Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Heroic Bricklayer

Under the principles of Social Realism, the bricklayer was glorified as an ideal worker. Bricklayers were organized into teams and the productivity of each team was measured in percent compared to a norm. Teams competed against each other and the most productive teams were acclaimed at public ceremonies. The 1953 movie Przygoda na Mariensztacie, filmed in Warsaw during the reconstruction, revolves around a romance between two bricklayers. Themes of socialist work and gender equality are examined. I can't understand Polish, but it seemed like the romance was shaken when Janka's women's bricklaying team outperformed her lover Hanka's. Look at minute 4:20 of this video for an idea of the atmosphere. (Also, at minute 8:30 of this video you can see the productivities of the teams being displayed- up to 300%!)

On Marszałkowska street, a statue of a bricklayer is built into a niche in one of the buildings. 

"The statue of the Bricklayer depicts an authentic bricklayer, Władysław Górecki, sculpted on the basis of a photo ‘because he had no time to pose’. Górecki and his two companions from a leading bricklaying brigade of three, Matla and Gumkowski, were also immortalized on a 5-zloty postage stamp."

- Landmarks of People’s Poland in Warsaw, page 112

"The Whole Nation is Building its Capital"
(image taken from the book Warszawa: Ballada o okaleczonym mieście)

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