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Miedzianka: Story of Disappearing [Miedzianka. Historia znikania], Filip SPRINGER
published by Czarne, Wołowiec 2011

Coppferberge, Kopferberg, Kupferberg, and later Miedzianka. A town; and in the town – a church, bakery, pharmacist's, inn, brewery, paper-mill, forge and hairdresser's. There were weddings there, children were born, somebody died. Supposedly, the town was cursed as at some point, a man murdered his own brother. And two crosses were put up beside the road: one of them read: ”Memento”, so the tragedy would not go forgotten. ”History has never really arrived here; more adequately, it just kept wandering about the neighbourhood”, writes Filip Springer in his debut book about the town which used to exist but does not anymore. The process of disappearing started with a cherry tree, devoured one time by a crack in the ground; the tree still had fruit on its top branches. Houses, tombs, started to sink deeper and deeper into the ground. People would vanish into thin air. Girls played with crystals from church chandeliers and boys reached into old, derelict graves to take out old skulls buried long before. What made the town, the seven-centuries-old town, cease to exist? Are the damages resulting from Uranium excavations conducted by the Russians between 1948 and 1952 to blame? Or, maybe, the underlying cause was the Evil Woman mentioned by the one-time Miedzianka inhabitants who fled the town? This polyphonic story of Miedzianka does not provide answers for all posed questions but the memory of the town has been preserved.

Filip Springer

Filip Springer
(b. 1982 in Poznań) – photographer (member of and journalist, whose works are published in all-Poland magazines such as ”Polityka” weekly. In 2010, he received a grant awarded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage and in 2012, he was included in the ”Młoda Polska” (”Young Poland”) grant programme of the National Cultural Centre. Filip Springer co-created a project under the name “Ill - Bred” (”Źle Urodzone”), dedicated to documenting historic buildings of the post-war Modernist era in Poland and presenting them to broad audiences; in March 2012, a book covering this issue was published by Karakter. ”Miedzianka: Story of Disappearing” (”Miedzianka. Historia znikania”) is Filip Spinger's début in the field of literature.

Piotr Mitzner, Jury Member, about Filip Springer's book

"A reporter is usually a person who tells stories of what they witness with their own eyes. The world Filip Springer writes about had ceased to exist before the author of this ”story of disappearing” was even born. Therefore, he makes use of other people's memories as well as available chronicles and documents. He leads his narrative perfectly, steering clear from overwhelming readers with superfluous details. All the approximations and dates seem really necessary here.
Miedzianka, once formerly Kupferberg and earlier still Cuprifodina: settlement-turned-miner's town in Lower Silesia.
It was razed to the ground in the early 1970s and that was the ultimate blow stroke by the Beast, as Springer calls history. The Beast circles round Miedzianka, approaches, strikes, sets houses on fire, ushers troops and secret service in, kidnaps inhabitants. The Beast is not only history, clad in various armies' battle dresses. It is also simply fate. Fate that brings plague and starts fires, even if the direct cause of the town's destruction is a conflagration Ms Mansche triggers carelessly while melting pork fat over fire.
Of course, in the six hundred-year-long history of Miedzianka, there are moments of happiness, years of calmness and relative welfare. Copper and silver are excavated, exquisite (supposedly) beer is brewed, people live peacefully, love one another, have a good time, dance... And all of the sudden, the ground starts to cave in under their feet. It is a result of wasteful exploitation of all kinds of natural resources. Walls of houses crack. Then, the time of Hitler comes and afterwards, the land gets labelled ”regained territory” and both tradition and people get uprooted. Once again, mountains' treasures are wrenched from the nature; now under Soviet scrutiny, as in this case it is uranium ore we are talking about. In houses where Germans lived a while earlier, Poles settle while the walls crack even more. Nobody feels like saving the town. The ultimate destruction becomes a fact in the early 1970s.
And it is so as to oppose this annihilation, against the stream of time, as a result of a thorough analysis of each and every accidentally preserved detail, that Filip Springer's brilliant novel was written."

Piotr Mitzner


Miedzianka: Story of Disappearing [Miedzianka. Historia znikania]

published by Czarne, Wołowiec 2011