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The Warsaw Voice » From the News Editor » September 2, 2011
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From the Editor
September 2, 2011   
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I must admit I’m intrigued by this Wroc³aw phenomenon. Wroc³aw is a fantastically developing city and the capital of one of Poland’s regions. With its economic dynamism, the city is far above the national average on many counts. It also leads the charge in culture. No European city would be ashamed of the kind of vibrant and colorful main square that can be found in Wroc³aw. Filled with students, Wroc³aw is home to leading universities and innovation centers. Famous in Poland and beyond, the city is a draw for tourists. It has been named the 2016 European Capital of Culture and is the venue of the European Culture Congress this month.

Until recently Wroc³aw was mainly home to people who arrived there from lands the Soviet Union took from Poland after World War II. These people were uncertain about their future and found it hard to put down roots in a place so vulnerable to the winds of history. Many of them feared that another change in the political order could leave the city outside the borders of Poland once more.

Before World War II, Wroc³aw was called Breslau and was a wealthy German city whose greatness was built over the centuries by its German (and 30-percent Jewish) residents. After the war the name Breslau was cursed, memories of the past obliterated; if history was invoked, it was that of the very distant past: Slavic, Bohemian and Polish times.

We are sitting in the spacious office of Wroc³aw Mayor Rafa³ Dutkiewicz, talking about the identity of this city and its inhabitants. Without identity there is no soul, without a soul the body is worthless. We can see this is an exciting subject for the mayor, who came from afar himself but has been living in Wroc³aw for a long time, and has been the local mayor for the past 10 years. Like any mathematician by training, he has matters arranged in his mind in separate pigeonholes, but connected to form a logical whole. He is driven not just by the awareness that these are fragments of a greater whole, but also by the fact that intangible value is at stake here. From it grows the fabric of everyday life, from which again we return to the soul.

I find the interview with Dutkiewicz in this issue of The Warsaw Voice to be an interesting contribution to the big picture of today’s Poland in present-day Europe.

Near the mayor’s office I see a tour bus with German license plates and a sign behind the windshield reading BRESLAU. We don’t have complexes anymore.
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