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Safiera Coffee

photo by Katarzyna Cieślik.

Safiera Coffee

Until 1939 this building housed a Café and Vegetarian Restaurant, run by Henryk Szafir (Safier). Colloquially called “Szmatka” (Rag), after a piece of cloth which a wind blew over here one day in 1923 from the Vistula River, and which was stopped by the Café’s iron signboard protruding from the building at Dietla 51. This now legendary café was an extremely popular venue among Kraków’s Jewish and non-Jewish bohème. Jewish theater actors, Polish artists and writers, painters, sculptors, Jewish political activists and lawyers, and then also creators of the Cricot Theater used to frequent the café. Manuel Rympel beautifully depicted “Szmatka” in a memoir collection about prewar Kraków, called Kopiec wspomnień (The Mound of Memories, 1964).

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