Wojciech Tomczyk

Tomczyk draws from Polish history, but always bears in mind the problems of today

Forgive me, I’m sure you have plenty of fascinating stories. But despite all that I’m more interested in the colonel.

He was a colonel, I was a colonel. He served, I served. Isn’t it all the same thing?

So, in 1953 I broke my conspiratorial oath to save my own life. I betrayed my friends and homeland. I began working for a foreign power, and a criminal and homicidal regime. Am I boring you?

What are you getting at?

It was the spring of 1953. Just after the Korean War, after the murders, after millions of Ukrainians had been starved to death. After the deportation and mur- der of Home Army soldiers. Of course, I knew who pulled the trigger in Katyń. Everybody did. The So- viets already had the hydrogen bomb. And I’d been of age for several months. I couldn’t have any illusions
– the Soviets were bent on destroying my country, and in global terms meant to conquer the whole world. Ac- tually, they never concealed that. They always talked openly about a global revolution, of freeing the toiling masses. By “revolution” they had in mind the abolition of social classes and nations – which means genocide. The liberation of the toiling masses, of course, in their language meant universal slave labour – did you ever hear about Cambodia? Or the Gulag Archipelago?

What are you getting at? (…)

Can’t you guess? It’s obvious.

Maybe an undercover agent can guess. A journalist has to find it out. What do you want?

I want a repeat of the Nuremberg Trials. I won’t insult you by asking if you know what the Nuremberg Trials were.

You want the Nuremberg Trials for the communists? Is that all? How do you intend to achieve that?

A repeat of the Nuremberg Trials for the communists doesn’t sound bad. But at my age a chap stops setting himself such ambitious goals. In any case, I disdain the communists.

What is it you want, colonel?

I want a Nuremberg for myself. I want to be tried.

Excerpt translated by David French

Wojciech Tomczyk

Tomczyk draws from Polish history, but always bears in mind the problems of today

Publisher: Teologia Polityczna, Warszawa 2018
Translation rights: Teologia Polityczna, mikolaj.marczak@teologiapolityczna.pl

Wojciech Tomczyk (b. 1960) is the most important and at the same time, the most popular contemporary playwright in Poland. His plays, which have been staged for many years on Television Theatre, attract millions of viewers. The author of Interregnum successfully continues the tradition in the Polish theatre signified by the names of Sławomir Mrożek and Janusz Głowacki. As in the texts of these well-known authors, the characteristic feature of his style is realism, tinged with absurdity and the grotesque. Tomczyk uses dramatic irony masterfully. In his plays he introduces characters whose motives are ambiguous, intentions suspect, and declared views contradictory to their beliefs. Among the liars who feign honesty, fools who are convinced of their wisdom, and conformists who pretend to be non-conformists, there are also authentic, internally consistent, and ethical people. The presence of these bright figures only deepens the bitter disappointment with the world, dominating in Tomczyk’s dramas.

The volume includes Tomczyk’s most interesting plays, from the debut Vampire, through the most famous Nuremberg, to The Marshal, which premiered last year and was created in relation to the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. Tomczyk today is the only Polish theatrical author who seriously, though without unnecessary pathos, poses questions about the collective ethos of Poles. Thus, he goes against the current of contemporary drama, which mostly deals with the problems of indistinguishable inhabitants of the liberal anthill. His characters are people of power: officers, presidents, prime ministers, as well as people considered to be authorities: writers and journalists. Tomczyk draws from Polish history, but always bears in mind the problems of today, and the plays he writes have the dimension of a political debate. This ironic and sometimes satirical observer of Poles sets the bar very high for them: intelligence, integrity, and responsibility for the community.

Jacek Kopciński, translated by Katarzyna Popowicz

Selected samples

Jakub Małecki
Wiesław Myśliwski
Elżbieta Cherezińska
אנדז'יי ספקובסקי
Aleksandra Lipczak
Jacek Dukaj
Wit Szostak
Bartosz Biedrzycki
Zyta Rudzka
Maciej Płaza
Wojciech Chmielewski
Paweł Huelle
Przemysław "Trust" Truściński
Angelika Kuźniak
Wojciech Kudyba
Michał Protasiuk
Stanisław Rembek
Krzysztof Karasek
Elżbieta Isakiewicz
Artur Daniel Liskowacki
Jarosław Jakubowski
Zbigniew Stawrowski
Szczepan Twardoch
Wojciech Chmielarz
Robert Małecki
Zygmunt Miłoszewski
Anna Piwkowska
Dominika Słowik
Wojciech Chmielewski
Barbara Banaś
Rafał Mikołajczyk
Jerzy Szymik
Waldemar Bawołek
Julia Fiedorczuk
Jakub Szamałek
Witold Szabłowski
Jacek Dukaj
Grzegorz Górny, Janusz Rosikoń
Paweł Piechnik
Andrzej Strumiłło


Marta Kwaśnicka
Piotr Mitzner
Paweł Sołtys
Wacław Holewiński
Anna Potyra
Wiesław Helak
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marek Stokowski
Hubert Klimko-Dobrzaniecki
Jakub Małecki
Łukasz Orbitowski
Małgorzata Rejmer
Rafał Wojasiński
Wojciech Kudyba
Włodzimierz Bolecki
Jerzy Liebert
Wojciech Zembaty
Wojciech Chmielarz
Bogdan Musiał
Joanna Siedlecka
Krzysztof Tyszka-Drozdowski
Jarosław Marek Rymkiewicz
Marek Bieńczyk
Leszek Elektorowicz
Adrian Sinkowski
Szymon Babuchowski
Lech Majewski
Weronika Murek
Agnieszka Świętek
Stanisław Szukalski
Barbara Klicka
Anna Kamińska

She climbed her first peaks in a headscarf at a time when women in the mountains were treated by climbers as an additional backpack. It was with her that female alpinism began! She gained recognition in a spectacular way. The path was considered a crossing for madmen. Especially since the tragic accident in 1929, preserved … Continue reading “Halina”

Wojciech Chmielarz

First, Marysia, a student of an exclusive private school in Warsaw’s Mokotów district, dies under the wheels of a train. Her teacher, Elżbieta, tries to find out what really happened. She starts a private investigation only soon to perish herself. But her body disappears, and the only people who have seen anything are Gniewomir, a … Continue reading “Wound”

Anna Kańtoch

A young girl, Regina Wieczorek, was found dead on the beach. She was nineteen years old and had no enemies. Fortunately, the culprit was quickly found. At least, that’s what the militia think. Meanwhile, one day in November, Jan Kowalski appears at the police station. He claims to have killed not only Regina but also … Continue reading “Penance”

Marek Krajewski

The year is 1922. A dangerous time of breakthrough. In the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland, Bolshevik gangs sow terror, leaving behind the corpses of men and disgraced women. A ruthless secret intelligence race takes place between the Lviv-Warsaw-Free City of Gdańsk line. Lviv investigator Edward Popielski, called Łysy (“Hairless”), receives an offer … Continue reading “A Girl with Four Fingers”

Ks. Tomasz Stępień

This question is closely related to the next one, namely: if any goal exists, does life lead us to that goal in an orderly manner? In other words, is everything that happens to us just a set of chaotic events that, combined together, do not form a whole? To understand how the concept of providence … Continue reading “Order and Love”

Jakub Małecki
Szczepan Twardoch
Wiesław Helak
Maria Wilczek-Krupa
Anna Kańtoch
Rafał Kosik
Paweł Sołtys
Dorota Masłowska
Wiesław Myśliwski
Martyna Bunda
Olga Tokarczuk
Various authors
Mariola Kruszewska
Waldemar Bawołek
Marek Oleksicki, Tobiasz Piątkowski
Wojciech Tomczyk
Urszula Zajączkowska
Marzanna Bogumiła Kielar
Ks. Robert Skrzypczak
Bronisław Wildstein
Anna Bikont
Magdalena Grzebałkowska
Wojciech Orliński
Klementyna Suchanow
Andrzej Franaszek
Natalia Budzyńska
Marian Sworzeń
Aleksandra Wójcik, Maciej Zdziarski
Józef Łobodowski

The work of Józef Łobodowski (1909-1988) – a remarkable poet, prose writer, and translator, who spent most of his life in exile – is slowly being revived in Poland. Łobodowski’s brilliant three- volume novel, composed on an epic scale, concerns the fate of families and orphans unmoored by the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war and … Continue reading “Ukrainian Trilogy: Thickets, The Settlement, The Way Back”

Piotr Zaremba
Wacław Holewiński
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