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The Kornel Makuszyński Museum


As in Warsaw, Kornel Makuszyński participated actively in Zakopane’s intense artistic and social life and sports events. The Karpowicz café in Zakopane was in those times a meeting place for celebrities, commemorated on these famous occasions by Kazimierz Sichulski in his excellent caricatures. The meetings provided material for many press articles and books on Zakopane issues. Though he was not a sportsman and mountain climber himself, Makuszyński sat on the organizing committees of, and acted as patron towards, numerous skiing and horse-riding races and automobile rallies. He also acted as patron towards the Wisła Club and it was on his initiative that the children of the poorest families were given skis so that they could practise skiing. In honour of his merits as a friend of children, the Kornel Makuszyński memorial skiing contests are organized for children today. Zakopane made its first appearance in Makuszyński’s work as early as the 1920s; his lighter comments appeared in the Warsaw and Zakopane press. Though Kornel Makuszyński liked Zakopane from the very beginning, he did not spare the town pungent and caustic criticism. As time went on, his attitude grew more lenient, and Zakopane reciprocated his feelings, granting him in 1931 the title of an Honorary Citizen.

The outbreak of World War II put an end to the writer’s material and artistic stability. As mentioned above, the Makuszyńskis’ flat in Warsaw, full of works of art, was seriously damaged during an air raid in 1939 and during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. After their stay in the Pruszków camp [following the fall of the uprising], the Makuszyńskis arrived in Zakopane and settled on the first floor of the Opolanka. Makuszyński did not feel well in the new socio-political realities (only two of his new books were published in the 1940s), but he took an active part in Zakopane’s cultural life, devoting much of his time and heart to meetings with children. He died on 31 July 1953 and was buried in the Old Cemetery in Zakopane. There are always flowers and school badges on his grave, a token of memory by generations and generations of faithful young readers.


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Translated & edited by: Joanna Holzman, Adrian Smith, Anna Wende-Surmiak