catastrophism
and, of course, the inevitable Socialist Realism (which is
probably a euphemism for "socialist propaganda" or something).
LOVE: Yes, the Polish do love, too. As a matter of fact Risto
compiled a short list of people that the Polish in general seem
to love a lot (or at least like a lot), including some which they
don't particularly. They love people from France, America, Italy,
England (what about the Netherlands?!) and the rest of Europe
(well, that'll just have to do), with the exception of Germans,
Russians, Rumanians and Bulgarians. So there.
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.