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Myślę, że także byłoby niesłuszne, żeby nie wspomnieć o roli Kościoła w czasie stanu wojennego. Otóż Kościół wykazał się wtedy zupełnie jakąś niezwykłą przytomnością umysłu i chęcią pomocy. Co mówię trochę niechętnie, bo zawsze się... nie zawsze się to Kościołowi zdarza, ale akurat tak się zdarzyło, że w tej złej chwili byli widocznie tacy ludzie, bo nawet kardynał Wyszyński wtedy – który tak idzie na... na... szedł raczej na... na taką religijność ludową, a sprawy intelektulistów raczej go mało obchodziły, chodziło mu o to: co naród, co naród, narodowi, narodowi – to... to jednak ten Wyszyński także nawet pojawiał się na naszych wieczorach poetyckich. Pamiętam dotąd, że pobłogosławił nas tulipanami, które mu ktoś ofiarował, to... to... I to myśmy robili pod... pod ołtarz, spod ołtarza. Muszę powiedzieć, że z początku to była dla mnie strasznie trudna rzecz, żeby tam się znaleźć w jakiś sposób – myśmy tam siedzieli i taka grupa poetów czytała swoje wiersze. Więc... no i że Kosciół w czasie stanu wojennego także bardzo nam pomagał, bo... bo po prostu oni dostawali przesyłki i muszę powiedzieć, że ja akurat byłam od tego, od tej mąki i masła i tego, co mniej mi może odpowiada, ale w ogóle nie było mowy o tym, czy robić, co chcesz, tylko to, co masz robić. I to właśnie wtedy ten ksiądz Niewęgłowski przyjmował te... te auto... jak to powiedzieć, no ten... ten cały bagaż i rozładowywał je w tej wieży, która jest koło św. Anny. Tam on miał takie... takie miejsce i myśmy stamtąd czerpali i nasi przyjaciele – pisarze i poeci – dźwigali na... na plecach – Wojciechowski i inni – dźwigali na plecach te worki z cukrem albo worki z maką. To był taki okres dosyć szczególnego gospodarowania w związku literatów, aleśmy jakoś to pokonali. No, także... i to był okres właśnie... to... to jakoś wspomagaliśmy się, co jednak było bardzo ważne.

I think it would be wrong not to mention the role played by the Church during martial law. The Church showed extraordinary clarity of mind and a willingness to help in that time. I say this a little unwillingly because the Church doesn't always manage to do this but it happened that at this time people came to the fore who... even Cardinal Wyszyński who takes the – or rather took the – side of popular religiosity and wasn't all that concerned about matters that affected the intelligentsia would say: the nation, the nation, for the nation, for the nation – the same Wyszyński came to some of our poetry readings. To this day I remember how he blessed us with a bunch of tulips that someone had given him, we were doing this... in front of the altar. I have to say that at first I found it terribly difficult to be there, we were sitting there and a group of poets was reading their poetry. So, the Church was helping us a lot during martial law, they were receiving food parcels and I was in charge of flour and butter; perhaps the thing I liked the least but there was no question of whether it was something you wanted to do, you simply had to do it. That was when Father Niewęgłowski would receive those... what do you call it... all of that baggage and unpacked it in the tower next to St Anne's church. He had a special place there and we and our friends – writers and poets – used to take things from there and carry them on our... on our backs. Wojciechowski and others carried these sacks of sugar or of flour on their backs. It was a time of rather specific management of resources at the Literary Union but we overcame it somehow and it was a time of... a time of... we helped one another somehow, and that was very important.

Born in 1921 to a Polish father and a Russian mother, Julia Hartwig is a Polish poet, essayist, translator and author of children's books. She studied at the University of Warsaw, the Catholic University in Lublin and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Czesław Miłosz called her 'the grande dame of Polish poetry'. Julia Hartwig is one of the few poets in Poland who makes masterly use of poetic prose. She has translated poems by Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars and Supervielle, and has published monographs on Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval. She has also translated from English, and published a large anthology of American poetry which she co-edited in 1992 with her late husband, the poet Artur Międzyrzecki.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks.  He specializes in portraits and in historical films.  Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members.  Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Literary Union, Church, Stefan Wyszyński, Wiesław Niewęgłowski, Piotr Wojciechowski

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 10 October 2011