36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 334: Krakow, scenes of life


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 334 — Krakow, scenes of life
01-Jul-1972 (Sat.)


Krakow church
Krakow church


Finally left the room (capitalists). Went sightseeing.

Vietnam propaganda. Public display. Glorifies the North Vietnamese as people (women, children) fighting for their freedom. The pictures show them smiling as they make weapons. Sick propaganda. Yesterday, Heinrich said the North Vietnamese were the aggressors.

Walked into the “real” Poland. The small streets. The stores hardly have anything, compared to us. Price of televisions is 8,000zl.

Sometimes watching the strassebahn is like watching a Charlie Chaplin movie—they wobble along (sideways, up and down).

Women’s “lib.” Women here do a lot, like driving the strassebahns.

Russian soldiers around. People don’t seem to like it.

Fed the pigeons in the square. Sat down, one flew into my hand.

Met another very young adolescent Polish kid. Like most adolescents, trying to play the part of grown ups. I was forced into smoking his Egyptian cigarette because he wanted me to have a good cigarette as compared to a Polish one. He also wanted to be a capitalist.

Went to a movie and thought it was going to be Polish but it turned out to be French. Very dramatic. Very drab. Matches the life. A few “shorts” also. One public service announcement on syphilis (good idea). Another, political news propaganda showing smiling workers drinking the crap soda. Sort of a laugh because everyone was smiling.

Late. Heard a band in a club. Not too bad. Didn’t seem to be too many clubs around.


Left my room. I was happy to leave my capitalist friends at the room I was staying in. I suspect that I brought my luggage to the train station.

Scenes of life. In Krakow, I spend today trying to be like a normal person. Not sightseeing.

• I am upset by the obvious propoganda portraying the North Vietnamese as freedom fighters and the U.S. as the villains. The communists were, after all, in control and I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised.

• The stores are empty, not having a lot of goods for consumption. What we consider normal expense (TV) is high for the people.

• People watching is always fun. As always, most people are like everyone else. Normal. All everyone wants is to work, prosper, and provide for the family. Women take a prominent role doing all types of jobs.

• Russian soldiers are always around. If you are in the U.S., picture Chinese soldiers with weapons patrolling everywhere you went. That’s what it would feel like behind the iron curtain. No one likes to be occupied.

• All young students have hopes, dreams, and aspirations. That’s what most of this blog has been about—my aspirations when I was a young 22-year old student. The Polish students likely know that their opportunities are fewer than in the west. Thus latching on to material things that are unattainable or more difficult to get (like Egyptian cigarettes) gives them some sense of getting an upper hand on the system. Ok, it’s too philosophical but the young need freedom to find their paths and attain their goals and dreams. The west has such opportunities, communism never did. We won.

Krakow bazaar
Krakow bazaar
Pigeons in Krakow
Pigeons in Krakow


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