Copy link

Czarne in Galicia: “A Fairy-Tale City. The Many Stories of Kaliningrad”

30.06.2022 - 17:00 / High Synagogue, ul. Józefa 38, Kraków (basement hall)

Paulina Siegień, moderated by Aleksander Gurgul
Meeting with the Author, PL
Partner: Czarne Publishing House

Only 50 kilometers from the Polish northern border there is a city of 500,000 citizens. Today, it is called Kaliningrad. In the past, when the borders were shaped differently, it was the Prussian Königsberg and also the Polish Królewiec.

It is an essentially European city. But the transformation of the former capital of East Prussia – first into the Soviet and later Russian Kaliningrad – brings a sense of weird unrest, a feeling of not fitting in which is felt in this city among both the citizens and the authorities: the local ones as well as in the Kremlin. At first sight, it is a typical Russian province, perhaps with a bigger inferiority complex, which eagerly recalls its prewar glory and compares itself to its European neighbors rather than to Moscow or St. Petersburg. But at the same time there is another city under the surface: a ghost city.

Paulina Siegień tells the story of how prewar Königsberg and postwar Kaliningrad were merged into one phantasmatic city as in a fairy tale. The memory of the past does not want to go away here. What is contemporary is reflected in what is historical. The spirit of the past does not disappear. But is it the good spirit of Immanuel Kant with his idea of eternal peace, or the gloomy and sinister spirit of the local demon Smętek?