Slav of the Week – Henryk Chmielewski
Written by Adela Skowronski on January 25, 2021
Henry “Papcio Chmiel” Chmielewski, creator of the “Tytus, Romek i Atomek Series”, died on January 21st 2021.
The most popular comic book author in Poland has passed away at the age of 97 years old.
Henry Chmielewski – pen name Papcio Chmiel – is best known for creating the “Tytus, Romek i Atomek” comic book series. It is the longest published cartoon in Poland running from 1957 to 2009, with plenty of movies, spin-offs and cultural features as well.
The series is wacky, strange and endearing. It follows the adventures of two boy scouts (Romek i Atomek) plus Tytus de Zoo, a chimpanzee with the ability of human speech. Stories often draw from elements of sci-fi and parody, sometimes even featuring the author himself!
Other than “Tytus, Romek i Atomek”, Chmielewski was also known as a national patriot. He fought in the Warsaw Uprising; his home was used as the meeting base for the underground resistance; he painted a mural that is now at the Warsaw Rising Museum.
For his actions, Chmielewski was awarded the Warsaw Cross of the Uprising in 1983. His artist merits also gained him more light-hearted cultural awards, such as the Gloria Artis Medal in 2007, the Independence Centenary Award in 2019, and was a Knight of The Order of the Smile.
There is even a medal named after him called the Papcio Chmiel Award: given to Polish cartoonists who display “extraordinary merits”.
“Tytus , Romek i Atomek” is one of Poland’s most beloved cartoon series, inspiring generations of young Polish people since its debut. We owe a huge thanks to Papcio Chmiel for creating a story that managed to unite so many, and for his years of service to his country.
Rest in peace Papcio!