TV Shows
Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Barbara Krafftówna: She never stopped loving her first husband

When on June 1, 1956, 28-year-old Barbara Krafftówna swore undying love to her colleague, Michał Gazda, she believed that they would go through life together and grow old together. They had an almost one-year-old son, and so that he could grow up in a “normal” family, they decided to legalize their relationship. They had already agreed that they would get married three years earlier, but somehow they didn’t have time to get married…

Barbara realized that her beloved could become a star, but he sacrificed his career because the most important thing to him was her and their Peter.

“He didn’t care about his career. He didn’t have unfulfilled ambitions or dreams. He focused on home. He took care of us – me and Piotrek” – she recalled in the book “Krafftówna w krainiem czarów”.

Michał Gazda was a valued, although not very popular, actor. He was known primarily by patrons of the capital’s theaters, on whose stages he created many outstanding roles. Barbara Krafftówna once confessed that it was because of her – as an artist – that he did not spread his wings.

“Considering my CV, my professional strength and position, he was overshadowed,” she said.

When they met, Michał had already appeared in the film “Załoga” and, although he did not play a leading role in it, he attracted all the viewers’ attention whenever he appeared on the screen. Barbara Krafftówna even called it “a showpiece of a lover”.

“The entire promotion of ‘Załoga’ took advantage of his beauty,” she admitted in an interview.

They met for the first time in 1953, when – after several years of playing on stages in Gdańsk, Łódź and Wrocław – Barbara joined the ensemble of the New Warsaw Theater. The director introduced them. She liked Michał, but then she secretly sighed for another friend, the very handsome Tadeusz Janczar, so she quickly forgot about him.

“In fact, our first contact was at dawn on May 1, 1953, when we were gathering in front of the theater to go to the procession. Michał and I were carrying a banner ‘Long live the First of May!’. The procession lasted all day and it was the longest day of adoration. And on the 17th In May, the decision was made to get married,” the actress recalled in her book.

“It was my decision,” she added.

For several years, Barbara and Michał lived with their son at a friend’s house. It was only in 1959 that the whole family went “on their own”. They moved into a new tenement house in the center of the capital.

Years passed, Krafftówna became one of the most popular actresses in the country, Michał focused on the theater, although he did not refuse when he was offered roles in films or series. In front of the camera, however, he usually stood in the background.

In 1969 – at the request of his then 14-year-old son – Michał Gazda accepted a small role in one of the episodes of “Czterech pancerni i pies”. His wife – who plays Honorata in the series – sincerely advised him against it, claiming that the conditions on the set were terrible.

Michał managed to appear in only a few scenes in the 19th episode of the TV hit, because on November 6, 1969, he died unexpectedly. He was driving a car when he suffered a heart attack.

After his tragic death on the Gdańsk Bridge in Warsaw, several corrections had to be made to the script, and the filming of the actor’s widow was decided to shoot a few weeks after the previously scheduled date to give her time to mourn.

“Gazda appears in the episode ‘Tiergarten’ as a lieutenant making calculations related to crossing a flooded subway tunnel. In fact, he was supposed to play in several other scenes of the mentioned episode. After the actor’s death, filming with Krafftówna was suspended for some time,” says Marek Łazarz, author of the book “Four tank men and a dog. A guide to the series and its surroundings.”

The death of Michał Gazda was a terrible blow for Barbara Krafftówna. For years, the actress tormented herself with the thought that her loved one died because of her. She blamed herself for this tragedy, convinced that if she had not made an appointment with her husband at SPATiF that day, he would have suffered a heart attack, if he had had one at all.

Michał and Barbara were supposed to go to a gala dinner together to celebrate the actor’s birthday the next day. He was rushing to meet his wife when he suddenly felt a terrible heartache and lost control of the steering wheel.

“I was informed to come home immediately. The door was open. A police officer was standing in the doorway of the room. He said that Michał was dead. I attacked him and started beating him,” the actress recalled in an interview.

Michał Gazda died on the eve of his 42nd birthday. The actor is almost completely forgotten today. Barbara Krafftówna blamed herself for it.

“I can’t hide the fact that I dominated him. I certainly slowed down his career. If it weren’t for me, if there wasn’t a child, maybe his professional fate would have turned out differently,” she confessed in the book “Krafftówna w krai kraiema”.

Barbara married twice more, but she never loved any man more than Michael. Until the end of her days (she died on January 23, 2022), she repeated that he was the love of her life.