Little-known histories from Central & Eastern Europe that changed our world...
Heard of how The Rolling Stones played for the Communist Party? The bear who fought in WWII? Or the man who single-handedly created an entire language?
Each episode of our narrative podcast tells incredible stories that all have one thing in common: the Eastern West.
The Pioneer: Jan Ptaszyn Wróbleski
It may be hard to believe, but when Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski started playing music, jazz was censored in Poland. As a result of Stalin’s cultural politics that governed what kinds of art and culture could be consumed in the country. However, these rigid policies only made jazz more appealing, leading many young people across the country, like Ptaszyn, to fall in love with it.
The Queen: Urszula Dudziak
Urszula’s love for unruly musical experiments got her kicked out from music school when she was a young girl. A few years later, she stumbled upon The Voice of America - a radio station meant to bring American culture and censorship-free news to people locked up behind the Iron Curtain. This program is where Urszula heard jazz for the first time. From then on, Urszula started developing her distinctive style of wordless vocalisation that can transport listeners to another dimension.
Announcing: Rebel Spirits
Five Polish jazz musicians who came of age in the 1950s became mesmerised by the music they heard on the outlawed American radio station Voice of America.
You’ll hear how they went from learning to play jazz from worn-out vinyls to becoming icons that continue to inspire the music world today.
Hosted by Paweł Brodowski, Rebel Spirits is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Coming June 2021. Available wherever you get your podcasts, and on Culture.pl.
Meet Marian Marzyński, a child holocaust survivor who dissects the past with his camera.
In 1967, Marian was a popular TV show host and filmmaker in Poland. But then a seemingly faraway military clash sparked an unexpected conflict within the Polish communist party that led its Jewish members to be accused of anti-Polish sentiments.
How a Czech puppeteer and his puppets took on Nazi Germany.
In 1938, Hitler's forces marched into Czechoslovakia, a country that had only gained its independence two decades earlier. A puppeteer named Josef Skupa was ready to fight back with the help of Spejbl and Hurvínek – a father son duo of wooden puppets. All three were destined to become household names in the Czech Republic, a country that takes its puppets seriously...
Hear the testimony of one of a handful of people left who experienced the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp through adult eyes.
Back in 2019, we got the chance to interview Anastasija Gulej. She was 95 at the time, living a happy life in one of Kyiv's suburbs. If you didn’t know her, you’d never tell be able to tell that she wakes up every day with the horrors of her past. Her past as an Auschwitz-Birkenau inmate.