18/365:Potoki number five by 22082809@n00 Magic Madzik

18/365:Potoki number five

January 18th

I am in Warsaw for a few days to celebrate my parents' 30th anniversary. They didn't really want a portrait, so today's 365 photo is from my walk with Guinness.

This is a village very close to my parents' house that got swallowed up by Warsaw in the 1930s. Its story is as sad as its appearance. Even as a part of the capital it continued to thrive until after WW2, when the new communist government decided to take over the land. They didn't force the villagers out, but passed a law that forbade the refurbishment of old houses. This was supposed to discourage people and make them give up their land in favour of the state.

Though the law is since obsolete the bureaucratic mess of the fourties still hasn't been rectified- the elderly people living there are stuck, they cannot be evicted, but they do not formally own the land any more and so cannot sell it. And these are folks born in the early light of the 1900's, so changes do not come easily for them.

From this article a story from a local about the name of the village, Potoki, which means Sources or Streams:

"The count came riding through one day and asked his groom what the village was called. The servant replied: "It's the Thief Shacks, for the thieves that poach on your lands and the poor shacks they live in." The count didn't like this insulting name and in honour of the sources that flowed from the hill nearby he christened the village Szopy Potoki- Shacks on the Sources."

The village was also known by another name which is now official: Szopy Polskie, or Polish Shacks. Apparently that was to differentiate them from the German Shacks up the hill, where settlers from Germany and Holland made their home. Now there are huge, modern apartment towers there, you can see them in the background of the photo. They say there were also French Shacks somewhere.

Another source cites that the name 'Szopy' may have come from the Szopski family who owned quite a bit of land in the area. Hard to tell which is true.

Here is a photo of the same house taken in April last year.

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