Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defense Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).
In 1975, the government decided to change our constitution and to treat us to eternal friendship with the Soviet Union, to the leading role of the Party as well as to a few other things. The protests against all of this, which were attended by several thousand people, didn't make the government back down from these plans, but they did gather the oppositional forces thanks to which the events that followed could occur.
[Q] What about ‘76, following Ursus and Radom, how did the authorities respond to that? They organised rallies, they rounded up people...
In 1976, following the incidents that took place mainly in Radom and in Ursus, the government's response was not only short-term – that awful beating of workers and mass arrests – but there was also the hideous operation of propaganda. These workers were made out to be hooligans and troublemakers, masses of people were rounded up in stadiums to attend rallies where these people apparently spontaneously, apparently voluntarily applauded the speeches calling: ‘Down with these troublemakers, down with these hooligans from Radom and Ursus!’
W roku 1975 władza postanowiła nam zmienić konstytucję i zafundować wieczną... przyjaźń ze Związkiem Sowieckim i kierowniczą rolę partii oraz parę innych rzeczy. Protest społeczny przeciwko temu, który skupił kilka tysięcy ludzi, nie spowodował co prawda tego, by władza z tych zamiarów zrezygnowała, ale skupił siły opozycyjne, dzięki czemu było możliwe to wszystko, co potem nastąpiło.
[Q] Teraz jeszcze rok ’76, po Ursusie i po Radomiu, jaka była odpowiedź władzy? Organizowano wiece, spędzano ludzi...
Tak, tak. W 1976 roku po zajściach głównie w Radomiu i Ursusie odpowiedź władzy była nie tylko doraźna – to straszne bicie robotników i masowe aresztowania – ale również obrzydliwa akcja propagandowa. Przedstawiano tych robotników jako chuliganów i warchołów, spędzano masy ludzi na stadiony, na wiece, na których ci ludzie niby spontanicznie, niby dobrowolnie oklaskiwali przemówienia, na których wołano, że: „Precz z tymi warchołami, precz z tymi chuliganami z Radomia i Ursusa!”
Film director Marcel Łoziński was born in Paris in 1940. He graduated from the Film Directing Department of the National School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź in 1971. In 1994, he was nominated for an American Academy Award and a European Film Academy Award for the documentary, 89 mm from Europe. Since 1995, he has been a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science awarding Oscars. He lectured at the FEMIS film school and the School of Polish Culture of Warsaw University. He ran documentary film workshops in Marseilles. Marcel Łoziński currently lectures at Andrzej Wajda’s Master School for Film Directors. He also runs the Dragon Forum, a European documentary film workshop.
Cinematographer Jacek Petrycki was born in Poznań, Poland in 1948. He has worked extensively in Poland and throughout the world. His credits include, for Agniezka Holland, Provincial Actors (1979), Europe, Europe (1990), Shot in the Heart (2001) and Julie Walking Home (2002), for Krysztof Kieslowski numerous short films including Camera Buff (1980) and No End (1985). Other credits include Journey to the Sun (1998), directed by Jesim Ustaoglu, which won the Golden Camera 300 award at the International Film Camera Festival, Shooters (2000) and The Valley (1999), both directed by Dan Reed, Unforgiving (1993) and Betrayed (1995) by Clive Gordon both of which won the BAFTA for best factual photography. Jacek Petrycki is also a teacher and a filmmaker.