The urn carrying Stanislaw Mrozek's ashes is conducted through Krakow. Photo: PAP/Stanislaw Rozpedzik
Minister of Culture Bodgan Zdrojewski described the late writer as a “wise master of the grotesque” during today's funeral ceremony at Krakow's Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
“We are conscious that a certain cultural epoch is ending for us,” Zdrojewski reflected.
“In less than a decade, we have bidden farewell to Wislawa Szymborszka, Jerzy Nowosielski, Jerzy Jarocki, and before them [Stanislaw] Lem and [Czeszlaw] Milosz,” he said.
While at the church, Mrozek's Mexican-born widow Susana Osorio-Mrozek was presented with a posthumous honour for her late husband by the head of President Bronislaw Komorowski's office, Jacek Michalowski (pictured below).
Michalowski conferred on the late writer the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, one of the country's highest honours.
Later, Archbishop of Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz led family, friends and dignitaries to the crypts, where a new national pantheon has been created.
Although the pantheon lies beneath the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, the space was deconsecrated to allow for burial of non-Christians.
However, according to his widow’s request, Mrozek's funeral had a religious character.
Born in Borzecin, southern Poland, in 1930, Mrozek attended high school and university in Krakow. He also began his career in journalism, cabaret and theatre in the city.
Although loyal to the Poland's Soviet-backed communist regime as a young scribe, his tone turned satirical and he defected to the West in 1963.
Short stories such as The Elephant and his play Tango are now regarded as classics of their times. highlighting the absurdities of life in a totalitarian state.
In 1990, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, he received the honorary citizenship of Krakow and six years later, having returned to Poland after over three decades abroad, he settled in Krakow and lived there until 2008, when he left Poland again for Nice, France, where he died last month.
City authorities approved the concept of a new pantheon after space ran out at the crypts of the city's so-called Church on the Rock, resting place of cultural luminaries including writer Czeslaw Milosz and composer Karol Szymanowski. (nh/mk)
Stanislaw Mrozek's widow Susana Osorio-Mrozek is presented with a posthumous honour, the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, for her late husband by the head of President Bronislaw Komorowski's office, Jacek Michalowski. Photo. PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk