Breslau + 1945 EP

Igor Boxx
Breslau + 1945 EP

ZEN166X

Released 29/11/2010

Wroclaw, the city of peace

"I was born in Wroclaw, which back then, in the 60s, was the Polish hub of psychedelic music. The psychedelia of my childhood stemmed from the fact, that even though 20 years had passed since the end of World War II, its weight and results were still felt in my city. I’ve spent my early years in a decrepit tenement building, which my mother was banished to from her home city of Lvov. The structure survived because it was adjacent to a massive bunker. The rest of the street was mostly demolished, but stumps of buildings from past era remained, giving me and my friends something to climb on. Every now and then, one of us recovered a piece of metal from wet cellars. In our imagination, it became a fragment of a German soldier’s helmet. These fantasies were fueled by propaganda, making it seem as if the war was still going and more work would be needed to finally attain victory. On that repulsive street, called Ladna (Pretty), we were playing war games. Meanwhile, the government christened Wroclaw 'the city of peace'.

Living in this city created a disturbing feeling of being in an alternate universe, like in a Philip K. Dick novel. Everything was post-German but people. At the Olympic Stadium, once named after Herman Goering, I witnessed the finish of the Race of Peace bicycle stage and saw cup matches of Slask Wroclaw soccer team. I went to my first concerts and American disaster movies at People’s Hall; according to an urban legend, the base of its large dome was a swastika covered by white-red and yellow-red flags. Indeed, Hitler once spoke in there, but it was built, under the name of Centennial Hall, twenty years before he rose to power. It was hard to believe that Germans weren’t always Nazis, especially in Breslau, which was the second main supporter of the Nazi Party in the 1932 elections. On the other hand, attempts to force the Polish heritage on both the city and its inhabitants were also irritating. As a way to combat the black and white propaganda, I called my first imaginary band Breslau SS (inspired by name of English punk group London SS). Ten years later, as an aspiring rapper, I’ve put the rhyme “Wroclaw is chained, Breslau it remained” into the lyrics of my first song (mostly as a reaction the spread of Nazi skinheads in the city). I chose to end my rapping adventure before it ever had a chance to develop into something substantial, but I like that line to this day. However, I now give it a different meaning and have changed it to “Wroclaw has reigned but some Breslau remained”. Instead of an MC, I became a DJ. My professional career started at Kolor club set up in a shelter underneath Nowy Targ square, which offered a wide range of entertainment services also during the war. In this city, one can’t live solely in the present.

The 'Breslau' album isn’t another “historical project” to be performed at schools and tribute ceremonies. It’s a personal expression, an attempt at sorting out my relationship with the city I live in.

If there’s any historical commentary behind the album, it’s that in the game of times we’re not always players. Every so often we’re just pawns moved around the board by other parties. Polish history is not the same thing as history of the world. In Breslau circa 1945, it happened without our involvement. We got the city by default, from empires dividing the spoils of war. The history of Poland and the country itself are not most important, although they can be significant in their own way. People and their lives are most important, regardless of their nationality."

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