• October 12, 2023
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A plaque in memory of Józef Mackiewicz was unveiled in the Literatų Street

On the initiative of the Polish Institute, a plaque dedicated to Józef Mackiewicz – a writer, publicist and Polish independence activist – was unveiled on Wednesday in the Literatų Street in Vilnius.  Mackiewicz lived in Vilnius during the interwar period and during World War II.

“Józef Mackiewicz is one of the most intriguing witnesses to the history of the 20th century, as a Vilnius resident, but also as one of the best emigratory writers, he deserves to be remembered in the city where he lived and worked” – stresses the Polish Institute in the Lithuanian capital.

A white marble plaque was inscribed with the writer’s name and his life motto “Only the truth is interesting”. Dorota Mamaj, director of the Polish Institute, says that efforts to place the plaque took three years.

The author of the plaque, Vilnius sculptor Rafał Pieślak, was inspired by the life of Józef Mackiewicz. I had to read a little about what he went through. These experiences must have left some scars. That is why the plaque features gold-plated elements to remind us of them – he said during the presentation of the board.

The creation of the plaque was supported by Orlen Lietuva. Its head, Michał Rudnicki, recalls that the company led by him is looking for initiatives that connect Poles and Lithuanians. This is not the first event that we have supported as Orlen. Ten years ago, a plaque was unveiled on Białostocka Street, where Józef Mackiewicz lived with his brother Stanisław “Cat” Mackiewicz – he explained.

The unveiling of the plaque was also accompanied by a discussion entitled “Only the truth is interesting”, reminding us that Mackiewicz strove in his work to show the truth, and as a writer he wanted to be a credible witness of the history in which he participated.

“The unveiling of the plaque and the conference are another effort to popularise the person of Józef Mackiewicz in Vilnius, Lithuania” – political scientist from Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University and discussion participant Andrzej Pukszto told Polish Press Agency.

He stressed that the ideas of Józef Mackiewicz are very relevant today. “In the current geopolitical situation, when we are exposed to constant fake news of all kinds, his attitude is worth following” – the political scientist believes. – “Mackiewicz reminds us that we should defend the truth, historical, political, cultural, and moral truth.”

According to Pukszta, interest in the person and works of Mackiewicz in Lithuania has recently increased. “There are only three of his books translated into Lithuanian, but they are very popular. They are even being raved about” – the expert said.

Józef Mackiewicz, who lived in Vilnius, and his brother Stanislaw Cat-Mackiewicz were supporters of the Polish-Lithuanian agreement. Cat-Mackiewicz published the influential newspaper “Słowo” in Vilnius during the interwar period. His younger brother was a journalist for the “Słowo”.

After the World War II, Józef Mackiewicz lived in London and Munich. He is the author of such novels as “The Road to Nowhere” and “One Is Not Supposed to Speak Aloud”. Among his most famous works is the novel “Left: All Clear”, which poignantly describes the dramatic events of the Polish-Bolshevik war and the threat of communism.

Translated by Katarzyna Korniak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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