In late April 2022, top-ranked Polish Tennis Player Iga Świątek shared a tweet. She was informed that she was being followed by a funeral home’s account. But it wasn’t just any old funeral home. It was the A.S. Bytom Funeral Home (Polish: Zakład Pogrzebowy A.S. Bytom), which has over half a million Facebook followers and is known among Poles for its, let’s say, not-so-serious approach to the funeral business. “I feel honored,” wrote Świątek.
In fact, the A.S. Bytom Funeral Home has for years been known to take a light approach to the only inevitable human outcome – death. Just around the time that most people start their spring cleaning, they posted about leftovers in their fridge.
A.S. Bytom: leave no man alive
Two days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they posted: “Sorry, we’re not active here. We’re helping Kyiv accommodate 150 thousand Russian soldiers.” The post included a photo of a huge excavator digging a hole in the ground. After all, this kind of hospitality is their business.
They’re proud to promote lighter fare in more peaceful times – like a new edition of a mushroom atlas for amateur foragers. And when the pandemic broke out, they encouraged people to stay home to avoid death (“luckily, only for now”).
They also quoted the hit song “Party” by famed 80s Polish rock band Oddział Zamknięty, which features the lyrics: “Let’s have a party that leaves no one alive,” giving this iconic good-times anthem a grimy literal meaning. The official account of the Polish CDC commented on the post by tagging the official account of the Polish police force. The notable attention shot the A.S. Bytom Funeral Home to countrywide fame.
Memetic funeral home
“That’s a lot for a company that doesn’t exist,” concluded media and marketing-related magazine “Press” after sending journalists to the funeral home’s alleged address to confirm its authenticity. The building is, in fact, next to a cemetery in Bytom (a city in Silesian Conurbation), but it currently sits vacant. The listed phone number also rejects incoming calls – maybe its owner was the target of some joke and had to cut off from fact-checkers.
As editors suspect, there is probably a sizable number of people in Poland who actually believe that you can commission a funeral service by the funniest company in the business. It was a question that was on everyone’s minds five years ago when the fan page quickly took off. (Un)luckily, Zakład Pogrzebowy A.S. Bytom is not as serious as death itself. But, as observed by one of the “funeral home’s” memetic competitors, these are good times for death.