By Aleksandra Majchrowska, KONTAKT, Poland.
Among many prominent Poznan citizens, the name of Arkady Fiedler is worth mentioning. He was an outstanding individual, a Polish writer, reporter, avid traveller and natural scientist. He survived two world wars and was a soldier of the Polish Army.
He took part in the Greater Poland Uprising, after which he was appointed a lieutenant. He also wrote poetry and prose for the Poznań magazine “Zdrój”, in which the greatest writers of the twentieth century debuted. However, he is best remembered by Poles as a traveller, explorer and natural scientist. He travelled through Brazil, Amazonia, Canada, and Madagascar. From each trip, he left an interesting report and some notes.
When World War II began, he was staying in Tahiti. He left the island and went to England to take up military service. There, he met Polish aviators who fought in the Battle of Britain and wrote his most famous novel about them, Dywizjon 303 (“303 Squadron”), which was translated into many languages and boosted the morale of Poles fighting for their freedom.
“303 Squadron”, by Arkady Fiedler, is the thrilling story of the celebrated squadron of Polish fighter pilots whose superb skill in the air helped save England. It describes the summer of 1940 and the Battle of Britain, the darkest days of World War II. France, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Norway had all been crushed by the powerful Nazi German war machine. Great Britain stood alone, fighting for its life when the skilled Polish fighter pilots came with to help.
After the war he returned to Poland and settled down with his wife near his hometown, Poznan. However, he never gave up travelling. By the end of his life, he had visited many European countries, Canada, Brazil, Indochina, and Africa. He was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta and numerous Poznań literary prizes.
During his 90-year life, he had made 30 journeys and journeys. He prepared himself very carefully for each one, studying maps and atlases, reading books about the countries he was going to, and corresponding with the local Polish diaspora.
His output includes 32 books in 23 languages and a circulation of over 10 million. His books captivate with the vividness of description, passionately and colourfully bring the reader closer to people with different skin colours, teach respect for other cultures and customs, and sing the beauty of nature.
You can see a short film about the Museum of Arkady Fiedler, which is located in Puszczykowo, next to Poznań:
This article was translated from Polish by Maria Stefaniak, KONTAKT CJO