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The greatest diploma I've ever received


Independent trade unions
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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We weren't there long, the colonel summoned me upstairs and said, 'Well, Mr Kuroń, congratulations. We have Independent Trade Unions.' I sat down and said, 'Fuck me, what's going to happen now?' I was genuinely frightened. I'd been saying all along, Adaś had been saying, 'It's a good thing they locked you up because if you'd been free, there'd have been no Solidarność.' Because I'd been on to Gdańsk all the time saying this was horse-trading, I was afraid of trade unions. I was afraid of trade unions because I thought to myself, it's a bureaucratic machine that we won't be able to handle, it'll destroy us. Who will we use to run it? What resources do we have for this? I felt dizzy when I heard... I was really scared. He said, 'Now you'll either leave soon or it'll be a while yet.' I think this colonel was telling the truth. There was a plan to keep me in prison, except that a decision had also been taken to release me, but he didn't know this yet. A short while later, they began to release the prisoners. I was released as well, there was a crowd of people outside the prison. Ula Dorożewska called out to me, 'I told you they'd carry us, they'd carry us on their shoulders!' That's what she'd told me through the window at the police station.

No i niedługośmy tam siedzieli, wezwał mnie ten pułkownik na górę i mówi: "No, Panie Kuroń, gratulacje. Mamy Niezależne Związki Zawodowe". A ja usiadłem i ja mówię: "Kurwa, co teraz będzie?" Bo się rzeczywiście przestraszyłem. Bo ja cały czas mówiłem... Adaś mówił: "Bardzo dobrze, szczęście że cię zamknęli, bo nie byłoby 'Solidarności' jak byś był na wolności". Bo ja cały czas nadawałem do Gdańska, to jest przetargowe żądanie, ja się bałem Związków Zawodowych. Bałem się Związków Zawodowych, bo sobie myślałem: biurokratyczna machina, którą my nie damy rady zrobić ona nas zeżre. Kim my ją zrobimy? Jakimi kadrami? No i mnie się zakręciło w głowie jak usłyszałem, że... Naprawdę wystraszyłem się. Mówi: "No i teraz albo Pan wyjdzie zaraz albo nieprędko". Ja myślę że on mówił prawdę ten pułkownik. Była koncepcja, żeby mnie trzymać no tylko tyle, że właśnie tam zapadła decyzja również, żeby mnie puścić o czym on jeszcze nie wiedział. I za chwilę zaczęło się wypuszczanie. Wypuszczono mnie, tłum ludzi pod tym... Eee... Pod więzieniem. Ula Dorożeska woła do mnie: "Mówiłam ci, że będą nas, że nas na rękach wyniosą". Bo ona do mnie na tej komendzie to przez okno mówiła.

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: Jacek Petrycki Marcel Łoziński

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.

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.

Tags: Independent Trade Unions, Solidarność, Gdańsk, Urszula Dorożewska

Duration: 1 minute, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008