People in Poland, one of the most homophobic countries in Europe, are riled after a documentary claimed national icon Frédéric Chopin had male lovers

Christophel Fine Art/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesA portrait of polish composer Frédéric Chopin by Scheffer Ary.
  • People in Poland, a major opponent of homosexuality, are unhappy after a new documentary claimed that national icon Frédéric Chopin had love affairs with men.
  • “Chopin’s Men” translated newly-released letters from the 19th-century composer and said they show a “flood of declarations of love aimed at men.”
  • While homosexuality is legal in Poland, gay people can’t get married or have civil partnerships. A third of the country has joined a movement symbolically declaring themselves “LGBT-free zones.”
  • The country’s Fryderyk Chopin Institute said that the letters didn’t prove anything, as it was hard to translate his “musical and complicated” language accurately.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

People in Poland — one of the most prominent anti-LGBT countries in Europe — are smarting after a Swiss documentary claimed that their national icon, the composer Frédéric Chopin, had male lovers.

“Chopin’s Men,” aired by SRF on November 13, argued that experts and biographers of the 19th-century musician had ignored and mistranslated letters that show a “flood of declarations of love aimed at men.”

One of the letters, written by Chopin to his male friend Tytus Wojciechowski, said: “You don’t like being kissed. Please, let me do it today. You have to pay me for the dirty dream I had about you last night.”

Moritz Weber, the documentary’s producer, told CNN that there was no doubt that the letters referred to romance. “He’s talking about love so directly with men,” he said.

People in Poland have found the claim hard to swallow.

Gay people can’t get married or have a civil partnership, with Andrzej Duda, the country’s president, saying in June that homosexuality was an “ideology worse than communism.”

File -- In this Thursday, July 6, 2017 file photo U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Poland's President Andrzej Duda, leave at the end of a joint press conference, in Warsaw, Poland. Trump and Duda will meet at the White House on June 24, four days ahead of a presidential election in Poland in which Duda, a conservative, is seeking reelection. The meeting is expected to give Duda a boost, and is seen by some as election interference. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski/file)Associated PressUS President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland, in 2017.

In recent years, at least one third of Poland’s towns and villages have symbolically declared themselves “LGBT-free zones.”

The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, a government-created agency in Warsaw, said that Chopin’s newly-released letters were not necessarily proof of homosexuality, as it was hard to translate the “musical and complicated” language he was using, according to The Times of London.

“If you read them in the Polish original, it sounds a little bit different,” the institute said.

The claims in Weber’s documentary were also met with scepticism and derision by Poland’s news media, CNN said.

Headlines included: “Chopin kisses his friend. Does that mean he was gay?” and “The West is excited that Chopin was gay.”

Chopin is by all measures Poland’s foremost musical export, despite permanently leaving Warsaw for Paris at the age of 20.

The country’s busiest airport, Warsaw’s Chopin Airport, is named after him and a wall in the city’s Holy Cross Church contains his preserved heart.

Insider has contacted Poland’s Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy for comment.

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