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The Song That Changed Your Life

In the Mood by Irena Szpak

This story is on the shortlist for The Song That Changed Your Life challenge. 

Video source: Youtube.

In the Summer of 1944, the war went well for the Allies.  With the Soviet army chasing the Nazis to the suburbs of Warsaw, the Resistance commanders in Poland decided that their fighters, men and women, should deliver the final blow to the staggering Nazi giant by taking up arms and liberating Warsaw from the hateful occupant. 

However, to punish the Polish patriots who would not make good communists, especially under Soviet command, Stalin ordered the Soviet army to stop in its tracks, so that, instead of supporting the insurgents, they stood by and watched the Nazis systematically destroy Warsaw.  150 thousand people perished during the 2 months of uneven struggle between the still powerful German war machine and the resistance fighters abandoned by the Allies. 

Under pressure from the Allies though, Hitler had to treat the Polish resistance fighters, not as “Banditen”, but as legitimate members of the Allied Armed Forces and, eventually, as prisoners of war.

Almost 2000 women were in our POW camp, close to the Dutch - German border, the “depression” land,   

 The younger girls were especially unhappy.  Their youth was destroyed by the war.  Patriotic enthusiasm offered an outlet for energy and emotional turmoil. But now there was no hope. I was one of those girls.

Life seemed to be over for me.  The gloom of the surroundings coupled with the worry about my family generated serious depression.

Our camp was liberated by the Polish Armoured Division, a part of the BAOR army. Hailed as heroes and visited by virtually the entire division, we were moved to a much more comfortable abandoned German army training camp nearby.

The war was over in May.

The evening of May the 15th, the traditional “Solder’s Day” in Poland , festive crowds congregated in our camp arena.  The Polish Armoured Division arrived with its best band.  Although still depressed, I was curious. The music was lively and loud.  

All of a sudden, my feet were dancing; I had to dance.  All of a sudden, I was with a partner whirling around, keeping time with the flood of sound.

Then it stopped, ooh, then started again.  I was laughing, I was a happy young girl again.  

I shouted at my partner: “What’s that tune?”  He shouted back: ““In the Mood”!

 I still love it.

Irena Szpak lives in Kingston, ON.



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