Marie Curie as a role model
Marie Curie was a Polish patriot who changed the world. She is a fantastic role model who achieved greatness against all odds. As a Pole, I’m delighted that musicals about her life are popular in Korea. I’m not surprised that Madame Curie’s intriguing life story has impressed many Koreans.
Marie Curie is known in Poland as Maria Sklodowska-Curie. Maria is her Polish name. The hyphenated last name honors her Polish and French heritage. These kinds of details are important to history-sensitive Poles. And there’s no way to understand Marie Curie without understanding the historical context in which she lived.
Poland was attacked numerous times in history. The list of foreign invaders is long and, at times, surprising. Surrounded by powerful and cunning enemies, the Poles needed to be resourceful to survive. There was no time for intellectual laziness and wishful thinking.
When Poland was wiped off the map for 123 years, Polish patriots worked tirelessly to ensure the revival of the country. They assumed many roles: soldiers, spies, statesmen, scientists — even lovers of influential European leaders. Polish patriots went through terrible, at times humiliating, hardships. The Poles were highly adaptable, constantly changing alliances and alignments. The rebirth of Poland was the only goal that mattered.
The courageous and proud Polish women were fully involved in the effort to revive the Polish statehood. For example, countess Emilia Plater fought on horseback during the November Uprising (1830–1831) against the Russian Empire.
France was seen as the country that could help liberate Poland. In fact, Polish-French relations date back several centuries. Henry III was the King of France and Poland. The Polish national anthem mentions Napoleon by name. The French emperor is described in the lyrics as the one ‘’who has shown us ways to victory.’’ Napoleon Bonaparte remains a highly divisive figure in Poland to this day.
France was the most attractive country for the Polish elites in the 19th century. Polish upper-class girls were taught to speak French. It’s hardly surprising Marie Curie chose to settle in Paris. Driven by patriotism and curiosity, Marie Curie excelled in science. The brilliant scientist wouldn’t have achieved greatness had she stayed in partitioned Poland. She was acutely aware of that fact.
Marie Curie witnessed Poland re-emerging on the maps of Europe after 123 years of partitions. Polish diaspora is one of the largest in the world as a result of the nation’s turbulent history. It’s vital to note that the U.S. helped Poland regain independence in 1918.
The exceptional scientist and humanitarian died in 1934.
Marie Curie is one of the most inspirational people in history. She used her genius mind to overcome unbelievable challenges. The musical based on the life of Madame Curie is a wonderful idea that brings Korea and Poland closer together.