The story is set in an alternative version of European history. In 1944 the western Allies reach the line of Vistula. Poland is divided into the democratic one west of the Vistula and the communist one on the eastern bank. The reunification takes place in 1989.
I’m grateful to Professor Robert Looby for his comments on the language of the English translation.
*Marchlevsk – fictional name, allusion to the town of Białystok and Julian Marchlewski – Polish communist who, during the Polish-Soviet war of 1920, was the chairman of the Provisional Polish Revolutionary Committee created by the Russians during the Polish-Soviet War. The committee’s headquarters were set up in Białystok.
*The Sopot Festival or The Intervision Song Contest – one of the most popular song contests in the Soviet block. It was suspended between 1981 and 1983 due to the martial law in Poland. During that period an Abba concert would be inconceivable.
*The name „Wroński” alludes to the Military Council of National Salvation – the military junta administering the country during the period of the martial law. Abbreviated WRON, it invited associations with the Polish word for ‘crow’ (‘wrona’). The chairman of the Council was general Wojciech Jaruzelski (1923-2014).
*The 1st (Polish) Independent Parachute Brigade (Polish Armed Forces in the West) under the command of Major General Stanisław Sosabowski, originally intended to be dropped into occupied Poland to take part in the planned insurrection of which the Warsaw Uprising was an integral part. In the end the Brigade was used in the operation “Market Garden”.
Old Town in Warsaw saw the bloodiest fights during the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944.
*Allusion to the series of enigmatic suicides in Poland, involving people of dodgy business/political/secret service connections or poeple directly or indirectly related to the crash of the President jet in 2010.
*”Tytus, Romek i Atomek” by Papcio Chmiel. In fact western (American and francophone) comics were a rarity in People’s Republic of Poland. Canon comics started to be published in Poland as late as in 1990s, many of them no sooner than in 2000s.