I fly over Poland The stricken land below . . . Exhausted, bewildered, abandoned
STAŃCZYK and I flew in silence to Moscow, our minds crowded with memories. I cannot vouch for what he was thinking, for he was to undergo a violent change in the next few days. But I did know what was in my own mind, especially as the RAF plane soared over ruined Berlin.
I thought of the days in America in the summer of 1941 and the skepticism that had greeted my prediction that some day Berlin would be bombed and the tentacles of nazism pulled in. But the flood of my memories as we flew nonstop over Poland was more compelling.
I looked down on the familiar land and what was left of the cities I had known, and this whole flight was an affront to all reason. I who had been Prime Minister of my country, could not land there now. I must fly over my country and the countrymen I loved. I must fly to Russia and gain, in effect, its permission to return. There was meaning and symbolism in all this. It was as if Poland were a vast storm area, and we must circle it and call ahead to Russia for the right to land.
Poland below me was alone--as alone as it had been the day Germany attacked six years before. I thought of the rage of the civilized world when Hitler demanded a corridor to Danzig; and I compared it with the complacency of the same world as a new dictatorial force, Russia, took not Danzig or a corridor but half of the entire country, not as a strident aggressor but as