Error Of The Week (9)

Poland has been invaded so many times that you could forgive them for trying to get their own back. In late May, my sources tell me, Polish soldiers erected a border post near Pielgrzymow, a small town in southern Poland on the border with the Czech Republic as part of their temporary closure of the border to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The actual border runs along a quiet country road. The Polish troops guarded their border enthusiastically, turning back Czech citizens attempting to visit their local church. The locals not unnaturally started to complain and the Czech embassy in Warsaw complained to their opposite number.

It turns out that the border point had been placed on Czech soil in error, or at least the Poles claim, and bowing to diplomatic pressure they repositioned, allowing the Czechs to go about their religious ceremonies undisturbed.

The two countries have some previous, fighting a seven-day war in the Silesia region in 1919 and the Poles annexing in 1938 an area around the city of Bohumin, but this seems to have been a genuine mistake.

Wars have been fought for less!

One thought on “Error Of The Week (9)”

  1. We British, perhaaps because our island is surrounded by sea, tend to have a rather inflexible attitude towards national frontiers that is not necessarily shared by other nations.

    I remember on a trip many years ago with my mother (long before the EU ever came into being), crossing from Belgium into Germany. The only indication that this was a border was a small hut, in which a German official in uniform was dozing. My mother was obsessed with having her passport stamped to show all the countries she had visited and insisted that I rouse the official. He was very reluctant and very grumpy and, job done,quickly resumed his somnolent position.

    On another occasion, still before the EU, my wife and I went to France and crossed into Belgium. The “frontier” was in the middle of a town (I now forget where) and consisted of a movable sign bearing the word “Douane”. The customs official sat in the cafe next to the sign, ready to emerge if required to do so. None of the passers-by required him to do so. At 6 pm, he emerged, put away the sign and left. I assume he was knocking off for the day.

    With the EU, even these vestiges of national borders have disappeared within the Schengen area and the citizens of those countries regard the British obsession with frontiers with bemused irritation.

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