The MS Batory: Culture.pl Readers Share their Photographs and Memories
small, The MS Batory: Culture.pl Readers Share their Photographs and Memories, Olga Lubacz aboard the TSS Stefan Batory, 1987, photo: family archive, olga_lubacz_batory_1987_1.jpg
The fascinating story of the ‘Singing Ship’ Batory brought a wave of memories by our readers. Culture.pl thanks everybody for all their stories and photos from the decks of two transoceanic legends: the MS Batory (in service for 36 years) and her younger sister, the TSS Stefan Batory. Here they are!
Jarema plays for the passengers
Before he enlisted in the music band aboard the MS Batory and MS Piłsudski, Roman Zaremba ‘Jarema’ was a non-commissioned officer in the Polish Military Organization during World War I. He performed aboard the Batory between 1935 and 1938. From 1941, he fought in the Home Army. The photo of him and the other musicians was sent to us by Agata Dudek-Woyke, Zaremba’s granddaughter.
The love boat
Perhaps romance and flirtation on those long transatlantic journeys was an inevitability. Anna and Andrzej shared their heart-warming story:
It was the beginning of October 1975. I was working for Polish Ocean Lines at the time, and went on a cruise aboard TSS Stefan Batory along with my colleagues. Apart from us onboard, there were also some 500 miners. We went from Gdynia to Leningrad, and then to Tallinn. One night I was coming back with my friend from a dance. We were wanting to get back to the cabin, when I bumped into a college friend in the passageway. He invited us to his cabin. At first we were reluctant to go, but we gave in when it turned out he had oranges, fruits that were difficult to get back in the day. There I met Andrzej for the first time. The following day we went for a guided tour of Leningrad. We were lucky because our guide showed us a part of town closed to tourists. In the evening, we ate dinner in a restaurant for foreigners. After a couple of days, we took a tour of Tallinn together. It was a very enjoyable journey. On 28th February 1976, we got married and have now been together for 41 years We have five sons, two daughters and five grandchildren.
En route to Canada for her daughter’s wedding
In 1978, Helena Żyła went to Canada to attend the wedding of her eldest daughter Maria. She and her other daughter Dorota, who was just 5 at the time, travelled aboard the MS Batory to get there.
Olga Lubacz surrounded by TSS Stefan Batory captains
In her photo, Olga Lubacz is 9 years old. Today, she’s a painter with a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Amongst her works, she is the creator of twelve paintings painted gradually, week after week throughout the year. Each canvas represents one month and together they constitute a timeline. Her series was exhibited at the Listopad, Listopad exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw.
After years of separation, sisters Krystyna and Hanna Schmidt-Madalińska were reunited aboard the MS Batory in New York’s harbour in the summer of 1966.
Melchior Wańkowicz: reporter on the waves
Stars of Polish culture also enjoyed the charms of these voyages, as the photos ferreted out from the archives show. Below you can see the journalist Melchior Wańkowicz dining aboard the MS Batory in May 1958.
Twenty years earlier in 1936, Wańkowicz reported on the MS Batory’s southern route for Polish Radio. The 21-day voyage included stops in Dubrovnik, Barcelona, Casablanca, Lisbon, Madeira and London. Before he became charmed by the romantic atmosphere of the ship, he noted with irony:
On the maiden voyage of this most beautiful and state-of-the-art transoceanic liner, there were 620 members of the bourgeoisie, all loaded with cash... There’s not much water to see from a ship like that and it would be easiest for me to write this for a Fashion & Lifestyle column.
Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Jan Szymkiewicz’s photos
Leonard Jan Szymkiewicz was in charge of cartography for the Polish Second Corps, documenting their war route from Buzuluk, Russia, to Great Britain. The photo below shows the author of the album with his daughter Irena Małcużyńska and grandchildren, Magda and Karol, aboard the MS Batory in London in 1957.
Hanka Ordonówna aboard the Batory in 1939
A maritime film set
The MS Batory was also eagerly used by filmmakers: in 1969, the transatlantic liner was featured in Andrzej Munk’s The Passenger, as well as a number of war newsreels. Two decades later, films were shot aboard the TSS Stefan Batory, the sister ship of the legendary MS Batory. The photo below shows the film crew for Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Chance Meeting on the Atlantic.
The swinging singer
In 1937, en route to the United States aboard the MS Batory, opera singer Jerzy Czaplicki took the opportunity to swing on a ship stay line in the company of actress and singer Loda Halama.
Coming home to Gdynia, 1969: The TSS Stefan Batory returns from its first ocean cruise
Source: Culture.pl, written by AL, photo-edited by SJ, Dec 2015, translated by OK, 15 Jan 2016