The outstanding actor Franciszek Pieczka was buried in the cemetery in Aleksandrów. The funeral was a state ceremony, President Andrzej Duda gave a speech in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A funeral mass was celebrated in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Warsaw’s Falenica. The coffin with the body of Franciszek Pieczka was placed in a grave in the cemetery in Aleksandrów.
The actor’s funeral was of a state nature. The mass was attended by, among others, President Andrzej Duda, Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage Wanda Zwinogrodzka, as well as many people from the world of film, theater and culture. The setting for the funeral mass was prepared by the “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble Stanisław Hadyna.
The president, speaking during the mass, said that “Polishness and Silesianness were combined into the soul of Franciszek Pieczka”. – He worked in the mine, dreaming of the cinema. He showed with his life that a film can build a human being – he said.
– It is not only a farewell to a great actor, it is not only a farewell to a great figure of the Polish theater and film scene for decades, since the 1950s. It is also a farewell to a man whose life, one can certainly say, was the life of a model man. An extremely decent man, an extremely reliable man, an extremely human man. Kind people. A good man and noble at the same time in many meanings of the word – emphasized the president. – I do not know if there is any viewer in our country who knows Franciszek Pieczka only as a stage or film character who could raise at least one accusation against him. I don’t think so, he said.
He added that Franciszek Pieczka was liked and respected “as an actor, Silesian, Pole”. – This is a role model for many of us – said Duda. – He was a good man, and at the same time extremely noble. (…) He was extremely appreciated and liked for all his roles, until his last performances – stated the president.
The Minister of Culture, Piotr Gliński, in a letter read out by Deputy Minister Zwinogrodzka, assessed that “Franciszek Pieczka was a master of the profession, and at the same time a man full of modesty and kindness to others”. “Such an image of the artist, preserved in the memories of his relatives, friends and recipients of his talent, will remain in the eternal memory” – he wrote.
Franciszek Pieczka – an outstanding actor
Franciszek Pieczka died on Friday, he was 94 years old. He was born on January 18, 1928 in Godowo in Upper Silesia. He obtained the diploma of the State Higher School of Theater in Warsaw in 1954. He took his first steps as an actor on the stages of theaters, incl. Teatr Dolnośląski in Jelenia Góra and the People’s Theater in Nowa Huta.
At the same time, he made his film debut. In 1954 he played in Andrzej Wajda’s “Generation”, in 1960 in Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s “Mother Joan of the Angels”, and in 1964 in “The Saragossa Manuscript” by Wojciech Jerzy Has.
The role of Gustlik Jelenia won the audience’s sympathy
The year 1966 was a real breakthrough for Pieczka, when the shooting for the series “Czterej pancerni i pies” (“Four Tankers and a Dog”) (1966-1970) began. As Gustlik Jeleń, a member of the crew of the “Rudy” tank, together with Janusz Gajos, Włodzimierz Press and Roman Wilhelmi, he won the audience’s sympathy.
While working on the set of the series, Pieczka also appeared in films by Henryk Kluba – “Chudy i inne” (1966) and “The Sun Rises Once a Day” (1967). He received excellent marks for his performance in the poetic “Życie Mateusz” by Witold Leszczyński (1967), where he created the tragic figure of an oversensitive man with a child’s soul.
The film oeuvre of Pieczka also includes the performances of, among others, in “Perle w koronie” by Kazimierz Kutz (1971), “Wesele” by Andrzej Wajda (1972), “Chłopach” by Jan Rybkowski (1973). Pieczka also played the memorable roles of the old Kiemlicz in Jerzy Hoffman’s “The Deluge” (1974) and the German manufacturer Muller in Wajda’s “The Promised Land” (1974).
He also appeared in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s “Blizna” (1976) and – as the innkeeper Tag – in Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s “Austeria” (1982). In 1993 he played in Jan Jakub Kolski’s “Jańcie Wodnik”, and in 2001 he played the role of St. Piotr in the adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s “Quo vadis” by Kawalerowicz. In recent years, the audience watched Pieczka in the role of Stach Japycz in the television series “Ranch”.
Knight of the Order of the White Eagle
In 2011, Franciszek Pieczka was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for outstanding services to the national culture. In 2015, he was awarded the Polish Eagle Film Award for Achievements in Life. In 2017, he was awarded the Order of the White Eagle.
Main photo source: PAP / Leszek Szymański