Page 1972 - Week 06 - Friday, 6 May 2005

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a young man called Jan in Eastern Poland near Sobibor. I wondered if he survived, and she told me he did. He rose to a very high rank in the post-war Polish Army. Lucy has since seen his family. She corresponds regularly with his widow and has seen his two sons. There was at least a happy ending to the harrowing tale she told. A remarkable lady, she is doing a book on it soon.

Mention was made of the war in Europe finishing. On a personal note, I received a very interesting email from a fellow whose father and mine were in the same prison camp, which described how they were liberated on 29 April. It was something I was not aware of. I thought my father was liberated by the British, rather than by the Americans. He never talked much about the war. Again, that was interesting. It was pretty much the 60th anniversary.

I certainly thank Tom, whom I will be meeting, for photos of that liberation. It involved a fire fight between the SS and the American seventh army outside the prisoner of war camp, where a young Polish second lieutenant died on the eve of the liberation—thankfully not my father. That was sad, when he went through all that. Tom is going to bring the pictures around, and I thank him for that. We should certainly never forget World War II and its atrocities, or indeed the very brave actions of so many allied soldiers, airmen and naval personnel during that battle.

There is just one thing. Mr Smyth has read out something about Mr Stanhope’s absolute nonsense in relation to a point I made back in 1995, which I did not think anyone worried particularly about at the time—but someone might have. I think I had one call saying there was a problem, but it was certainly widely publicised to make a point. Might I indicate, for Mr Stanhope’s benefit, that I remember clearing off the “z”. In fact, I remember seeing two smudges on the sign and thinking, “I’ll clear those off too.” I think I left the sign in better condition than I found it in.

I might also commend to Mr Stanhope on how to run a budget a bit better. On that particular issue, when the New South Wales institute put the “z” back into “Kosciuszko”, the Carnell government sent letters out to the streets asking if they wanted us to take down all the signs and put them up with the correct spelling, or if they would rather we do that when the signs needed repairing. Most people who answered said that we should do it when the signs needed repairing, because that was much more cost effective, so we did that. That is a little matter, but a helpful hint on how to run urban services, which the previous government was a lot more efficient at doing than the current one is.

I do not particularly care. I think what Mr Stanhope did there was utterly childish, trying to draw attention away from the budget or something else. I do resent one thing he said on radio, but the rest of it I think is childish. People have commented on that, and I will not dignify it with any response. When it was indicated to him: “Oh, but Mr Stefaniak rubbed off the ‘z’ ”, he said something to the effect of, “Do you believe that?” or, “If you can believe him.” I certainly take some offence at that—as does my wife. I would ask him to be a little bit more circumspect. I do not mind political points, even if they are cheap political points, but I think you need to draw a line somewhere.

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