People

Agnieszka Osiecka

For me, it’s close from the heart to the paper – Agnieszka Osiecka, Rozmowy w tańcu (1992)

text by: Natalia Semczuk

Agnieszka Osiecka was undoubtedly a truly amazing person. She wrote approximately 2000 songs and as many short stories, essays, feuilletons, reportages, screenplays and books. In 1972 she coined an advertising slogan “Coca cola – to jest to!” (literally: “Coca cola – this is it”) which was not only popular in Poland, but also echoed all over the world. For 7 years she was the host of Radiowe Studio Piosenki in the Polish Radio, which released over 500 songs and allowed to promote the greatest Polish stars of that time. She lived her life in a very European way, engaging in many short-term relationships with men from her environment.  She had a daughter Agata with Daniel Passent, a Polish journalist and diplomat of Jewish origin but her biggest love was Marek Hłasko. She broke up with him after he moved to the USA. In 1997 she was posthumously awarded Commander’s Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta in recognition of her outstanding achievements for Polish culture. Younger generations know her mainly thanks to the singing competition “Let us Remember Agnieszka Osiecka” and The Okularnicy Foundation which takes care of Osiecka’s legacy by taking part in numerous events devoted to our Polish Madonna of pop music.

Others about Agnieszka Osiecka

She was an exceptionally curious person, and only then a beautiful girl – never a woman. At first, I felt like her younger friend, and as the years passed by, this changed into a feeling of being her much older sister. It was because I had this impression of getting more and more mature, contrary to her. The very concept of maturity simply didn’t fit her. She didn’t want to grow old. She was intelligent, young, sensitive, she had and incredible sense of observation and a great talent which must have been a gift from God. Yet, till the end, she remained an “irresponsible youngster”. – Magda Umer

My contacts with Osiecka came through different stages of intensity, becoming very frequent after she had married my friend, Daniel Passent. (…) She had this unusual trait, the ability to listen to others with kindness. Before you even noticed, you were telling her about your most intimate affairs. Even I, reluctant to share my experiences, after a couple minutes of conversation, felt how opened she was, how eager to listen to me talking about my problems, how focused she was – but not on herself. On me. She never said a bad thing about anyone, on the contrary, she tried to show appreciation to everyone. In her environment, where competition was the source of intrigues and tension between people, she seemed to be an angel. (…) The atmosphere around her was full of joy of life and fun. – Jerzy Urban

Osiecka was the source of problems for her epoch. Not only did she have different faces, but also she was doing everything the other way round. She was untamed in those areas of life that were supposed to show stability. She was joking while talking about lofty ideas. Time passes by, making memories about the ordinary fade away. Only the most distinguished individuals are saved from oblivion. Today, it can be seen more clearly than decades ago that Osiecka, although back then not taken seriously enough, proved to be years ahead of her time. How? By pragmatic and consequent management of her work. By exercising freedom to the full, by perceiving reality in a cosmopolitan way. And finally, by blazing the trail of woman self-reliance. (…) As she said, her life was a novel full of adventures, not all of them written in a good taste.Ula Ryciak

 

Subjective view of Agnieszka Osiecka

I have been thinking how to describe Agnieszka Osiecka for a long time… As a child, she survived the war, which she reminisced surprisingly positive (first, her family was hiding in the basements of Warsaw’s houses. Later on, Osiecka was sent to the transit camp in Pruszków, to finally end up in the labour camp in St. Pölten). After she had come back to Warsaw, she was ostracised by her friends from Saska Kępa only because she wasn’t rich enough. To make matters worse, her father not only wasn’t a Pole, but was also accused of having an affair with Józefina Pellegrini. Between 1952 and 1956 Osiecka studied at the Faculty of Journalism of the University of Warsaw. She also studied in the Film Direction Department of the National Film School in Łódź between 1957 and 1962. While she was working in the theatre and the radio, she was constantly writing. Although her adulthood is seen as perfect and successful, she never achieved the happiness of true love.
Everyone knows her songs, despite she had never sung one. In each and every piece we can find a tiny part of herself. We can read between the lines to find all the emotions she felt at a particular time. Thanks to these songs we know that she had stronger bonds with her mother (Majka Jeżowska – A ja wolę moją mamę, literally: “I prefer my mum”), that she hoped to go back home after the war was over (Edmund Fetting – Ballada o pancernych, literally: “Ballad of the tankmen”), that she was disappointed in one of the boys from Saska Kępa (Maryla Rodowicz – Małgośka), that she never accepted long-distance relationships (Seweryn Krajewski – Uciekaj moje serce, literally: “Flee, my heart”), and that she hoped to be remembered (Seweryn Krajewski – Kiedy mnie już nie będzie, literally: “When I’ll be gone”)