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How they took us from one police station to the next

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Where did the name Solidarność come from?
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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And so, there was the first meeting of the delegate's committee. Wałęsa was speaking there, too. She told me this. Then there was the first meeting of the strike committee, they came out with the management, sang the National Anthem, they agreed to a wage increase of 2,000, the management, and to reinstating Lech and Ania Walentynowicz. At the second meeting with the management, they agreed to the formation of free trade unions and now all they were debating was the freeing of political prisoners, they sang Rota and I said, 'I know what's going to be the third thing: they'll demand the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the management will agree and everyone will sing God Save the Tzar.' But the negotiations stalled over the political prisoners and I remember that Gwiazda rang me and told me all this. First, there was Bogdan Borysewicz. I said, 'Go into the shipyard.' He said, 'But I can run around freely out here and nobody bothers me!' I said, 'If it's running you're interested in, you can run around the shipyard! You'll know everything that's going on and we need you.' Then Gwiazda rang and I said, 'Listen, we have to arrange an agreement between the strike committees of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Szczecin' because I already knew that in the electrical assembly, I didn't... I don't know now, in a different part of the factory where Gwiazda was working they were on strike, then they were on strike somewhere else as well so we had to arrange a meeting of the strike committees. At that point, the line went dead and our contact with the city, with Gdańsk was interrupted. So the talks began and they began. First of all, we dialled through Elbląg and through other cities all around, but the moment came when even that ended and we started using various state-owned telephones which are never disconnected - I won't tell you which ones they were. We used helicopters, and I won't tell you which ones they were, either. That's how our couriers were able to go back and forth. There was a problem with getting the printing up and running, publishing texts, initially we used to prepare the leading ourselves and send it out to them. Then, they got the printing going there because Bogdan went out there, Mirek Chojecki, Ewa Milewicz and Konrad Bieliński. So Konrad Bieliński, Mirek disappeared almost straight away because he'd been driving somewhere without a license, I think he was on his way from one shipyard to another while Konrad organised the printing and was producing a shipyard newspaper that was called Solidarność. That was the title of the newspaper and it was from there that everything else got its name.

No, więc pierwsze zebranie Komitetu St... Delegatów. Bo tam jeszcze przemawiał Wałęsa, ona to opowiadała, potem pierwsze spotkanie komitetu strajkowego z dyrekcją – wyszli, zaśpiewali Jeszcze Polska, oni się zgodzili na wzrost płac o 2000 zł dyrekcja i na przywrócenie do pracy Lecha i Ani Walentynowicz. Drugie spotkanie z dyrekcją – oni się zgodzili na Wolne Związki Zawodowe i teraz jeszcze idzie tylko o uwolnienie więźniów politycznych i zaśpiewali  Rotę. Ja mówię: "Już wiem, co będzie na trzecim, oni zażądają rozwiązania Związku Radzieckiego, dyrekcja się zgodzi i wszyscy zaśpiewają Boże Cara Chrani." No, ale tam te pertraktacje utknęły na tych więźniach politycznych i pamiętam zadzwonił do mnie Gwiazda, relacjonował mi to wszystko. Naprzód Bogdan Borysewicz, ja mówię: "Wchodź do stoczni". On mówi: "Kiedy ja tu mogę spokojnie biegać". Ja mówię: "Kiedy chodzi Ci o bieganie, to se pobiegasz po stoczni. W stoczni będziesz wiedział wszystko i nam jesteś potrzebny". Potem zadzwonił Gwiazda i ja mówię: "Słuchajcie, trzeba organizować porozumienie Komitetów Strajkowych Trójmiasta, bo już wiedziałem, że w elektromontażu, nie pamiętam... już nie wiem, w takim innym zakładzie, w którym pracował właśnie Gwiazda strajkują, jeszcze gdzieś strajkują, no to trzeba robić spotkanie tych Komitetów Strajkowych. I w tym momencie nam urwało rozmowę i przerwało kontakt z miast... z Gdańskiem. No i zaczęło się to porozumiewanie i zaczęło się to porozumiewanie. Naprzód żeśmy dzwonili przez Elbląg jeszcze przez inne miasta dookoła... no ale w pewnym momencie i to się urwało i żeśmy korzystali z różnych telefonów takich państwowych, które są nie wyłączane, jakich to nie będę mówił. Korzystaliśmy z helikopterów, też jakich nie będę mówił. Przeto jeździli łącznicy tam i z powrotem. Był tam problem uruchomienia drukarni, wydawania tekstów, początkowo blachy myśmy im tłukli i wysyłali. A potem uruchomił tam drukarnię, bo tam pojechał Bogdan, bo tam pojechał Mirek Chojecki, Ewa Milewicz i Konrad Bieliński. No i Konrad Bieliński, Mirka zaraz wcięło, bo gdzieś jechał jakimś samochodem bez prawa jazdy i gdzieś coś przejeżdżał chyba z jednej stoczni do drugiej, a Konrad zorganizował drukarnię i wydawanie stoczniowej gazety, która się właśnie nazywała Solidarność. Bo tak się nazywała gazeta i stąd od nazwy gazety poszła ta nazwa wszystkiego.

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: Solidarność, National Anthem, Rota, God Save the Tsar, Bogdan Borysewicz, andrzej Gwiazda, Gdańsk, Gdynia, Szczecin, Elbląg, Lech Wałęsa, Anna Walentynowicz, Mirosław Chojecki, Ewa Milewicz, Konrad Bieliński

Duration: 2 minutes, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008