Two Lions Inn

Rabbit is in Bratislava fielding invitations from his new friends:

>> CAUTION: Rabbit  does not have full story here, we will be revising the piece as it currently stands … For example, sign on front of building should read simply “POLICE HEADQUARTERS”, the “STATE POLICE” name was an attempt to incorporate longer conversation into single image…  
For discussion, see COMMENTS below! <<

Does anyone have photographs of Two Lions?  Rabbit did not have his camera that day.

NEXT: Whom will Rabbit meet? Join us next time for “Meeting with history, looking for work…” >>



  1. … hmmm… you’re totally wrong with this one – “Two lions” were built as a Police headquarters for the Slovak lands during the period of First Czechoslovak Republic – which was a liberal democracy (our constitution was loosely based on the US constitution, then…) Those “beasts”, as you say, were the symbols of the First republic ( Czechoslovak state police was NEVER there – the plaque on the building says “Policajne Riaditelstvo” – literary “Police headquarters”. During socialist republic, ordinary police headquarters for Bratislava was here, with ordinary criminals… (But ordinary criminals of the 70’s – which means, that alongside with petty thieves, my cousin was here too – for defecing a Soviet flag in the front of Soviet visitors…). The sad period was during the early 50’s – when some uncooperative clergymen were interrogated here by really brutal methods… But after that – the horrors of this place are quite comparable to any US penal institution…

    1. Ah, thank you for this help with history!
      I think the nature of the event Rabbit was attending (presentation by clergyman/former political prisoner, who was possibly involved in interrogations you mention?) and the way people described the building to Rabbit totally colors how Rabbit sees the area.
      I will have to adjust the translated sign on the building (many of these scenes are drawn from memory and scant notes, or try to represent entire conversations in single panels) AND I will have to rethink how to present this take on history. It’s always more complex than Rabbit thinks!
      Since these stories are given from Rabbit’s point of view, I would want to maintain the (mis)understanding Rabbit believed at the time (which sheds light on people’s memories of history), but also present factual history of building.
      Again, thank you! This is one great reason I am posting comics online as I draw them! — M

      1. chloralhydrate preceded me, but indeed this has been actually designed by Czech architect during the First Czechoslovak Republic (which as you know was one and only democracy in Central Europe at that time enclosed by dictatorial regimes).

    1. Excellent point! This is Rabbit’s favorite kind of detail! Cats DO like to chase strings…
      Power lines were disappeared from the cartoon panel, but I’m glad you posted this photo!

    1. Interesting… Rabbit has been seeing the lion as symbol of Czechoslovak communist regime, which is perhaps more Eastern way of seeing it?

      We also noted tall lion column near Slovak Muzeum that was torn down in past 2 years… Was that communist lion or Czech lion, and why was it finally taken down? Can anyone supply information about that artifact?

      1. You mean this statue?
        Lion Statue

        It was merely moved in front of the National Theatre and a statue of M.R. Štefánik was added to it. statue in new location

        In front of the National Museum now stands a statue of T.G.Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia. statue

        There’s no such thing as a ”communist lion”. The lion was always seen as the symbol of Czechoslovakia. After Nazi Germany occupied the Czech land and created a Slovak puppet state, Hitler himself visited Petržalka (which was ceded to the Third Reich by Slovakia). Across the Danube river, he noticed the still standing statue of the lion holding the coat of arms of Czechoslovakia and said: “Die katze müss weg!” (The cat must go!). And indeed the ”cat” was removed by the puppet Slovak government. The statue would be return to it’s place after the liberation of Czechoslovakia. As you can see here the symbol that the lion statue was holding would be used from 1918 to 1939,
        lion shield
        and again from 1945 to 1961.

        After 1961 the coat of arms were changed for ideological reasons by the communist government. The lion lost its crown as the communists hated monarchies (see: the Russian czar), instead a Red Star was placed above the lion. It’s this star that is seen as the symbol of the communist regime, not the poor czech lion. The double cross was also removed, as it was tainted in the eyes of many people after being extensively used by the clerofascist WWII Slovak State. In it’s place was put a blaze and the Tatra mountains, symbolizing the Slovak National Uprising.
        Communist coat of arms
        The new coat of arms was widely hated (in private) and after 1989 the old one was restored.

      2. It was again a lion of the First Czechoslovak Republic as a rememberance of its founding. It wasn’t taken down, but actually moved to what now is a Eurovea square a nd put aside of Stefanik’s monument. Instead of the column with the lion, there is a statue of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, first president of the First czechoslovak Republic there.

      3. Ah… I see, like Rabbit, Lion has tried to steer clear of getting involved in politics. Wise animal. Thank you for your fotki & notes!
        Yes, Rabbit has misinterpreted Eastern scorn for changes to coat of arms as scorn for that lion itself. It sounds more like it is the star and the elimination of Slovak cross that are the unpopular symbols.

        I love this apocryphal story of Hitler Vs. The Cat… Maybe there will be a place for it in this book?

        Other links:

        and of course:
        C+D+K : Slovakia in WWII
        …. continue reading >>

  2. I’m so glad Marek spends some time on these lions, because I walk by them all the time and I am always awestruck by them. Regardless of the origin of the lions, they do look quite intimidating, at least to a foreigner like myself, and they add considerably to the ominous vibe of the building. They may not have been communist in origin, but they seem somehow appropriate for a police station of a city of a once-communist regime. The building’s entrance looks like it was intended to instill people with a real sense of fear, which is why it fits with the kind of regime that shunned the notion of basic civil liberties, and in effect, made people afraid to speak out. (The two telamones directly over the doors that look like prisoners or slaves don’t help either!) Of course, now the only danger posed by the two lions is trying to snap a good photo of them without getting run over by a tram! Here are some more photos:
    Lions & Bound Prisoners

    Front of POLICE HQ

      1. Ha… Thanks for the link. I am endlessly fascinated by effects of ornaments & graphical devices on viewers — especially unintentional effects on outsiders! I can just imagine so many stories and misunderstandings that have accumulated around them over years and years.

        Yes, predators that hide in bushes and leap out at us definitely make us “freak out”, no matter what government they represent. I suspect US citizens are much more comfortable with predators that swoop down out of the air. Go figure. {8^/

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