The Pionier cinema on Wojska Polskiego Avenue (formerly Falkenwalderstrasse) began operating on September 26, 1909. However, films had been shown there since 1907.
One of the oldest continuously operating cinemas in the world, the Pionier in Poland’s northern city of Szczecin, is to be bought by the city in order to preserve its historical importance and continued operation.
The Pionier cinema on Wojska Polskiego Avenue (formerly Falkenwalderstrasse) began operating on September 26, 1909. However, films had been shown there since 1907. Initially, it operated as the Helios cinema, later as the Welt-Theater. From December 1945, for five years it was called the Odra. In 2005, it received a Guinness World Records certificate, awarding it the title of the oldest continuously operating cinema in the world. Currently, however, L’Idéal Cinéma – Jacques Tati, operating in Aniche, France, is recognised as such.
In 1945, in the post-war changes to the map of Europe, Poland regained Szczecin from Germany.
All 27 councillors present at the meeting voted for the purchase of the cinema. During an October session of the city council, PLN 2 million (EUR 448,500) was secured from the city budget for this purpose.
The first talks about repurchasing the cinema were held in 2021 when one of its present owners announced his retirement.
Anna Szotkowska, a vice-president of Szczecin, said at Tuesday’s city council session that the plan is to finalise the deal with the current owners by the end of this year.
The justification for the draft resolution states that the purchase of the premises where the cinema is located is intended to “protect one of the oldest, continuously operating, cinemas in the world against closure.”
“With its unique history and tradition of presenting the most ambitious film repertoire, the Pionier cinema is a social and cultural asset of the city, and the place where it operates bears witness to the development of world cinematography, therefore it should be preserved for contemporary and future generations of cinemagoers,” the resolution reads.