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Kreuzberg is not yet lost

Dorota Stroińska (2017)

Prologue

“Poland is not yet lost“, – who does not know the infamous first line of the Polish national anthem? It refers to the century-long Polish struggle for freedom and over time, has become a familiar expression. The saying “Kreuzberg is not yet lost“, still has to earn its place in the current language… The district Kreuzberg represents, in this instance, the social and artistic experimental field for the whole of the city of Berlin. Swept into the rhythm of the Polish national anthem it reminds one of the century-long presence of the Polish people in the city by the Spree. The Polish myth of freedom and the Berlin myth of multiculturalism, are rhythmically and semantically conjoined and contrasted in the opening line of lyrics: The long tradition of the culture city Berlin is significantly characterized by Polish desires, perspectives and stylistics, the Polish inhabitants of Berlin have long thought of themselves as „Wir, Berliner“[1].

Kreuzberg is not yet lost, as long as Poles live here …

The story begins in the 18th century, when Poland, divided by Prussia, Austria and Russia, loses its sovereignty and is erased from the map for 123 years, and continues through the traumatic century of the two totalitarian systems to the present day, when leaving home may not be quite as dramatic as it was in the past, although not devoid of hardship. The spectrum ranges from a safe exile to an enslaved banishment to hopeful emigration, it encompasses centuries of forced, voluntary or seemingly voluntary emigration, because it is always a matter of personal and political freedom; the desire to “earn one’s living” is ultimately the desire for a dignified life, free of existential plight. Recent figures have revealed that around 20 million Poles and people with Polish roots live outside Poland; in Germany there are about 2 million and in Berlin about 100,000.

 

It is a special characteristic of Polish culture and literature that it was largely created in exile. The most important works of Polish literature were written in the 19th century by emigrants: Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Norwid. Literature became a spiritual territory, an imaginary focal point from which Poles derive their identity and sense of belonging. What place does Berlin occupy in this constellation? Is it a metropolis of exile comparable to Paris, London and New York?

 

Today, Polish migrants who have travelled to Berlin at different times and for different reasons live by the river Spree. While the older generation continues to feel committed to the ethos of an exile community (“Polonia”), and Polish “Strebermigranten” (Emilia Smechowski)[2] prefer to remain invisible in German society [3], it is now never less than implicit for the younger immigrants to live as a Pole in German day to day life. But however numerous, complex and diverse the Polish community in Berlin may be, it does not form a “Little Poland”. Polish culture is not cultivated in separate districts, but permeates and enriches the cultural life of Berlin. The fascination and inspiration of this osmotic relationship can be felt in countless places in Berlin.

 

But first I would like to tell a few stories about this osmosis, so let us take a look into the “Berliner Zimmer” in the House of Polish Literature.

 

“For your and our freedom”

In 1828, when the German and Polish metropolises were not linked by Berlin-Warszawa-Express, the young Frédéric Chopin travelled to the Prussian capital by stagecoach from Warsaw. He strolled through the streets, attended opera performances and gave his own concerts. He writes about his impressions in a letter to his family: “My opinion about Berlin: It is too big for the Germans. It could easily hold as many inhabitants again.”[4]

Only a few years after Chopin’s visit to Berlin, the November uprising of 1830/1831 in Congress Poland against the Russian Tsar and for the liberation of Poland, “for your and our freedom”, was suppressed; tens of thousands of Polish freedom fighters flee during this grande emigration and travel through Germany, where they are welcomed with solidarity relief actions and enthusiastic “Polish songs”, to Belgium, Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy and above all France, where Frédéric Chopin also settles in addition to the Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz. Polish songs are likewise sung in Berlin, with song lines by Charlemagne von Holtei, for example, which conjures the image of David’s fight against Goliath.

In the struggle for freedom of the Poles against their Russian oppressors, the bourgeois German public opinion recognized its own struggle for a liberal German nation-state, they interpreted it as a signal for the democratization of the whole of Europe. After the events in the Frankfurt National Assembly (1848), the “enthusiasm for Poland” swiftly ebbed in the German states; in the name of the unity of their own people, the assimilation of the Polish-speaking population finally became the raison d’ être of the Kaiserreich. From the Polish perspective, the capital of the Prussian military monarchy became the centre of a hostile power, from which a forced Germanization and cultural struggle against the Polish population was led. No wonder that Berlin was only visited sporadically by Polish writers passing through.

 

“… a hidden wallpaper door…”

With the onset of the industrialization and the mass immigration of Polish workers at the end of the 19th century, Berlin became “the largest Polish city in Prussia”. For the rapidly growing population, deep staggered tenement barracks are built with their endless inner courtyards. It is at this time, when the darkest room of the tenement apartments is created – the Berliner Zimmer.

Stanisław Przybyszewski[5] entered this “hostel of darkness, the stuffy air and its therein comfortable Berlin philistine” (Friedrich Engels) like a “meteor” that “lights up for a moment”. The ingenious Pole” came to Berlin in 1889 and not only shaped the life of the Berlin bohème, but also influenced German literature at the turn of the century like hardly anyone else. In the restaurant “Weinhandel und Probierstube”, which finds entry into the Berlin chronicles under the name of “Zum schwarz Ferkel”, European “Rauschkünstler” (en. intoxication artists) first meet around August Strindberg, but soon choose Stanisław Przybyszewski as their master and leader. “Stachu opened a door for us (…) a hidden wallpaper door, from which one did not know whether it led into chaos or into a habitable landscape or just into a cupboard filled with concoctions,”writes Julius Meier-Graefe. Although Przybyszewski himself remains caught up in his own literary contradictions, he points to new paths for others: Apparently unconsciously, he develops stylistic elements that become characteristic for future generations (expressive metaphorics, for example, or a narrative technique that anticipates the inner monologue). Artists and writers such as Paul Scheerbart, Ola Hansson, Gustav Vigeland, Julius Bierbaum, Franz Servaes and Peter Hille group around “Stachu”. In particular, he finds strong personal and artistic friendships with Strindberg (hauntingly echoed in his Paris novel “Inferno”, 1897), Richard Dehmel, who edited Przybyszewski’s first, highly discussed lyrical prose piece “Totenmesse” (1893); and with Edvard Munch, in whom Przybyszewski recognizes an outstanding artist and dedicates an enthusiastic art-critical essay “Psychic Naturalism” (1894) to, which becomes the initial impetus for Munch’s early career. In turn, Munch creates several portraits of the poet, and moreover receives impulses from Przybyszewski’s interpretation of art. Theodor Fontane describes him as an eloquent innovator of the German language, reviving it in a way no one since Nietzsche had. In Berlin, together with Otto Julius Bierbaum and Julius Meier-Graefe, he founded the art and literature magazine “PAN”, published in Karl Kraus’ “Die Fackel” and in the “Freie Bühne”. Przybyszewski, the “probably the most fascinating figure of the German fin de siècle” (Jens Malte Fischer), will go on to massively shape Polish literature and art at the turn of the century. In 1898 he moved to Krakow, where he became editor of the journal “Życie” (Life), which soon becomes the most important Polish journal for art and literature. His 1899 essay “Confiteor”, published there, becomes the manifesto of Polish modernism (“Young Poland”). After 1918, when Poland regained independence, he helped to build the young Polish state.

 

In the Salon of the Avantgarde

The Polish Berliner Zimmer, liberated from the heavy Wilhelminian furniture, remains a meeting place for the artistic avant-garde and a forge of artistic ideas and programs. The host is Stanisław Kubicki – poet, art theoretician and painter, who initiated numerous joint exhibitions and actions of German and Polish expressionists. Among his guests are Jerzy Hulewicz, writer and graphic artist, with whom he founded the Polish expressionist artists’ association “Bunt” (Revolte) in Poznań in 1918; Franz Pfemfert, publisher of the Berlin art magazine “Die Aktion”; Herwarth Walden, gallery owner and publisher of “Der Sturm”; the “Dadasoph” Raoul Hausmann and the “Oberdada” Johannes Baader; the poet and anarchist Erich Mühsam and others.

Stanisław Kubicki’s life and work in Berlin is representative of the history of disappearance. In the 1930’s, there was a propaganda promotion of Polish culture in Berlin which was strategically motivated by the National-socialists, though simultaneously the became a prison and cemetery for thousands of Polish people, artists and forced laborers. In 1933, SA men destroyed works of Kubicki and his artist friends during several raids. In 1934, he fled to Poland, where he joined the resistance movement during the German occupation. In June 1941, Stanislaw Kubicki was arrested by the Gestapo in Warsaw and murdered shortly afterwards (1942).

Since 2011, Stanisław Kubicki has been remembered by a “Stolperstein” in the Hufeisensiedlung in Berlin-Britz. Remembered – as only a few weeks ago the memorial stone was stolen by unknown perpetrators….

 

From housing pods and poison cupboards

In the period immediately after 1945, the Polish Berliner Zimmer is a backward and empty space, an uninhabited cold zone.

The geographical location, 80 km from the Polish border, and the special political position of West Berlin make the city a very attractive place to visit.

 

The geographical location, 80 km from the Polish border and the special political position of West Berlin make the city a “East-West Railway Station” in the post-war period (1950-1980), a stopover for Polish intellectuals and artists on their way to France, England and North America, the actual Polish exile centres. They do not live in the Berliner Zimmer, at most they are temporarily accommodated in it.

 

But in March 1959 Der Spiegel was alarmed: “Wherever the author, who had suddenly gained world fame, is in Poland or in Western Europe, he creates movement.”[6] Marek Hłasko, is the author in question, who had received political asylum in the West Berlin transit area. In 1958 his story “The eighth day of the week” (“Ósmy dzie? tygodnia”, 1954)[7] is filmed in a German-Polish production.[8] The author, who was celebrated as “James Dean of the Warsaw backyards” and as the “literary idol of the Polish post-war period”, caused a sensation with his stories. The young Poles recognized themselves where experience is imparted through similarly coarse and harsh language, and, like through a secret language, communicate with quotations from his books, which were published in the Paris exile publishing house Instytut Literacki and were on the index in Poland until the 1980’s. Forced into exile by the state in 1958, Hłasko wanders as an enfant terrible through the western world, leading an excessive,”breathless life” in Berlin, Munich, Paris, Israel, Sicily or in Hollywood. In 1969 he dies from an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills in Wiesbaden. In his autobiographical notes “The Beautiful Twenty-Year-Olds”[9] (“Piękni dwudziestoletni”, 1966), where Hłasko angrily draws stock of his odyssey through the West, the following passage can be found:

 

I did not have it easy in Germany when I once asked for asylum and had all my investigations behind me. (…) during the war I hadn’t been afraid of the Germans (…); I really began to be afraid when I lived there for a while, and when I saw how they lived: peacefully, comfortably and quiet.“[10]

 

Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1967) perceives the uncanny aspect of the harmonious and arcadic-looking Berlin of the post-war era almost seismographically. In 1963, after 23 years, the author leaves his Argentinean exile and is one of the first Ford Foundation scholarship holders to spend a year in “this glittering West Berlin, the last coquetry of luxurious Europe”.

Gombrowicz initially lives in the guest studio of the Akademie der Künste in the newly built Hansaviertel, where he also meets another scholarship holder, Ingeborg Bachmann. Later in their texts both refer to their time in Berlin, Bachmann in a fragmentary essay (“Witold Gombrowicz”, 1964) and Gombrowicz in his “Diary”[11], where he processes his life in exile and his own experiences of foreignness, along with the months in Berlin. He does not lure the reader with intimate confessions, but pulls him into the boxing ring of his intellectual rowdyness. “I’m the aspirin that relieves cramps,” he promises. Later he moves into an apartment in the Bartningallee in Hansaviertel, the apartment is on the 15th floor; from this bird’s-eye view he can look to the west and east alike. A walk in the zoo becomes an existential experience for him: intensively he perceives smells that take him back to the Poland of his childhood and youth and let him sense the approaching death. “The circle has closed… in Tiergarten (…) I experienced death directly – and since then it has not left my side.”[12] In Berlin he falls ill, is in hospital for two months, and three years later Gombrowicz dies in Vence (France).

 

The divided city, two years after the construction of the wall, seems “good-natured” to him, erotically inspiring (as one can retrospectively divine from his intimate “Kronos”[13], and simultaneously “demonic”,”as if Berlin, like Lady Macbeth, washes her hands tirelessly…”[14]“.

As a Pole, Gombrowicz feels how he “burdens the Germans on their conscience”, looks underneath the “glittering” surface of the city down into buried corpse cellars,”tracks down the haunting past” (Rudolf Hartung, SZ, 29.30.1.1966), from which the zeal and activity should distract from, and addresses the collective repression and forgetfulness of the Nazi past. Thus, he anticipates a topic which had been taboo until then, but would soon dominate  public debate in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Auschwitz trials begin almost simultaneously with Gombrowicz’s stay in Berlin. In 1967, Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich’s socio-psychological study “The inability to mourn”[15], a key text on the collective repression of the Nazi past (“autistic attitude”) and the associated psychological state (“conspicuous emotional paralysis”) of West German society, is published.

 

To his contemporaries in Berlin, Gombrowicz appears eccentric, bizarre and theatrical. Café Zuntz on Kurfürstendamm, where Gombrowicz wanted to set up an artist’s café with a “spiritual community” of writers, becomes the scene of more than just linguistic misunderstandings. Günter Grass and Uwe Johnson visit the café; while Gombrowicz wants to discuss philosophical questions, in French, his German colleagues are more interested in pragmatic,  manual topics. According to Peter Weiss, Gombrowicz is “the most urgent experience”[16] while Uwe Johnson finds that his “concept of a literary café, the need for club life, discussion instead of exercising the profession” no longer worked. [17] Walter Höllerer speaks of “Argentine rhetoric” and also of the fact that Gombrowicz’s language behaviour “disturbed Berlin customs”. The Polish “exotic”, on the other hand, sees the cause of the failed communication as a “skepticism towards any direct contact” with the Germans, in the fact that “they are generally not very sociable, they have no need for an exchange of opinions, even the exchange of anything (…). Their gaze always met on the surface of something, but never sunk into another.”[18]

 

Gombrowicz’s “Aspirin” in the poison cupboard of the Berliner Zimmer has no expiry date, it reliably relieves cramps when he recommends us:

 

“If you can laugh at yourselves, amuse yourselves and rejoice, even if you are in the worst jam, then you will be redeemed.“[19]

 

Since the 1960’s, West Berlin has been living on the “mission of the frontline city and the honour of being the showcase of freedom and a free market economy” (Klaus Hartung), but it is also gaining the reputation of a historically complex and modern city,with large open spaces. This island of freedom in the socialist sea and with a special climate, attracted Polish intellectuals. The Attraction lies, not least, in the location of this event, the Literary Colloquium Berlin, where the crème of Polish literature meets in the 1960’s.

Walter Höllerer invited Witold Gombrowicz as a guest to his first writing workshop “Prosaschreiben” in 1963. How Gombrowicz’s “Aspirin” works can be relived entertainingly in the literary portrait “The second guilt”[20] of a prominent workshop participant, Hubert Fichte.

 

Witold Wirpsza (1918-1985) maintains friendly relations with Walter Höllerer. The Polish poet and translator is a guest of the DAAD’s Berlin Artists-in-Residence Program in 1967/1968. After the publication of his essay “Pole, who are you?” he was banned from publishing in Poland for this “Pole-devouring defamation”, as the official press says, and emigrated to West Berlin in 1972, where he became a significant mediator between Polish and German culture. He is someone for whom the “misery of exile” is not paramount, but rather the “splendour of exile”, the freedom, poetic and not, the joy in language experimentation and “ambiguities due to a tendency for misunderstandings”[21] He is well known as an éminence grise of the Polish exile, a key figure in Poland’s oppositional literary scene. Together with his wife Maria Kurecka (1920-1989) he leads a salon in his Moabit apartment (Alt-Moabit 21) for many years, and together they translate numerous works of German-language literature, including Hermann Broch, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse.

 

Tadeusz Różewicz (1921-2014) and Zbigniew Herbert (1924-1998) were recognized early on by the LCB as great poets of European modernism. During the reading “Ein Gedicht und sein Autor” (en. A poem and its author) (1966/67) they read together with their translator Karl Dedecius, who in 1959 triggered the “Polish Wave” on the West German book market with an anthology of Polish poems “Lektion der Stille”[22].

“Poland was the only country behind the Iron Curtain that constantly and reliably surprised us with new poets and original views on the necessity of poetry.[23] “Our teacher Różewicz” (Michael Krüger) and Herbert’s empathic and clear-headed poetry had a revolutionary effect on German post-war poetry. “This poetry is of European importance “, it teaches us to” understand that there is still a common European voice: the voice of man “- some critics say.[24]

 

Zbigniew Herbert was the “most peculiar and conspicuous” (Michael Krüger) among the many interesting Poles who “to our surprise, came to in Germany in the 1960’s”.

Herbert was translated more extensively into German than into any other language. West Berlin becomes his favourite city. In this contradictory city, this mixture of metropolis and spa, surrounded by a wall that looked much more harmless from the inside than from the outside, he feels protected from the “barbarians” who appear “to cut the aorta” (“Babylon”). His favourite place are the museums in Dahlem, where he spends countless hours with a sketchpad in his hand. A single picture, an object, a concrete line or colour are the starting point for a tender and empathetic contemplation of basic human experiences for him. If you don’t meet Zbigniew Herbert in a picture gallery, you will surely find him at his other favorite place: at the open window in the Berliner Zimmer, looking at a “pebble” as a “perfect creature” and “exactly fulfilled / of the stone sense”.

Like many of the poets of his generation, he too was heavily burdened by the “scar”[25] of the traumatic war experience. In a late poem “An Michael Krüger” (1991) the following lines are filled by the forgiving sense:

 

“Finally I have grown fond of you my mortal enemies / hereditary like illness poverty bad spinal column / the way from graves to the beer house was long / I have grown fond of you Michael (…) / maybe everything that has happened / between us / a meteorology of the heart / but it took courage / don’t you think Michael / to get up to a gesture / half a body twist / to look each other in the eyes.“[26]

 

The Polish wave of the 1960’s was certainly not a mass movement, but for the first time Polish literature was intensively perceived and appreciated by the West German public.

 

The GDR also experienced its “Polish wave” in the 1970’s. Without doubt this is due to the East Berlin poet and aphorist Henryk Bereska (1926-2005), the most important translator of Polish literature into German alongside Karl Dedecius. “I became a ferryman, transferring precious cargo,” he once described his translation work. This cargo includes countless Polish authors including Rózewicz and Herbert, Wislawa Szymborska, Stanislaw Wyspianski, Slawomir Mrozek and Adam Zagajewski.

 

“For the GDR reader, Polish literature was more than just aesthetic pleasure (…) here he found a radically different view of reality.“[27]

 

The intellectual preparation of a democracy movement in the GDR receives decisive impulses through the aquirement of Polish literature and the exchange with the Polish opposition.[28]

 

In the general consciousness of the Poles, East Berlin certainly exists only vaguely, it is a grey spot, a kind of transition area between the People’s Republic of Poland and West Berlin, ”a lock, which mechanisms everyone had experienced who came here by train,” recalls Leszek Szaruga, poet and translator, who was imprisoned for his opposition activities for a while and was able to see his parents – Witold Wirpsza and Maria Kurecka – in East Berlin for a few hours. It was not until the mid-1970’s that he could come to the “real” Berlin.

 

As a “singular natural phenomenon” (Szaruga) in the midst of a totalitarian space, the “Island of Freedom” is surrounded by the aura of a multi-lingual, cosmopolitan and cultural metropolis which exerts a strong attraction on the numerous Polish artists and intellectuals who became West Berlin islanders in the 1960’s and 1970’s.[29]

 

Berlin mattress dormitory

In the 1980’s, during the Solidarity Movement, the martial law and the severe political and economic crisis, there was a large flow of Polish emigrants, refugees and late repatriates. 900,000 people leave Poland during this time, 200,000 come to Germany, 30,000 of them remain in West Berlin. Within a short period of time, the City-of-Wall has developed into the most important political and cultural center of the exiled Poles in Europe, alongside Paris and London. Berlin’s proximity to its homeland, easy travel, a one-month visa-free stay and low living costs are all ahead of the two metropolises. It is here that socio-politically organizations in the vicinity of Solidarnosc develpop, cultural initiatives, theatre (Teatr Kreatur by Andrzej Woron), publishing houses (“Archipelag”), a Polish bookstore by Wojtek Drozdek, exile magazines are released…

 

At the same time Ewa Maria Slaska, Brygida Helbig, Dorota Danielewicz, Emilia Smechowski arrive in West-Berlin.

 

Ewa Maria Slaska founded the bilingual magazine WIR (1994), with a focus on German-Polish cultural affiliation, on the literary dialogue between the two countries and moreover on transitions between literature and other arts.[30]

 

Dorota Danielewicz, thanks to her the Polish literature was perceived in public events in Berlin (unforgettable the evening with Czeslaw Milosz on June 1st, 2000 at LCB!), a travel guide through the soul of Berlin is due to her: A poetic and personal declaration of love to Berlin: “Apples are gradually ripening on the trees and the grass grows fast and noiselessly. In such moments I feel a pleasant feeling of peace and security, then I feel in my heart that the city is finally recovering from all that the 20th century has done to it.”[31]

Brygida Helbig, the literary border crosser, with ties to various places, genres and literatures, and presumably a transportable identity, she knows her way around the border and she also knows all “angels and pigs. In Berlin!“[32]

And finally Emilia Smechowski, who summed it up in “Wir Strebermigranten”: “As migrants we are hardly seen. At least not those who came in the 80s and 90s – and they are by far the most. We’re invisible. We’re practically no longer there, so good we’re integrating in. Like chameleons, we have learned to hide in German society.“[33]

 

Shared flat

After 1989, it is the construction site, the experimental field, the empty space Berlin, which draws mainly young people from Poland to the Spree. Many Polish artists and writers (Artur Szlosarek, Krzysztof Niewrzeda, Radka Franczak) choose Berlin as the center of life, which “becomes a kind of natural supplementary space for the Republic of Poland” (Peter Oliver Löw), a “Niedzwiadek”. Literary imagination and socio-politically dreams need empty spaces, and so a residential community of different subcultures, diverse forms of life and multi-dimensional identities emerges in the freshly renovated Polish “Berliner Zimmer”. Olga Tokarczuk – she spent 2001 as a guest of the DAAD in Berlin – summed it up very nicely in an essay[34]. While Gombrowicz still remains invisible to the averted eyes of Berliners, Tokarczuk makes “miniature-friendships” for a longer look:

 

“(…) the people here let their gaze rest on each other for longer than anywhere else. (…) They looked with interest and often they smiled immediately afterwards as if they had caught themselves at childlike gawking. (…) We are after all interested in the others, and as long as they are of interest to us, we form a society… Berlin is civilized – if we understand this word to mean what it actually means: bourgeoisification; it is based on uninterrupted communication, on interrelationships and mutual influence. The simple assignments merge, they are quoted in inverted commas and revealed to a soft coffee-house-like deconstruction. (…) today this is a much more important place than London or Dublin, even as Warsaw, because Berlin is both homely and fashionable. Comfortable and metropolitan. Defined and open.”

 

The text is 15 years old – and nonetheless most likely applies to the present as well.

 

We, the Polish citizens of Berlin, live here in a familiar underlying structure that we share with other people, in which we feel at home. For most, Berlin is no longer a temporary accommodation, but a “displaced homeland” (Przemyslaw Czaplinski)[35], a sphere of encounters, shared common experiences, stories and everyday life. No alienation, but an inner place of comfort and security; connectedness, meaning, need – it feels like home.

 

 

[1] The title of the exhibition on the history of the Polish-German neighbourship, which was prepared in 2009 by the Centre for Historical Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Städtisches Museum Berlin and the National Museum in Poznań (http://www.wirberliner.de/index.php?p=page1&lang=de).

[2] Emilia Smechowski, „Wir Strebermigranten“, Hanser Berlin, Berlin 2017

[3] Peter Oliver Loews book refers to this „Unsichtbarkeit“ (en. invisibility): „Wir Unsichtbaren. Geschichte der Polen in Deutschland“, Verlag C. H. Beck, München 2014

[4] Małgorzata Quinkenstein, Robert Traba (Hg.), „Polnisches Berlin. Stadtführer“, Ferdinand Schöningh Verlag, Paderborn 2016, P. 79

[5] The nine volume edition by Igel Verlag: http://www.igelverlag.com/

[6] http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-42624777.html

[7] In German: Marek Hłasko, „Der achte Tag der Woche und andere Erzählungen“, translated by Vera Cerny, Hans Goerke and Maryla Reifenberg, Kiepenheuer und Witsch, Cologne 1958

[8] The movie, directed by Aleksander Ford and with star-cast– Zbyszek Cybulski and Sonja Ziemann, was produced by Artur „Atze“ Brauner.

[9] In German: Marek Hłasko, „Die schönen Zwanzigjährigen“, translated by Roswitha Matwin-Buschmann, Neue Kritik Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2000

[10] Ebenda, P. 206

[11] Witold Gombrowicz,„Dziennik 1953-1956, Instytut Literacki, Paryż 1957; „Dziennik 1957-1961”, Instytut Literacki, Paryż 1962; Dziennik 1961-1966, Instytut Literacki, Paryż 1966

[12] Witold Gombrowicz, „Tagebuch 1953-1969“, translated by Olaf Kühl, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, P. 842

[13] Witold Gombrowicz, „Kronos“, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2013; W.G., „Kronos. Intimes Tagebuch”, translated by Olaf Kühl, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich 2015

[14] Witold Gombrowicz, „Tagebuch 1953-1969“, translated by Olaf Kühl, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, P. 854

[15] Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, „Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern. Grundlagen kollektiven Verhaltens“, Piper Verlag, Munich 1967

[16] Peter Weiss, „Die Notizbücher. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. CD ROM“, published by Jürgen Schutte in cooperation with Wiebke Amthor and Jenny Willner, Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2006, Notizbuch 4, 4.10.1963-31.12.63, I. Edition, 1982

[17] Uwe Johnson, Porträts und Erinnerungen, published by Eberhard Fahlke, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1988, P. 24

[18] Witold Gombrowicz, „Tagebuch 1953-1969“, translated by Olaf Kühl, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004, P. 874

[19] Witold Gombrowicz, „Trans-Atlantik“, in: Gesammelte Werke, published by Rolf Fieguth and Fritz Arnold, Ed. 2, Carl Hanser Verlag, München 1988, P. 180

[20] Hubert Fichte, „Die zweite Schuld. Glossen. Die Geschichte der Empfindlichkeit“, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006

[21] Witold Wirpsza, „Drei Berliner Gedichte“, LCB-Editionen Nr. 42, Berlin 1976, P. 49

[22] „Lektion der Stille. Neue polnische Lyrik“, collected and transcribed by Karl Dedecius, Carl Hanser Verlag, München 1959

[23] Zbigniew Herbert, „Gesammelte Gedichte“, published by Ryszard Krynicki, with an afterword from Michael Krüger, translated by H. Bereska, K. Dedecius, R. Schmidgall, K. Staemmler, O. J. Tauschinski, S. 642

[24] Karl Dedecius, „Überall ist Polen. Zur polnischen Literatur der Gegenwart“, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1974, P. 86 co.

[25] In Witold Wirpszas poem „Schwierigkeiten“ (1984) he writes: „Es barst mir das Herz, aber zerbrochen ist es nicht, nur eine Narbe blieb./ Vielleicht tragen andere schwer an einer Narbe, ich jedoch nicht.“

[26] Zbigniew Herbert, „Gesammelte Gedichte“, published by Ryszard Krynicki, with a afterword by Michael Krüger, translated by  H. Bereska, K. Dedecius, R. Schmidgall, K. Staemmler, O. J. Tauschinski, P. 629 co.

[27] Andreas Lawaty, „Chance zur Verständigung. Die Geschichte der deutsch-polnischen Kulturbeziehungen“, in: Annäherungen – Zbliżenia. Deutsche und Polen 1945–1995, published by the Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Düsseldorf 1996, P. 135

[28]  One example: The civil rights and peace activist Ludwik Mehlhorn (1950-2011) maintained close contact with Polish dissidents in Poland and was a co-founder of the “democracy now”. As an autodidact he learned Polish, translated and commented on documents of the democratic opposition, texts by sociologist Jan Strzelecki, essays and poems by Jan Józef Lipski, Czesław Miłosz and Adam Zagajewski. As an editor and co-editor of underground magazines (e. g. Almanach “Oder”), he played a decisive role in numerous opposition circles, including the Peace and Human Rights Initiative.

[29] For example as guests of the DAAD-artists program: Stanisław Lem, Witold Wirpsza, Tadeusz Różewicz, Sławomir Mrożek, Zbigniew Herbert, Kazimierz Brandys, Wiktor Woroszylski, Adam Zagajewski, Ryszard Krynicki, Ryszard Kapuściński, Ewa Lipska…

[30] http://porta-polonica.de/de/node/208

[31] Dorota Danielewicz, „Berlin. Przewodnik po duszy miasta“, W.A.B., Warszawa 2013; D.D., „Auf der Such nach der Seele Berlins”, translated by Arkadiusz Szczepański, Europa-Verlag, Berlin, München, Wien, Zurich 2014

[32] Brygida Helbig, „Anioły i świnie. W Berlinie!”, Wydawnictwo Forma, Szczecin 2005; B. H., „Engel und Schweine“, translated by Lothar Quinkenstein, freiraum-verlag, Greifswald 2016

[33] Emilia Smechowski, „Wir Strebermigranten“, Hanser Berlin, Berlin 2017, P. 11

[34] Olga Tokarczuk, „Drei Gründe, warum ich Berlin mag“, in: DIALOG. Deutsch-Polnisches Magazin, Nr. 85-86 (2008-2009), P. 21 co.

[35] Przemysław Czapliński, „Poruszona mapa. Wyobraźnia geograficzno-kulturowa polskiej literatury przełomu XX i XXI wieku”, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2016

 

Translated into English by Joey Bahlsen

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