Sunday, March 27, 2016


True Story of course: War is a monster of God made man


An extremely disquieting and disturbing film at first that turns pacified and pacifying in the end.

Imagine Poland in 1945 liberated by the Soviet Union but practically occupied BY THE Soviet army, waiting for some Polish government to come into power. Imagine a nunnery, a convent in other words, with nuns being searched by rough Soviet soldiers who search everything particularly the nuns and not with their fingers, mind you, and these rough visitors leave seven of them pregnant and one with syphilis (the abbess). Imagine a mission of the French Red Cross there, under the command of a Colonel who used to be an extreme right militant before the war, with a Jewish doctor, the last survivor of his family, and his assistant, a young woman from a communist family.

The woman and then the man get involved in the situation in the convent in spite of the abbess who is a fundamentalist and imposes rules from another time: the nuns are not supposed to show their body and be touched physically, even by a female doctor. The rapes are a stain, a sin and the nuns are made to feel guilty about it: the trauma of the rape is turned into an inescapable practically unhealable form of psychotic PTSS. Seven children will be born. The first two will be taken by the abbess and she will – in absolute secret – entrust them back to God, in other words expose them in order for them to die. She commits a crime that is also a sin (Thou shalt not kill) in order to cover the situation. She is discovered as a murderess by the other nuns in time for the last five children to be born and saved by one younger nun who is the actual caretaker of the convent and who can count on the help of the French communist lady doctor.

The end is optimistic. The convent is turned into an orphanage. They host orphans living or surviving in the street and that covers up the fact that the babies are the children of rape.

If the end is maybe too optimistic the film shows very well what happened in Poland from 1943 to 1946. The Soviet army was ruthless as soon as it moved west pushing the Germans back. It took absolutely no prisoners among the German troops, which I know from experience due to the testimony of my mother-in-law whose first husband was a lieutenant in the Wehrmacht on the Polish front in 1944. At the same time they got rid – or let the Germans get rid – of the Jews from the ghetto in Warsaw. In the meantime they trapped the remnants of some Polish liberation army and managed to have them all shot in some forest east and they respected no rights of no Pole. Looting, pillaging and raping were the little brothers and sisters of the big siblings WAR and NO QUARTER. Supreme Lord have mercy on us. We have to think of Led Zeppelin’s song:

Close the door, put out the light. 
You know they won't be home tonight.
The snow falls hard and don't you know?
The winds of Thor are blowing cold.
They're wearing steel that's bright and true
They carry news that must get through.

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter.

Walking side by side with death,
The devil mocks their every step 
The snow drives back the foot that's slow,
The dogs of doom are howling more 
They carry news that must get through,
To build a dream for me and you 

They choose the path where no-one goes.

They hold no quarter.
They ask no quarter. 
The pain, the pain without quarter.
They ask no quarter.
The dogs of doom are howling more!

And out of that carnage and mess a government will come up under the leadership of the Polish United Workers’ Party, in other words a quasi communist party, supported by the Soviet Union and this government will tolerate and let live the Catholic Church and its institutions, including convents and monastery. So the happy ending might be considered as possible. But the whole of Europe went through the worst imaginable traumatic experience in those years, which is still surviving today in the European consciousness and culture.


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