Living Under Russian Occupation After WWII

From Jas Elsner’s Written Memoir: “By contrast with the excitement and cultural renewal in the immediate aftermath of war within the hot-house of the art school, the climate outside was growing distinctly cooler. Russian liberation turned into surrogate Soviet occupation by means of a Communist regime whose grip rapidly began to tighten. My father had no affection for Communism or Communists (or indeed for any form of ideological collectivism) after his experience of Russian occupation during the War (‘not as bad as the Nazis but…’). And so, in 1948, when he had finished at art school, he applied to go to Paris to perfect his art. Since the times of Chopin, Paris had fulfilled the role of ultimate cultural centre in the Polish imagination – in part, I suppose, because it was the capital of the closest great power which had not been directly involved in the occupation of Poland over the centuries. That myth still held, even for the functionaries of the Communist Government in 1948 who granted him a passport to go and study.”