A Souvenir from the Prison on Montelupich Street

An intricate miniature accordion, hand-made from pieces of bread by Stefan Dudek during his incarceration by the communist Ministry of Public Security (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, MBP), in the prison on Montelupich Street in Krakow, February 20, 1947

Miniature accordion made by Stefan Dudek.

An extraordinary handcrafted work by Stefan Dudek

Stefan Dudek was born on February 15, 1922 in Słopnice (Limanów poviat). He was an amateur photographer and also repaired watches and jewelry. During WWII he used his skills to make seal stamps for the partisan units. In early 1946, he was arrested and charged with making illegal seal stamps for the Polish underground AK gendarmerie (Żandarmeria) unit in the Nowy Sącz region, commanded by Stanisław ‘Okrzeja’ Piszczek. On  December 17, the Military Regional Court in Krakow sentenced Dudek to two years in prison. He was freed as result of the amnesty act of  February 22, 1947.

An intricate miniature accordion was hand-made from pieces of bread. The inscription on this unusual “souvenir from Montelupich [Street]” suggests that Stefan Dudek completed it on February 20, 1947. The layer of lacquer visible on it in the photo suggests the miniature was later varnished for preservation.

Miniature accordion made by Stefan Dudek

Some personal documents and objects are not only of historical and cognitive value, but also sentimental. In such cases, IPN suggests that their owners loan the materials to undergo a digitalization process. The original documents and objects are then returned intact to their rightful owner, while the digitalized files are included in the IPN archival repository. Mrs. Monika Kwiek took advantage of this option and loaned to the IPN branch in Krakow the miniature accordion described above – one of her family’s most valuable keepsakes. Mrs. Kwiek also permanently donated a small cross with heart and anchor motives – a second piece of handwork made by Stefan Dudek in the prison on Montelupich Street.

Small cross with heart and anchor motifs, made by Stefan Dudek

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