Back in Time to 1950s Warsaw
April 30, 2014
A new exhibition at the Museum of Literature takes audiences back to the Warsaw of the 1950s.
The exhibition, entitled The Streets of Zły, was inspired by the novel Zły—published in English as The Man with the White Eyes—by Polish-Jewish author Leopold Tyrmand. Dedicating his book “to my hometown of Warsaw,” Tyrmand meticulously described the city as it was in the first years after World War II.
The plot is set in the early 1950s and the titular Man with the White Eyes is a mysterious character who stands up for the weak by fighting the criminal underworld of Warsaw. Faithfully recreating the city’s topography of the 1950s, the book introduces readers to Warsaw’s distinctive nooks and corners of the era, such as ruins, old townhouses, the construction sites of social realist buildings, new cafes and shady bars.
An architect by education, Tyrmand took pains to ensure his book contained a realistic picture of Warsaw as it was arising from the postwar rubble.
The exhibition at the Museum of Literature creates a narrative out of old photographs, footage from the National Film Archive, documentary clips from the vaults of the National Remembrance Institute (IPN), previously unpublished documentary photographs by Krzysztof Miszułowicz and an assortment of items from the 1950s. Visitors can also flip through popular press titles of the day such as Stolica, Życie Warszawy and Express Wieczorny, and take a seat in museum rooms arranged to imitate a movie house, a bar and a cafe of the type popular among Varsovians in the 1950s.
Until March 31, 2015
Museum of Literature
20 Old Town Square