The video starts with the image of a certain place in the Kościuszki Park, Katowice, the photo of which was made June 2017, in the sunny afternoon. The place looks, however, a bit dark and shady because of high trees that surround it now. That image is slowly infiltrated by the other photograph of the same place, made as long ago as 1929. The place is obviously the same but there are two striking differences in these two pictures, apart from the colour of the modern photograph: the wall and the stair in the first one show some reconstruction works that must have been carried out in the meantime and - on the older one, there is sitting a young lady. One may notice also that the birches standing behind show now a significant growth !
Only some 180 years ago Katowice, now the city of south western Poland, was a tiny village which suddenly developed in 19th century and changed into a big industrial area. All that move and rush was the effect of very rich hard coal resources which were found in that region, which subsequently resulted in erecting numerous industrial plants like steel works, foundries but mainly hard coal mines. Industrial activities created financial liaisons which gave a good base for constructing the buildings, estates, railroads and transport means.
The region became rich which casted a political interest and, as lying in the area of influence of more than one country, it became also a subject of fight.
Kattowitz (the German version of the name) gained city status in 1865 in the Prussian Province of Silesia. The city was inhabited then mainly by Germans, Silesians, Jews and Poles. On 1 April 1899, the city became an independent city.
Under the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the Upper Silesia plebiscite was organised by the League of Nations. Kattowitz was attached to Poland as the larger district voted 66,119 for Poland and 52,992 for Germany. Following the Silesian Uprisings of 1918–21 Katowice became part of the Second Polish Republic with some autonomy for the Silesian Parliament.
That rapid growth of the region as well as of the main city, Katowice, called for and demanded the cultural and artistic life, such as theatres, entertaining stages and cabarets.
And this is the subject of the present video. The visual material which was included covers announcements and advertisements of the shows organized at that time in Katowice in the period of 1926-1930. These which were announced in the monthly magazine “Echo artystyczne”, the editorial organ of the POLZAWID (Polish Union of Entertaining Artists).
The number of advertisements which were published in the magazine may surprise us and may witness the great movement of artistic “night life” - how it was rich in that region and how it was well organized.
Some of them show the activity of Lili Larys (Helena Maliszewska) on that field, a young lady on the photograph at the beginning of the video. As that artist is always of a special importance to the author, let him mention here that basing on materials published by “Echo artystyczne”, Lili Larys only in the season 1929/30 was engaged by the following cabarets and night clubs in Poland:
- “Alkazar”, Katowice
- “Nitouche”, Warszawa
- “Moulin Rouge”, Katowice
- „Savoy”, Poznań
- “Moulin Rouge”, Warszawa
- „Miraż”, Kraków
- „Varsovie”, Warszawa
- „Jaszczurówka”, Zakopane
- „Oaza”, Bydgoszcz
- „Louvre”, Lvov
- “Nowy Świat”, Równe, Wołyń.
The music in the video comes from the 1930 Polish Odeon recording of the Polish version of the French film hit – “Sous les toits de Paris”. Sung by Mieczysław Fogg and Chór Dana. For those who want to see the record label, it is at the very end of the video.
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