Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Polish Foreign Minister swindled in internet auction by fellow Pole

The Foreign Ministry purchased a fake Order of the White Eagle medal off of the internet for 6,000 USD.

According to Dziennik, what is thought to be an original medallion from the 1800’s, is actually a twentieth century copy. Specialists claim it was a medal awarded to Ignacy Jan Paderewski for services in the U.S. between 1905 and 1929, not an older medal from the 1800’s as originally claimed by the Foreign Ministry.

Dziennik reports that collectors think the Ministry got swindled. Historians claim it is impossible to be certain without any sort of original certification from Paderweski accompanying the medallion. The paper claims that it is certainly not worth $6,000, but rather only a maximum sum of $4,000.

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski approved the purchase, bought in an internet auction from a Pole living in North America.

On the eve of Independence Day celebrations, the conservative daily Nasz Dziennik is appealing on behalf of war veterans who have fought for Poland’s independence to take into consideration their issues as parliament reviews the retirement laws. According to the paper, a large amount of soldiers who refused to participate in the communist People’s Army of Poland have not received any sort of documentation of their services.

Nasz Dziennik asked the Ministry of National Defense if they will push for any changes in benefits regarding the soldiers who refused to serve under the communists. The Ministry replied in such a way that the paper accuses them of skirting the issue. The daily adds that not only are sldiers affected, but also their families. There is an apparent lack of political will to recognize and address the issue.

Trybuna - a descendant of the communist party daily Trybuna Ludu - writes about the memory of Mieczyslaw Rakowski, the last Communist-era party chairman and prime minister, who died on Saturday at 82-years-old. Former president Aleksander Kwasniewski commented for the paper that “his esteem, personally, as a human, as a journalist, an intellectual and a politician is without any doubt.” Kwasniewski added that Rakowski was able to carry out relations with the Germans despite the fact that the Nazis killed his father.

The paper writes that Rakowski became head of the communist party too late to change the hopeless situation it faced. Despite that, he was successful as head of the party. Kwasniewski recalled his visit to the Ronald Reagan library in 1994, which, according to Trybuna presented Rakowski as a really successful head of state despite only being in position from July 1989 until 31 January 1990, the very end of the communist system in Poland.