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img193There is no more “Iron Curtain“, so having a Polish Photo Book titled Amidst Forest and Lakes by Zdzislaw Wdowinski would seem nothing unusual. This particular one, my first Polish Photo Book, dates from 1955, and is printed in Poland in English on what appears a government sanctioned press or by an officially approved sports club. The actual paper it is printed on is better than the usual shoddy paper seen on some books from behind the Iron Curtain in those days. The photographs are in black and white, and the only color is on the frontispiece (shown below).

The book describes an attempt by a small group of zoologists and ornithologists to go into the wild forests of the Masurian Lake District located near the town of Olsztyn, Poland, or as it was known in the former German spelling Allenstein, in order to discover the breeding grounds of certain native birds.

img194img196img199img197img200Most of the photographs are really well done with some offering good detail.img198img202img201The 20,000 square mile Lake District in the Northeastern part of Poland has more than 2000 lakes, and partly borders on the Baltic Sea. The district was at one time the eastern part of the Prussian State and the subsequent German Empire. It was the ancient homeland of the Teutonic Knights in the thirteenth century, and has a very rich history. The area is also the home of the European Bison.

After the end of World War II the area was ceded to Poland. The area has a temperate climate, cold in winter with some snow, and many lakes are usually frozen. The whole area was bitterly fought over in the First World War. For more on this topic follow this link.