Private archives as our communal property - on how to share what we have.
When we were packing his library, he was moved to tears. He said he was lucky to be able to share it with the EFC Foundation and our scholars. It was the most precious thing he owned.
Andrzej Markowski – journalist, art historian, intellectualist, film critic, sailor, traveler, a determined activist against communism and any oppressive regime, an energetic political commentator, author of the phrase “cinema of moral anxiety” and philanthropist. A participant of the demonstrations at the Gdańsk shipyard in 1980. During martial law - a shop assistant in Warsaw, a cook in London, a construction worker in New York.
Right before he died, Andrzej Markowski gifted the EFC Foundation with his entire library - his lifetime collection of almost 8 thousand publications. The books were given to the Szczekociny School Complex, vastly expanding the institution’s library.
In the words of Mirosław Skrzypczyk, a Polish literature teacher in the Szczekociny high school: Andrzej Markowski created his wonderful collection throughout his entire life. Most of his library contains exceptional literature - both Polish and international. XXth century writers have a special place in this book collection, which is a testimony to the journalist’s interest in the modern world and its challenges. It consists of numerous publications on history, but most of all, the history of art. Readers will also find volumes on sailing, alpinism, and travelling. It is clear that the library was built in a thoughtful, but at the same time passionate way, by a curious intellectual and a conscious reader. When looking through the collection, it is easy to notice that the books were read avidly, were brought to life and lived together with their owner. They give us a glimpse of his passions, fascinations and search for knowledge. They are witnesses to the experiences and choices of a Polish intelligent, who could not live, work, and create without reading. It was the process of reading for Markowski which enabled him to join a dialogue with others - other books, other writers, other great thinkers.
This personal collection is now part of a community, which promises to take care of it, thrive thanks to it, and use it as creatively as possible. It is a masterpiece which should be appreciated not only through individual books, but also as a whole - it is as a whole they can tell us a fascinating story of post-war Polish intelligence.
Andrzej Markowski passed away in October, 2020, in Warsaw.