Filip Springer


Polish guest of the European First Novel Festival in Budapest

Saturday 21 April 2012, 4:00 pm

Millenáris -Fogadó, Lázár Ervin Room

Budapest II. Kis Rókus u. 16-20.


Kupferberg – Miedzianka, is small town near by Jelenia Gora, which doesn’t exist. As don’t exist taverns, local brewery, mill and craft workshops any more.

Filip Springer for over two years had been looking for the answer to the question why this small town disappeared after seven centuries of its peaceful existance . Did it happen as a result of demages caused by an output of uranium mine controlled by Soviets from year 1948 to 1952? Or the story about wasteful exploitation was just an excuse to hide much more serious secret from the past?

„Filip Springer has called himself an amatour archeologist and came to Lower Silesia. With small brush, gently, detail after detail discovered and reconstructed  fascinating history of Kupfberg-Miedzianka and its inhabitants. Once upon a time Kupfberg was a town of miners, for a short moment touristic paradise for visitors. Located on the top of the beautiful hill, stayed peaceful and safe for seven ages far away from wars, battles and political storms. It was so till the day when The Red Army had come. Soviets discovered an uranium and it was the beggining of the end... This reporter story is like thriller page-turner, althought the end is absolutely not happy one.”
Ewa Winnicka

Polyphonic tale about Miedzianka – small town located near by Jelenia Gora- written by Filip Springer- doesn’t give answer to all questions, but the memory of small town, which was, but has not been anylonger,  is immortalized forever thanks to that. Only the best reporers succedes in this art."

Beata Kęczkowska, "Gazeta Wyborcza"

"After more than 40 years Miedzianka is resurecting. Filip Springer is an author of this miracle- young photoreporter, who found by chance old materials confirming the existance of the town. He decided to to bring back the memory of that one to life. But because it is impossible to take picture of nothing, he wrote a book."

Maciej Robert, "Życie Warszawy"


“Memento- for many centuries this inscription was written on two stone crosses standing by the road from Miedzianka to Janowice. Nowaday one of them disapeared, second one has been moved to the other place. Filip Springer, the author of “Miedzianka” set next memento – for small town, which vanished into the air.”

Magda Piekarska, "" 


Filip Springer (b. 1982) —a reporter and photographer, working for the biggest Polish press titles. His works are regulary published in journal „Polska The Times", in weekly newspaper ”Polityka”, in "The Reader’s Digest" magazine and many others. He’s Photographers Collective member. Springer is The Ministry of Culture Heritage grant holder in the category of literature in 2010. His works were exhibited in biggest Polish cities, e.g. Warszawa, Poznan, Gdynia and others. Miedzianka. Historia znikania is reporter book debut by him.



In this collection of reportage, Filip Springer, a journalist and photographer, calls up the ghosts from the past of a small town that completely disappeared, as though all traces of it had had to be wiped off the face of the earth. The little town of Miedzianka, which means “Copperhead” in Polish, or Kupferberg according to its previous, German name, appears to be a place of exceptionally bad luck, a town visited by misfortune after misfortune. Writing the history of the town and its inhabitants, Springer writes about the “beast” that awakens every so often (wars, fires), using the idea of an eternal, irremovable evil, and introducing, too, the foundation myth of fratricide. But—fortunately—he doesn’t stop at these facile explanations, which would allow the human aspect to be overlooked.

Miedzianka is located in Silesia, and throughout this region’s history, no generalizations have held true. Springer has managed to show the complexity of the history of the twentieth century. This is a book about land that through its own richness brought misfortune upon itself. Several centuries of exploiting mineral deposits were bound to end badly, in the era of the most rapid technological development, which was also the era of totalitarian regimes and predatory exploitation. So it was stupidity, greed, and cruelty that led to the annihilation of a place that could have lasted—if managed more wisely—a long time. Springer does not write about the great wars from the perspective of an old-fashioned archivist attempting to be objective, and he isn’t interested in major processes or great names. He concentrates on individual events, houses that have been annihilated and the people who were wronged. He has managed to call up portraits of people who were “from Miedzianka,” until stronger people arrived who assigned them a nationality and forced them to leave. For the expulsion of the Germans there is no terminology yet in Polish literature, so Springer has told the story of the expulsion of people. He has made people remember Miedzianka; he has shown how violence was perpetrated on this land and its inhabitants.

Springer introduces unease with his book, unsettles, and insists upon reclaiming talking about this part of the world that is stamped with shame. Miedzianka is a world where too many atrocities were allowed to happen for anyone to want to remember it. Miedzianka restores the memory of that world—and that may well be the best a reporter can do.


Anna Marchewka