With a trip to Kraków on the cards, I decided it was time to go up to the attic and dust down a guidebook to the old town. The book I came across, blocking a hole in the thatch, was called simply Kraków and was published in 1951 with a print run of 20,300. I turned immediately to the more interesting passages:
The small town, population 80,000, living in an atmosphere of the patriotic inspirations of Anczyc and Matejko, proud of its university’s growing fame, was also in large part an example of social and political backwardness. The generality of residents, under the influence of a servile bureaucracy and a powerful reactionary party, lead lazy lives marked by conciliation with the ‘mild’ black and yellow servitude. Into this environment, fresh from a successful jailbreak, came Ludwik Warynski, a young fighter for victory of the masses. […]
The flame of revolution burst above Kraków twice during this period [between the wars]. In November 1923 the working people of Kraków gave battle to the forces of reaction, liberally bedewing the city’s streets with their blood. It was an eloquent protest against a government that had sold out to capitalist exploiters.
I look forward to visiting the house at 49 Lubomirskiego Street, where Lenin lived from 1913 to 1914 (after abandoning “distant and Tsarophile Paris”) and wrote some of the 300 articles he allegedly produced (one every two days!) during his two years in Kraków.
On a totally unrelated note, prime minister Donald Tusk has been voted Person of the Year by god-awful current affairs mag Wprost.