Snow Kidding

In Polish, the word for snowman, balwan, has a second meaning: blockhead or dummy. Prisoners at the Bialoleka detention camp no doubt had that ambiguity in mind when they dressed a snowman in a general's cap, epaulets, decorations and dark glasses. The repercussions were recounted in From Day to Day, an underground Solidarity bulletin that was closed down by security forces in Wroclaw last week.

"That's Jaruzelski!" the commandant shouted when he saw the snowman. "No, that's a snowman," the detainees responded. The bemused commandant went away, probably to receive instructions. When he returned he ordered: "Destroy that snowman!"

"But that's Jaruzelski," the...

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