We’re Sick to Death of Your Instagram Photos

And judging by the royal fit your child is throwing, so is he. I can still see and hear him vividly. A screaming tantrum as he’s dragged away from playing at the riverbank with a stick. Immediately, he morphs into a ball of lead in his father’s grip. Kicking, screaming, and already crossing the tipping point to utter implosion. But you couldn’t be bothered with that because you were busy barking at everyone hiking the path, telling us that you were having your picture taken and no one else was to be in it. Not even your kid. The entire scene was ridiculous, down to the artificial pose and the plastic smile on your face when your mother finally snapped the image. Anything for your 217 followers.

Welcome to hiking the Ihlara Valley.

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A Park. A Man. A Tube Sock.

From start to finish the whole thing took less than a minute. Tucked away in a park overlooking Podgorze, the air filled with the spring time chirrup of birds and the riotous tones of children in the playground. After days of record rainfall, the sun had finally come out and so had the neighborhood. I sat on the park bench to revel in it. To soak the heat into my bones. To salvage my ever diminishing opinion of Krakow. And thats when the man appeared.

He stalked into the clearing, single-minded in this endeavor. And to be perfectly honest, I hardly noticed him at first. I had things on my mind, like how was I going to finish researching this book when I had run into every conceivable frustration in this city? Power outages, unexplained closures, and militantly resistant archivists. Whatever this man, or anyone was doing in the park that day, was my last concern. Until he stopped.

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The Thing Is, It Never Starts With Violence

Before the war, Wroclaw was called Breslau, and between 1202 and 1945 the city was controlled by everyone but Poland. The boundaries of Poland had been carved into a myriad of pieces, and ruled by so many different Emperors, Czars, and Kings, it’s hard to keep track of it all. But back in 1933, Breslau was part of the Weimar Republic, a failed German government that spanned the 15 years between the King of Germany’s reign and Hitler’s.

It was in March of 1933 that Breslau voted for the Nazi party in staggering numbers. In a multi-party system, 48% of voters were on board. The third strongest turnout in all of Germany. Twelve years later, that same regime dropped hundreds of thousands of explosives on its own soil in the single most devastating war and genocide in recorded history. Breslau would be one of the last strongholds.

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