Karol Bunsch

From Family Archives

Karol Bunsch

Wawel Hill

Read by Piotr Czarnota, recorded by Radiofonia Association.
English translation: Hubert Małecki
At St Florian’s Gate the crowd was already dense since it was a market day, and from the nearby villages of Prądnik, Krowodrza, Kawiory and beyond, all that lived streamed to sell in the city the fruit of their work: produce, grain, poultry; and to purchase city-made goods in their stead. Merchants from afar were coming as well, for the road went on to Poznań, through Łęczyca, Pyzdry and Konin, and to Toruń, through Miechów and Kurzelów.

The turmoil at the gate was untold, and such throngs swarmed there one had to force their way through to pass. Long did Krzych ponder before he pressed in and started towards the gate, shoving people off with his mighty elbows, so that many cursed in response. The city’s watchmen snaked in the crowd like leeches in water, preventing pedlars from buying up the merchandise outside the city walls only to resell it for the twofold price. It was forbidden to do so as long as in the Main Square the cap remained atop a pole, signifying the market day; yet those willing to overreach the law were always plenty. Guildsmen watched out for scroungers who, in this ongoing mess, wanted to smuggle in goods that only the guilds  could trade. There was no shortage of cutpurses seeking to reap an easy profit, harlots, wandering journeymen, minstrels and bards, and common beggary. None restrained their tongues and elbows, and those responsible for keeping order would need a hundred arms or so to handle it all. Even now they were sweaty, despite the cool weather. Every  once in a while, a single cry  was heard over the clamor, uttered either by a man suffering corporal or material damage, or by some miscreant being dragged by the guardsmen to be punished, kicks and blows being lavished on him.

Krzych would have gladly withdrawn, but the crowd’s might surpassed his own, and he got pushed onto the drawbridge and through the brick gate with a double portcullis, where they all got tightly barreled in the passage. Past the gate, the crowd poured out more freely, spreading in all directions. The largest wave flowed towards the Market Square, vehicles following the muddy thoroughfare with a gutter in the middle, pedestrians treading the wooden sidewalks along the steep-roofed houses, whose gables faced the street. Smaller streams of people drifted sideways, either toward the court of St John’s, or the Hospital of the Holy Ghost. Krzych turned with them as well and walked along the city walls without haste, looking curiously around.
English translation: Hubert Małecki

Karol Bunsch

born on 22-nd February 1898 in Krakow. The family apartment was situated in the building at Retoryka street. At age 17 he joined to the Polish Legions and took part in World War I, and then in the Polish-Bolshevik war (1919-1920r.). He was wounded twice.
He finished law at the Jagiellonian University and became a doctor. He ran his own law firm being a syndic at the same time. He was a great lover of sport – he practiced athletics and shooting. He was president of the Krakow branch of the Society of Sports "Sokół", the last before the outbreak of World War II.
As a reserve officer was appointed to the army in August 1939 and took part in the September Campaign.
In 1945 he published his first novel, "Dzikowy Skarb", written during the years of occupation. Then he created a series of novels of the Piast dynasty, such as "Imiennik", "Zdobycie Kołobrzegu" "Powrotne Droga", "Wzgórze Wawelskie" and many others. He also wrote a trilogy describing Alexander the Great and his conquests. Karol Bunsch created short stories (eg. "O Zawiszy Czarnym opowieść", "Obrona Niemczy") and stories of hunting.
He was also a translator. He translated from German (Jürgen Thorwald) and English (Isadora Duncan).
Karol Bunsch died in Krakow on 24-th November 1987. He is buried at the Salvator. 
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