Władysław Machejek

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Władysław Machejek
Władysław Machejek
Machejek at his party office, 1967
Born (1920-02-25)February 25, 1920
Chodów, Poland
Died December 21, 1991(1991-12-21) (aged 71)
Kraków, Poland
Citizenship Polish
Occupation Party official, aspiring writer
Known for Polish United Workers Party deputy

Władysław Machejek (February 25, 1920 – December 21, 1991) was a communist official, an aspiring writer and hoax artist during the Stalinist reign of terror in Poland following World War II. He wrote fabricated accounts of anti-communist underground mainly for his own political gains as regional party secretary and later member of the communist highest parliamentary echelons.[1] Due to the coarse and infamous nature of his works, he has been described as a "legendary socialist scribbler".[2]


Machejek was born on February 25, 1920 into a peasant family in the hamlet of Chodów. He joined the Communist Party of Poland as a youth.[3] During World War II he served in the Soviet-sponsored partisan organizations Gwardia Ludowa and Armia Ludowa.[4] After the war he became a member of the new Polish communist party PZPR and took over the post of its regional secretary in the town of Nowy Targ not far from where he grew up. Soon, he became a member of the provincial party cell in Kraków, and eventually deputy to the Sejm (Polish parliament) in the People's Republic of Poland.[3][4] He was selected editor-in-chief of Życie Literackie magazine under Stalinism (1952) and became a prolific writer of ideological propaganda and coarse, often embarrassing polemics supporting the communist party line.[4][5][6] He has also been known on occasion to attack the authorities of other communist countries (such as Romania), but his criticism was tolerated.[3] It is said he always carried a bottle of vodka in his hollow briefcase.[1] Machejek died in Kraków at the age of 71 shortly after the collapse of the communist regime in the People's Republic, and the re-emergence of sovereign Polish state in the Autumn of Nations.


Machejek was a political hack writer.[5] His most infamous book Rano przeszedł huragan (In the Morning There Came A Hurricane) published in 1955 presented purported crimes in the Podhale region committed by the Ogniowcy partisan units under Józef Kuraś.[7] The book was based on a fictional diary of their leader written by Machejek himself. In an often coarse and even primitive prose,[5] Machejek painted Poland's anti-communists as motley crew of bloodthirsty anti-Semites who killed Jews, persecuted the Slovak population of the region and who preyed on innocent people.[8] Although those fragments were simply invented by Machejek, some historians, most recently Jan Tomasz Gross in his Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz (2006), have fallen for his claim that the novel was based on facts (Kuraś himself was hunted to death by secret police), thus treating Machejek's falsehood as a valid source.[7]

Polish poet, literary critic and dissident activist Stanisław Barańczak saw Machejek's style as worthy of mention and wrote an essay, U źródeł machejkizmu, published in his 1990 book Książki najgorsze (The Worst of Books). He suggested that Machejek's style was unique enough to merit a special term, machejkizm or machejcyzm. According to Barańczak, Machejek's style was a mixture of the worst elements of socialist (communist) literature, namely coarse language of an uneducated man mixed with the pompous and complex officialese of the Party. Machejek, according to Barańczak, was a master of writing empty sentences, which contain no value, no real message, are not meant to be read, but function simply to fill space.[9]

Bibliography [10][edit]

  • Po wojnie (1954)
  • Dzwony (1955)
  • Zginęli W Walce: Sylwetki Bojowników AL i GL (1957)
  • Niespokojny człowiek (1964)
  • Z mojego obserwatorium (1969)
  • W starym młynie (1971)
  • Zawytka (1972)
  • Z wojny tej, wojny złej ... (1978)
  • Rano przeszedł huragan (In the Morning There Came A Hurricane, 1985 reprint)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Anna Bikont, Joanna Szczęsna (June 3, 2000). "Co ja robię w tym kościele". Towarzysze Nieudanej Podrózy. Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ Janusz Anderman. "Machejek, Władysław (1920-1991)". Wiadomosci.gazeta.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  3. ^ a b c "A Rumanian-Polish Literary Controversy". Osaarchivum.org. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  4. ^ a b c "Machejek Władysław - WIEM, darmowa encyklopedia". Portalwiedzy.onet.pl. Retrieved 2012-08-27. 
  5. ^ a b c Andrzej Paczkowski, Jane Cave (2003). Władysław Machejek (in: Real Socialism: The Iron Fist). The Spring Will Be Ours: Poland and the Poles from Occupation to Freedom. Penn State Press. pp. 341–. ISBN 0271023082. Retrieved August 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Marian Marek Drozdowski (1998). 1956: polska emigracja a Kraj : antologia żródeł. Oficyna Wydawnicza "Typografika". p. 109. ISBN 978-83-86417-31-5. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Maciej Korkuć (February 27, 2008). "Horror podmalowany". Historia. Tygodnik Powszechny. Retrieved August 25, 2012. Dr Maciej Korkuć jest historykiem, pracuje w krakowskim oddziale IPN: ... ów opis pochodzi z fałszywki – rzekomego pamiętnika „Ognia", w rzeczywistości napisanego ładnych parę lat po jego śmierci. 
  8. ^ Wojciech Bonowicz and Michał Kuźmiński (2007). "Interview with dr Maciej Korkuć of the Institute of National Remembrance". Partyzant nie nadstawia policzka. Tygodnik Powszechny, reprint by Onet.pl. Retrieved August 25, 2012. Władysław Machejek spreparował „dziennik" Kurasia. (English: how Władysław Machejek invented the Kuraś diary). 
  9. ^ Stanisław Barańczak, U źródeł machejkizmu [in] Książki Najgorsze i parę innych esejów krytycznoliterackich, Wydawnictwo a5, Poznań 1990, p. 91-94.
  10. ^ "In-author:Władysław Machejek". Google books. Retrieved August 25, 2012.