The first volume of the Polish edition of Attila Szalai’s book “On Polish Soil – Memoirs, Diaries, 1976-1990” was introduced by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Warsaw on Wednesday, MTI reports. The Hungarian journalist, writer, political scientist and diplomat lived in Poland for 14 years under the iron curtain, a period during which he kept a diary of the most important political events at the time, addressing their impact on everyday life in Poland and on his personal life.
Hungarian ambassador to Warsaw Orsolya Kovács and Polish ambassador to Budapest Sebastian Keciek were both present at the book launch, as well as Márta Szalai, the late author’s wife, members of the IPN, and writer Grzegorz Górny.
It is worth introducing heroes who worked for the benefit of the Polish-Hungarian community, IPN Vice President Mateusz Szpytma said on the basis that the Polish and Hungarian nations are “connected by a shared past, and hopefully a positive future.”
“On Polish Soil – Memories, Diaries, 1976-1990” gives readers a look into the everyday impact and personal experience Attila Szalai had toward communism in Poland at the end of the 20th century. IPN awarded Szalai with the Witness of History award in 2019, after the publication of his book in Hungarian
. Szalai, who was also awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 2019, passed
away in 2020.
Historian and IPN member Wojciech Frazik said that even as a foreigner, Szalai saw the signs of freedom in Polish cultural life perhaps even more clearly than Poles who were “stuck in the dreary gray weekdays of communism.”
Grzegorz Górny, a Polish author and journalist who frequently writes about Hungary, said that Szalai’s diary connects Polish people with a foreigner, who saw what Poland was like from the inside, lived it, and addressed the issues the nation faced.
The first volume of the Polish edition, spanning from 1976 to 1981, is readily available, while plans are underway to translate the second volume, spanning from 1982 to 1990.
Featured photo illustration by Kovács Tamás/MTI