Stowarzyszenie Willa Decjusza

Wisława Szymborska and Karl Dedecius

The Villa Decius Association is a non-governmental cultural institution established in 1995 to foster a dialogue between European intellectuals and to encourage the ideals of democratic thinking and integration, with particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe. In its programmes the Villa Decius Association emphasizes the role of the artist in community dialogue, the protection of cultural heritage, the issues of ethnic minorities and the development of tolerance. Since 1998 Villa Decius invites European writers, translators of literature, and literary critics for longer scholarships. Villa Decius Association has its seat in a Renaissance Palace in Krakow, Poland.

There were three events in 1996 that were to change my life to a greater or lesser extent. Firstly, the Polish poetess Wisława Szymborska received the Nobel Prize for Literature in Stockholm. Secondly, Villa Decius

de Decius." Dedecius asked in his memoirs: "What could Szymborska have meant, aside from the joke? I have come to understand her allusion over time. No, this Decius was not one of my ancestors [...]; but his name has been associated with mine time and again."

Dedecius or Decius? Who do I prefer? Justus Decius gave us a wonderful place to be. Karl Dedecius gave us access to another (literary) world. We, the Polish and the Germans, owe this great translator a great deal: the German Poland Institute, the Villa Decius, (indirectly) the "Karl Dedecius Translator Prize" and of course countless wonderful adaptations from Polish. It is hard to weigh up which idea or initiative is the most important.

Paul-Richard Gromnitza