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Worker's meeting in Pruszków

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Robotnik for different groups of workers
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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But when there is someone who is very enthusiastic about this, they'll do it. And there was such a range of wonderful people there, so Robotnik began to appear. It began to appear and it was distributed to various worker's centres and I began to arrange worker's groups. I remember when Steve Uhanson visited us - he was a very famous Swedish social democrat - he'd been brought there by Mrs Maria Borowska - and I showed him... we showed him the first four issues of Robotnik and they talked about our programme of action, I was ashamed myself because the publications were so small, such poor quality, fuzzy, inept, childish - it had been made on a child's duplicating machine. He said he'd listened to what we had to say and he liked what he'd heard and the enthusiasm he'd seen in us but would anything come of this? On his first visit, he didn't really believe this would work. Then there were the Robotnik discussion groups. It came as a complete shock to me how different each group of workers was. In Grudziądz there was the only group that had joined KOR in an organised way; we could only dream about groups like that. They organised themselves to help because they'd been kicked out of the local paintworks and enamel factory... people had been kicked out of there and so they had organised themselves to help these people and had gone to the Party Committee to create a fuss. The committee had told them that they were KOR, and that's how they found out that there was such a thing as KOR. So they asked some secretary what KOR was, and she read them out some names. They got hold of an encyclopedia, an encyclopaedia, the Shorter Encyclopaedia. They found the name Andrzejewski in the Shorter Encyclopaedia. They went to see Andrzejewski who sent them to Zieja who sent them to me and to Jan Józef. And that's how we made contact with this organised group that had been sent to us by the Party organisation.

Ale jest ktoś, kto jest tym bardzo przejęty i chce to robić to on to zrobi. No a tam taka plejada znakomitych ludzi, ten Robotnik zaczął wychodzić. Zaczął wychodzić, zaczął być kolporterowany w różnych ośrodkach robotniczych i zacząłem takie organizować grupy Robotnika. Przecież pamiętam jak przyjechał Steve Uhanson, taki bardzo wybitny przywódca socjo-demokratów szwedzkich, których... którego przywiozła pani Maria Borowska. I ja mu... i myśmy mu pokazywali cztery pierwsze numery Robotnika i mówili o naszym programie działania, to sam się tam zawstydziłem, takie jakieś malutkie, na powielaczu, niewyraźne, niewydane, nieudane, dziecinne – bo powielacz był wtedy... na dziecinnych powieleczach to robili. On mówił, że tak słuchał nas, słuchał, bardzo mu się to podobało, ale wszystkie... my i nasz entuzjazm natomiast, żeby nam z tego coś wyszło. Za tym jego pierwszym przyjazdem, jak był, to nie bardzo wierzył. I wtedy te kluby dyskusyjne Robotnika. Był to dla mnie zupełny szok, jak bardzo różne są te środowiska robotnicze. W Grudziądzu tam, bo to jedyna grupa, która w zorganizowany sposób przyszła do KOR-u, to była taka grupa z naszym marzeń. Zorganizowali się do pomocy, bo wyrzucono tam z ich miejscowej emalierni, farbiarni... Emalierii z miejscowej wyrzucono ludzi, no i oni się zorganizowali do pomocy tym ludziom i przyszli do komitetu partyjnego pyskować. A w komitecie partyjnym im powiedzieli, że: "Wy tu jesteście w ogóle KOR". Tak się dowiedzieli, że jest jakiś KOR. No, więc zapytali jakiejś sekretarki, kto, co to KOR i ona im jakieś nazwiska przeczytała, a oni wzięli encyklopedię... Małą Encyklopedię. W Małej Encyklopedii znaleźli nazwisko Andrzejski. Pojechali do Andrzejskiego, który ich przesłał do Zieji, który ich przesłał do mnie i do Jana Józefa. I tak żeśmy po prostu trafili na tę zorganizowaną grupę, którą przysłała do nas organizacja partyjna.

The late Polish activist, Jacek Kuroń (1934-2004), had an influential but turbulent political career, helping transform the political landscape of Poland. He was expelled from the communist party, arrested and incarcerated. He was also instrumental in setting up the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR) and later became a Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

Listeners: Marcel Łoziński Jacek Petrycki

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.

Tags: Robotnik, Independent Publishing House, Grudziądz, KOS, Party Committee, NOWa, Steve Uhanson, Maria Borowska, Adam Andrzejewski, Jan Zieja, Jan Józef Lipski

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008