Marta Komsta: Destination – Eutopia: Nowa Huta in Polish Documentaries
Destination – Eutopia: Nowa Huta in Polish Documentaries
From villages and little towns, they come in cartsto build a foundry and dream out a city,dig out of the earth a new Eldorado.
Adam Ważyk“A Poem for Adults”
The history of Nowa Huta, “Poland’s ‘first socialist city’” (Lebow 386) is a history of distinctly utopian origins. Its construction was a vital element of a greater vision on the part of the communist authorities to “transform Poland’s almost feudal and peasant culture into a Marxist and proletarian utopia” (Janus 453) in the aftermath of the Second World War. The Lenin Steelworks, one of the project’s key components, was to become the core element of the utopian realm in the course of the Six-Year Plan and the name of the town, Nowa Huta, meaning “new steelworks” in Polish, was a potent clue as to the means with which the communist state orchestrated its political and economic vision.1 Katarzyna Zechenter observes that “[t]he symbolic meaning of Nowa Huta was not only in its being the largest steelworks in post-1945 Poland, but mostly in providing living proof of the benefits of ‘intensive Stalinist industrialization.’” “It was to transform Poland into a new ← 125 | 126 → industrial power,” notes Zechenter. “It was to be surrounded by a model socialist city, home to a new conscientious workforce. … According to a worker from Nowa Huta, it was to be the ideal city and ‘a symbol of...
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