Historical story

The best export "commodity" of the Polish People's Republic? Famous Polish women in the USSR

In the USSR and post-Soviet Russia, Polish actresses and singers enjoyed, and still enjoy, unflagging popularity. In fact, some of the artists who are not well known or forgotten in their homeland are still superstars there!

The 83-year-old star of the stage, Edyta Piecha, is the epitome of timeless elegance for almost half of Russia's inhabitants. Always dressed in airy chiffon dresses, with a huge flower-shaped brooch and impeccable hairstyle, the same for years. Although she moved to the USSR in 1955, she has not lost her foreign accent to this day (interestingly, the singer speaks Polish ... with a Russian accent).

Banned Songs

Piecha came to Leningrad to study at the university there. Her life was marked by poverty - in the mid-1930s, the parents of the future artist emigrated to France, where Edyta was born in 1937. My father started working in a coal mine, and as a result he contracted silicosis and died. After a few years, Edyta's older brother was affected by the disease.

In 1946, the family returned to Poland. When Edyta received a scholarship from the University of Leningrad in 1955, she saw it as her great opportunity. First of all, the scholarship for foreign students was five times higher than the average salary of a Soviet worker. In Leningrad, Piecha joined a student music group, with which she performed at the New Year's Eve party and encore four times. And that was just the beginning of her career.

Edyta Piecha is the epitome of timeless elegance for almost half of Russia's inhabitants.

The Polish woman made a sensation thanks to her low voice and bigbit repertoire. She was the first on stage to put on a short skirt, took the microphone off the stand and began talking to the audience. She became a role model for millions of young women who copied her styles and hairstyles .

Suddenly, after several years of performances, the artistic council of the Leningrad Stage decided that Piecha was a "jazz-pub" singer and ordered her to stop her activities. The Polish woman went to Moscow, to an important official in the Ministry of Culture. There she struck the ideological tones:“I am Polish, the daughter of a miner, born in France. I know the Polish and French stages, why its best models cannot be transferred to the USSR? " . This argument was enough - the ban on performing was withdrawn. Thanks to this, she could later present her talent, among others before Khrushchev, Gorbachev or Fidel Castro.

"Viewers were just freaking out"

Anna German was a Polish citizen, but after her untimely death in 1982, she fell into oblivion on the Vistula River. In the USSR and post-Soviet Russia, the love for her songs and crystal clear voice never died out.

Anna had a Slavic sensibility, although not a drop of Slavic blood flowed in her veins. Her maternal ancestors, Irma, were Mennonites from the Netherlands who came to Russia under Catherine II. The father, Eugeniusz, was of German origin. Anna was born in Urgench, Uzbekistan, in 1936. Two years later, her father was killed during the Stalinist repression . The girl's mother decided that in order to save the family, one had to leave the Soviet Union. The woman entered into a fictitious wedding with a Pole, Herman Gerner, which allowed Anna, her grandmother and mother to move west in 1946.

Anna German student card.

Years later, Anna German returned to the Soviet Union as a popular singer. As her Russian biographer, Ivan Ilyichov, writes, all Polish artists were warmly welcomed in the USSR, but when Anna appeared on stage, the audience simply went crazy. . There were always more people willing to watch German's performance than tickets. Fans asked the tour organizers for additional concerts, but the artist did not agree. She explained her refusal by saying that she was not able to give two shows a day because that would be lying to the audience.

Anna wrote letters from the Soviet Union to her relatives - mother and husband of Zbigniew Tucholski. She often described her triumphs on the local stages in them. At a concert in Donetsk, where each performer was to perform only one song, Annie was allowed to leave the stage only after four. During the annual performance in the Concert Hall in the Kremlin, German was the only event participant to encore at the clear request of the audience. She herself received thousands of letters from admirers from all corners of the USSR.

After Anna's premature death, her songs continued to be broadcast on Soviet radio and television, her star was unveiled. For thousands of ordinary citizens, she personified femininity and class. Poles remembered her only in 2013, when Polish television broadcast the Russian-Ukrainian series "Anna German. The mystery of the white angel. ”

The embodiment of dreams

Barbara Brylska is also a favorite of the public in Russia. The actress starred in the comedy by Eldar Ryazanov "Ironija sudby, ili s legkim parom" (known in Poland as "Happy New Year"). The film, which premiered on December 31, 1975, immediately made the Polish woman a star and became one of the cult TV productions of the Soviet Union. Since then, the comedy could be watched every year on all TV programs on December 31. Well, even today this film is an inseparable element of the New Year celebrations, and quotes from it entered the everyday language of Russians.

The plot of the production is banal and somewhat absurd. On December 31, the main character Yevgeny (Zhenya) Lukashin, a resident of Moscow, declares to his fiancée Gala in his apartment. Then he goes to the bathhouse, where he is to see his school friends. One of them flies to Leningrad in the evening of the same day. Men do not pour out by the collar and ... forget which of them is planning a trip. One of the participants of the event deduces that Zenia is drunk. This is how Łukaszyn gets on the plane.

Barbara Brylska in 1978

After landing in Leningrad, the hero gets into a taxi and gives his Moscow address. When he reaches his apartment, does not notice that he is not in this city, because during the Soviet times, the same blocks were built everywhere, and the furniture was not very diverse. He goes to sleep, but soon - to his surprise - a woman he does not know appears in the apartment. She is a beautiful 34-year-old Nadia, the owner of the place, played by Barbara Brylska. Initially, the couple dislike each other, but during the New Year's Eve night, Zhenya and Nadia fall in love with each other and throw up their current partners.

The film was coldly received in Poland. So why did it gain such popularity in the USSR? Because the New Year was and is a favorite holiday in the entire post-Soviet area, and on New Year's Eve people expect a change in their fortunes. The comedy with Brylska in the lead role embodies the longing for happiness and love, while proving that life can change for the better.

Unfortunately, as Brylska herself admitted, the success in the Soviet Union caused the dissatisfaction of the Polish filmmakers' environment and inhibited her career. But in Russia, the artist is still a star of the greatest format:she was a juror in the talent show "Two tours" ("Two stars"), she is invited to film festivals, takes part in television programs, and often hosts Russian journalists at her home in Wyszków.


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  2. Ильичев И. М. Анна Герман:сто воспоминаний о великой певице. Алгоритм, 2016.
  3. Лопатин А. . Эдита. Эксмо, 2007.