68 years ago Gombrowicz left Poland
29 July, 1939. On 29 July, 1939, Witold Gombrowicz boarded “Chrobry” transatlantic liner in Gdynia harbour. At exactly 16:00, he sailed to Argentina. Gombrowicz was one of 1042 passengers who sailed to South America on “Chrobry” during its maiden voyage.
The event is commemorated by a plaque placed on the quay of Gdynia harbour, next to the Museum of Emigration.
Both Gombrowicz and “Chrobry” did not return to Poland.
When leaving Poland, Gombrowicz was 35 years old. After the outbreak of the war, he decided not to return to Europe. He settled in Buenos Aires where he worked as an official at Banco Polaco for almost a quarter of a century. The publication of parts of “Dziennik” in Parisian “Culture” was the breakthrough in the writer’s career. The Parisian editions of “Pornography” and “Space” provided him with the international fame. He died at the age of 65 years in Venice in France, where he moved at the end of his life.
The beginning of World War II found “Chrobry” on the way back to Gdynia, close to the Brazilian Pernambuco harbour. The cruise was cancelled, and “Chrobry” was sent to Southampton harbour where it was rebuilt for the navy. In May 1940, during the voyage to Norway, “Chrobry” was bombed and sunk by the German aircraft.