March 13 - April 20, 2008
The Museum of Zakopane Style at "Koliba" villa
ul. Kościeliska 18, Zakopane
The Tatra Museum, wishing to mark the centenary of Bronisław Czech's birth, presents an exhibition dedicated to this outstanding Polish sportsman and war hero.
Bronisław Czech was one of Poland’s most outstanding skier during the interwar period. He participated in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Winter Olympic Games, trained a generation of athletes and wrote a definitive ski textbook.
He was born in Zakopane and remained attached to the place throughout his life. He was an accomplished climber, pilot, yachtsman and athlete. Czech was also a member of the Tatra Mountain Rescue Service (TOPR) and a passionate artist; he sculpted and painted landscapes and glass-paintings. Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, he became a courier, transporting people and important documents and information from occupied Poland to the West across the Tatra mountains and through Slovakia to Budapest, Hungary. Arrested in 1940 and imprisoned at Auschwitz concentration camp, he was given an offer by the Nazis to train German sportsmen in exchange for his release. Bronisław Czech firmly rejected the offer, and he later died at Auschwitz camp on June 5, 1944. Decorated posthumously with The Cross of Valour (1967) and Auschwitz Cross (1987), he became the patron of the Cracow Academy of Physical Education and of many Polish schools. A ship built at the Szczecin shipyard was also named after him. Since 1946, the “Bronisław Czech and Helena Marusarzówna Memorial” ski competition in Zakopane has become a regular event. Helena Marusarzówna was another outstanding Polish skier murdered by the Nazis.
Wojciech Szatkowski, exhibition curator