What does “Koziołek Matołek” have in common with the 1st Armoured Division of General Maczek? Every Pole old or young knows the clever Koziołk Matołek. But, did you know that the creator of the drawings for this comic in Poland is Marian Walentynowicz, war correspondent at the 1st Armoured Division.
Marian Valentynowicz was a Polish architect, cartoonist,and writer. During the Second World War he served as a correspondent in the Armoured Division of Gen Stanisław Maczek. He described, among other things, the famous Battle of Falaise.
He designed the insignia of the “Silent Unseen”, which depicts an eagle falling from the sky for battle, and after modifications it also served as the insignia and medal for well-deserved paratroopers.
He drew the illustrations for Kornel Makuszyński's "Koziołek Matołka". He was the pioneer of Polish comics.
He was tall and very skinny. He said about himself that he looked like a knife in profile and that he had to enter the room twice to be noticed. He was ruthless to himself in caricatures.
Marian Valentynowicz was born on January 20, 1896 in St. Petersburg.
From the very beginning, his life was full of extraordinary events. During the revolution he was supposed to face a firing squad, but miraculously he managed to survive.
Then he left for Warsaw, where he began his career as a cartoonist. He studied architecture at Warsaw Polytechnic, although he only got his diploma after 17 years. His thesis was the project of a revolving airport at the intersection of Jerusalem Avenue and Marshzałkowska Street in Warsaw.
In the1930s taught at the Women's Academy of Architecture in Warsaw. He also worked as an illustrator in various Warsaw publishing houses.
Valentynowicz led an intense life. He travelled and circled the globe several times. He tried hunting in India, toured Africa and Canada. He documented his journeys, writing and drawing.
From the 1930s, he cooperated with Kornel Makuszyński to create the character Koziołek Matołek.
Together they prepared stories about the monkey Fiki-Miki and graphic elaborations of Kracow legends: “About the Wawelski Dragon" and "Wanda Lies in Our Land".
In 1939, when the Second World War broke out, Marian Valentynowicz went to Scotland via Romania and France. While in the Polish Army, Valentynowicz landed in Normandy with the 1st Armoured Division and participated in the European Campaign.
In an archival recording on Polish Radio in 1958, Marian Walentynowicz said:
"I reported in obedience. A graduated sergeant, incompetent for military service. Also, a reserve lieutenant captain during captivity, and a wartime lieutenant colonel.
Let me explain that when I got to France in 1939 I became the head of the company. My commanders were: the painter Aleksander Zyw and Józef Natanson, publicists Zygmunt Lityński, Adolf Bocheński and Czesław Jeśman, poet Jerza Paczkowski, and the famous economist Wacław Jastrzębowski. Amid the higher intelligentsia, I duly reported, and tried to influence my firm non-commissioned attitude with French cognac, wine and other alcohol".
The army had a dilemma about what to do with a lieutenant who was a qualified architect, with insufficient knowledge of military craft.
"Make me a general" he suggested laconically, and immediately became a journalist.
That is how he became a war correspondent at the 1st Armoured Division of Gen. Stanisław Maczek. He was present during the liberation of the Concentration Camp in Oberlangen.
He included his experiences in the book "War without pathos" (1969) He also did the book’s illustrations. He designed the cover for the military edition of Józef Kisielewski's book "The Earth is gathering dust".
Marian Walentynowicz died in Warsaw on August 26, 1967. He is buried in the Powązkow Cemetery in Warsaw
Krakow. A pre-war coffee shop. Hearing conversations all around. The sounds of Jewish violins can be heard from a distance. Two elegantly dressed ladies having coffee. Two men busy talking about literature. Another man is sitting in the corner. Skinny. With earthy-coloured skin. You can tell he is poor. Sad eyes looking at some point on the wall.
The conversation about literature makes you feel quiet. The talkers pay attention to the guest sitting alone.
They are Kornel Makuszyński and Marian Valentynowicz. They start a conversation with the lonely-looking man. They ask where he is from. From Pacanów he answers. and describes his house. A small and very poor town in Kieleccczy region.
The men are very preoccupied with the fate of their interlocutor. Makuszyński, as a writer, decides that he will help the town of Pacanow the best way he can, which is with a "pen". And Walentynowicz agrees with this declaration and decides to support the initiative with his extraordinary drawing talent. And that's how “Koziołek Matołek” ended up in Pacanów.
Source: P-TV Historia on Facebook -Translated from the original Polish
Copyright: Valentynowicz family