By Maluch Through Wrocław. A Ride Through Time and Space
The year 1973 in Poland was not full of events of the magnitude described in today’s history books. It was the third year of the rule of Edward Gierek, under whose leadership a ‘second Poland’ was being built. The standard of living in the country was rising rapidly, albeit – as we now know – on credit, which was to be repaid over more than two decades. The 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus was marked by numerous events in Poland and abroad. The figure of the eminent astronomer was a perfect match for another propaganda slogan of the Gierek era – ‘A Pole can do it.’ The Polish national football team proved the point in 1973, beating England at the Silesian Stadium on 6 June and, thanks to a draw in London on 17 October, reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since the Second World War. On the same day that Polish football history was being written in Chorzów, the first Fiat 126p was assembled from Italian parts not far away – in Bielsko-Biała. This exhibition was created to commemorate the anniversary of this event.
The Polish Fiat 126p – popularly known as the Maluch (‘the little one’) – ushered in the era of mass motorisation in Poland. It made life easier for millions of Poles who had previously been dependent on the vagaries and inconveniences of public transport, enabling them to take weekend and holiday trips. There’s probably no family in Poland that doesn’t have a story about their father’s, grandfather’s or uncle’s Maluch. The Fiat 126p, which filled Polish roads within a few years of its launch, also became a silent witness to the important events and epochal changes that took place in Poland over the following decades. Looking at photos of the streets of Wrocław in the 1980s or 1990s, it is hard not to find some in which you can see at least one Maluch. That is why we decided to take a little trip through history on the occasion of the birthday of the Polish Fiat 126p and to present the impressions of it in an exhibition that we would like to invite you to.
‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre / Centrum Historii Zajezdnia
Ossoliński National Institute
Substantive concept, choice of materials, texts
Piotr Sroka (Ossoliński National Institute / Periodicals Department)
Krzysztof Czarniak (Ossoliński National Institute / Documents of Social Life Department)
Prof. dr hab. Joanna Nowosielska-Sobel, University of Wrocław
Marta Kowalska-Fic (‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre / Centrum Historii Zajezdnia)
Language editing and proofreading
Kamilla Jasińska, Maciej Szłapka (‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre / Centrum Historii Zajezdnia)
Biuro Tłumaczeń Alingua Sp. z o.o.
Transport and assembly
Jan Malski, Paweł Porada, Piotr Zieliński (‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre / Centrum Historii Zajezdnia)
The exhibition presents iconography from the following collections:
‘Remembrance and Future’ Centre (Centrum Historii Zajezdnia), Ossoliński National Institute, Polish Press Agency, Historical Museum in Lubin and from private collections.