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Adam Aston - Czerwone maki na Monte Cassino, 1944

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Published on Aug 2, 2007

Adam Aston (Adolf Loewensohn) was one of three or four most popular pre-war "crooners" in Poland. His performances of the Polish as well as international hits, called in Poland with the German word, the "schlagers" - remained on Odeon, Columbia or Syrena-Electro records as masterpieces of the singing art - dramatic, strong, and sung with his stunning Jewish cantor-like tenor/baritone entirely free from any sentimental manner of the era.

When in September 1939 Nazi troops invaded Poland and WWII broke out, that king of Polish "Tin Pan Alley business" managed to flee to Eastern part of Poland - in the meanwhile taken by Soviet army, who, according to Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, attacked Poland from the east as the Hitler's loyaliest ally.

In those gloomy days Aston followed the way of millions of Polish citizens living there: hundreds of thousands were killed, hundreds of thousands - deported by the Soviets into deep Russia. Yet, he managed to survive again through this Polish Apocalypse and, as soon as the Nazis attacked Russia in June 1942, he joined the Polish army being formed by General Władysław Anders -- according to the quickly made pact Sikorski-Stalin -- from those of Polish officers and soldiers, who survived the Stalinist labor camps or were not massacred in Katyn -- the place of the XXth Century Polish Apocalypse in Russia.

In 1943, together with the Anders' army, Aston left Soviet Union and marched to Iran, to Palestine, Tobruk & Italy, together with the Western allies. He was not needed by his colleagues, who remembered him from the records, as the shooting soldier - they wanted him to sing! So he did - in the army's Revue Theatre formed by Henryk Wars - his pre-war friend from Warsaw cabarets and from the recordings they were making together for "Syrena Electro"!

This is how this absolutely unique, wonderful recording was born. It says about "The Red Poppies On The Mountain Of Cassino" where a 1000- year Cistercian monastery stands and where in May 1944 one of the bloodiest battles for the freedom of Europe took place. Poles had about 1100 victims there - while all allied Anglo-French forces 8000. This song sings about the poppies so read, for they grow from the Polish blood sunk into the soil.

Recording was made for: La Voce del Padrone. Disco Grammofono. N. 176

Subtitles on the label:
Płyta Polska. 2 Korpus Polski - Wydział Dobrobytu Żołnierza.
Baryton-solo P.W.O. Aston A. z tow. orkiestry Teatru Rew. A.P.W. - Dyr. ppor. Wars H.

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