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Zofia Batycka. Miss Polonia from Lviv

Yevhen Huliuk

Author

   One of the greatest architectural gems of Pekarska Street in Lviv is the former Turkuliv-Comello Palace, which is now cared for by the Lviv University of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnologies.

   This neo-Gothic building is recognizable to anyone who decides to walk in Pekarska: spire towers, arrow windows, stylized decor elements, etc. The building is so beautiful that it is compared to the Doge's palaces in Venice and other outstanding architectural buildings of the world. However, in a completely different light, this building appears as if we of the inhabitants of this palace. By the way, this is where Zofia Batycka (1907 - 1989) grew up – Miss Polonia 1930 and a famous actress of the interwar period.

 

Lviv and Miss Polonia

   Zofia Batycka was born in the family of a prominent Lviv lawyer Eugeniusz Batycki. The Batycki not only owned the magnificent Turkuliv-Comello Palace on modern Pekarska Street but were also considered a very decent and wealthy family by Lviv standards. Zofia studied in Warsaw and then began to act in the first films. She communicated closely and could become the wife of the famous Polish opera singer Jan Kiepura. Some publications even wrote about the marriage of the most beautiful young lady and the most popular singer. However, it did not work out.

   As an actress, Zofia Batycka acted in various Polish and Polish-American films. She was best remembered for her role in “The Morality of Mrs Dulska”. In one scene, Batycka bared her legs above her knees, which could be seen in the mirror. This moment shocked the public and caused a scandal. However, the scene described was not the only one of its kind in her biography. Therefore, Sofia Batytska was called the first actress of erotic scenes in Poland.

   In 1930, Zofia Batycka won the Miss Polonia beauty contest with 5,000,000 contestants. Some publications at that time described the event as a “victory of the province over the capital.”

   However, Batycka had long been known far beyond Lviv at that time. In the same year, she represented Poland at the Miss Europe 1930 pageant in Paris and took second place. As a result, the actress appeared on the covers of many magazines, and later - signed a contract with an American agency and left for the United States.

Not conquered by Hollywood

  Filming and advertising, theatrical productions, and victories in national and European beauty contests contributed to Zofia Batycka's popularity. The next step in this path was the opportunity to try their hand in the United States. Firstly, the actress' father opposed this but later changed his mind. She and her mother crossed the ocean, but Zofia Batycka's Hollywood voyage was not very successful. She spent two years in the United States but did not appear in any films. Then she returned to Poland and performed in the theatre.

   Zofia Batycka's trip to the United States is not only a failure but also confusion. As it turned out, she took with her the transitional crown “Miss Polonia”. In addition, she refused to return it - she motivated her actions by the fact that she remains the most beautiful Polish woman. Therefore, in 1931 the contest did not take place at all - we had to make a new crown.

On the other side of the ocean

   Zofia Batycka married a Flemish director of a trade association. They were married at Westminster Cathedral in London, but it all happened without much publicity in the press. Shortly after the wedding, the family moved to Antwerp, and after World War II, to the United States forever. The move to America was again unsuccessful. The actress' husband died early, and after 1949, she had to provide for herself and her mother financially.

   Batycka taught languages (fluent in four languages) and later got a job at a gallery. The last years of her life were spent in a nursing home. No one has mentioned his former fame and titles, his film career.

  

Zofia Batycka

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