Jerzy Stuhr

Photo by Paweł Piotrowski

Jerzy Stuhr

The Stuhrs. Family Stories

Read by Wojciech Barczyński, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
English translation: Małgorzata Handzel

            After Grandma Masia’s death, it was not certain what to do with the tenement house in Celna Street. The three Stuhr brothers had already died. The only living descendants of the family were my father, his son – that is, myself – and my own son Maciek, born in June 1975.

            My father refused to have anything to do with the house – he even ceased to go to Celna Street. He made me his plenipotentiary with regard to all inheritance issues. What it boiled down to was that I transferred to his account part of the income from maintaining the house. This house, which was the site of so many family passions, conflicts and attachments, suddenly became strange to us. It was now inhabited by strangers. It not only slipped away from our hands, but also from our thoughts and feelings.

            No sooner had Piotr Łazarkiewicz invited me to join his project of shooting ten-minute films about Krakow by directors associated with this city than I realized how important the family property is for me. At once I hit upon an idea of making a film about a Krakow tenement house and a pensioner living there, inspired by Grandma Masia. I would show how the amiable elderly lady cuts a lacy collar out of a piece of paper and adorns her black blouse with it, just as Grandma Masia did when she run out of money for a new blouse. I would show how she puts up with the freezing cold house after the gas supply was turned off and she can’t afford to have the equipment repaired, yet she goes to a concert in the Krakow Cloth Hall anyway since music is something she lives and breathes. For me, my grandma was a symbol of fight for maintaining proper social level despite the poverty of those days. As regards the house where she lived, I considered it a symbol of putting down roots in this city.


English translation: Małgorzata Handzel

Jerzy Stuhr

(b. 1947) – a film and theatre actor, director. The Stuhrs hail from Austria. In 1879, the artist’s great-grandfather decided to settle in a satellite town of Krakow, which the Podgórze district was at the time. Setting up a restaurant in a townhouse in its Market Square was a project bringing sufficient profit for the family to stay in Galicia for good. Nearly one hundred years later, in 1972, his descendant, Jerzy, graduated from Krakow’s Stata Draa School (PWST) and began acting at the Stary Theatre, which he was connected to until 1991. Stuhr cooperated with Poland’s most eminent directors – Andrzej Wajda, Agnieszka Holland, and Krzysztof Kieślowski. His roles in Wodzirej (Top Dog) and Seksmisja (Sexmission) have made history. In 2012, he published an extremely personal book Tak sobie myślę... (I’m just thinking), describing among others his victorious fight against laryngeal cancer. (ms)


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