Tadeusz Rejtan, Polish voice of objection

Becoming a national hero because one decided to obey the rules of parliamentary procedure? Being shown on innumerable stamps and posters, and what is more – becoming a part of a proverb? (“Kłaść się Rejtanem” means literally “to lie down like Rejtan”, but metaphorically – “to oppose something strongly”). Indeed this is what happened to…



The Security Service’s Last Task

The June 1989 elections and the formation of the Solidarity government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki were earthshaking events in Poland’s recent history. Even though the communist authorities knew their power was slipping away, at the beginning of 1990 the secret police (Służba Bezpieczeństwa Security Service) was still firmly under their control. Up until the…


Sławomir Mrożek: Cowboy and Dadaist

His prose was more difficult to translate than the poetry of the most hermetic poets, because he referred to the fabric of wit, of local absurdities and peculiarities. Despite this, he hit the stages around the world, becoming one of the most famous Polish writers of the 20th century. Bitter, ironic, and ruthless to himself…


The Constitution of the 3rd of May (the Government Statute)

During the reign of the last king of Poland,  Stanisław August Poniatowski (Stanisław II Augustus), daring attempts at internal reform were carried out in order to avert disaster for the Rzeczpospolita (Commonwealth). A promising opportunity arose with the Sejm that deliberated between 1788 and 1792, as it was a “confederated Sejm”, meaning that unanimity was…


The Golden Writ of 12 April 1863

The organizers of the January Uprising, which broke out in the Russian partition in 1863, tried to win the peasant masses over to the national cause. The Insurgent National Government had drawn conclusions from the people’s insignificant support for the November Uprising and from the tragic Galician Slaughter. In the absence of a regular army,…


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