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Zośka's fatal attraction to cyanide

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Living with Zośka
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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W międzyczasie trzeba było ewakuować tę ulicę, bo to ojciec na Żulińskiego prowadził fabryczkę lamp, bo ojciec pracował w wywiadzie Armii Krajowej. Jego szefem był taki pan, który wówczas nazywał się Śledziński, który zresztą... nie wiem, bo on do dziś dnia się ukrywa, to znaczy ma lewe nazwisko i w domu ja mówiłem, jak byłem mały: "Przyszedł pan Śledziński", na co tata mówił: "Cicho, on się teraz nazywa Myślenicki". On się też nie ujawnił, on był szefem wywiadu wojskowego we Lwowie Armii Krajowej, a ojciec u niego pracował i miał taki warsztat elektryczny. On prowadził taki sklep z urządzeniami elektrotechnicznymi i ja tam do niego do tego sklepu często chodziłem, a do ojca nosiłem różne rzeczy i od niego do ojca i wywiad Armii Krajowej załatwił ojcu kierowanie fabryczką lamp na ulicy Żulińskiego, gdzie ojciec już zupełnie z innej akcji ukrywał Żydów, także trzeba było likwidować ten cały interes i ojciec do spółki z tym panem Czajką, który miał być Ukraińcem, co przedtem była ta historia na Łyczakowskiej, pod piątym założyli warsztat mechaniczny też na zlecenie Armii Krajowej i też tam ukrywali Żydów. Tam się między innymi ukrywał ten Grab, co go tata z domu wyrzucił. No, ale tam się zrobiła wielka awantura, więc – bo to był cały czas punkt przerzutowy. Ustalono, że to się zrobi na Asnyka i na tą Asnyka sprowadziłem się ja z Zośką, a moi rodzice przeprowadzili się na Kochanowskiego do takiej pani generałowej austriackiej – cudownej baby, wdowy po generale austriackim. Kiedyś, kiedy tam mieszkałem z rodzicami, pod naszym oknem była strzelanina – mianowicie jakiś wyrok, przyjechać do Lwowa wykonali chłopcy z "Parasola", ja to wojnie już przeczytałem i z okna widziałem ten moment strzelania. Taki numer jest, facet dobiegał do roweru chyba, do roweru, i taki Niemiec wyjął rewolwer i zaczął strzelać i on tak zygzakiem jechał na tym rowerze, wreszcie zeskoczył z tego roweru, doskoczył do bramy i ostrzeliwał się. I wbiegli do... wbiegł do naszej bramy. Ja później gdzieś czytałem opis tej... im się ta ucieczka, o ile ja pamiętam, z tego co czytałem, udała. Natomiast wbiegł do naszej bramy, tamta brama wprawdzie była przejściowa, ale oni... później otoczyli kwartał i kontrolowali mieszkania, a w naszym domu wszystkie. Przyszli otworzyła im generałowa – to była Węgierka, Kiszkis się nazywała – już nie pamiętam. Dom w którym było wszystko, co tylko kto pragnie, wszystko. I rewolwery, i kawałek drukarni, i ludzie mieszkali lewi, na lewych papierach, i wszystko – i ona tam... na drzwiach była taka duża wizytówka generała jeszcze – generał umarł przed samą wojną. Wprowadziła ich do salonu, gdzie wisiał duży portret generała w mundurze z żelaznym krzyżem, oni zasalutowali, przeprosili. Zapytali, dwóch esmanów, czy ktoś tu przychodził, ona powiedziała, że nikt i wyszli.

Otóż moi rodzice się właśnie przeprowadzili na Kochanowskiego, a ja mieszkałem przez pewien czas z Zośką na tej Asnyka i cudownie mi z nią było. Niesłychanie się z nią zaprzyjaźniłem, ona była taka panienka, ewidentnie panienka z dobrego domu bardzo spolonizowanego. Opowiadała mi różne historie, taka była strasznie patriotka. Poza tym miała taki pomysł, że trzeba się biednymi opiekować, tam syn dozorcy tego domu na Asnyka był taki trochę pokręcony jakiś po może Heine, może wtedy Heine nie było, nie wiem jakaś taka ta. Więc ona tam jakieś zabawki do niego nosiła, coś tam. Bieda była u nas wtedy jakaś taka niesamowita, pamiętam. Ale ona się uważała za panienkę z dobrego domu i na dowód zupełnie nowe, różne rzeczy mi pokazywała.

In the meantime, we had to evacuate that street because my father had a small workshop on Żuliński Street where he made lamps as he worked in the AK's intelligence unit. His boss was a man called Śledziński who, I don't know, to this day he's in hiding, I mean, he has a false name. When I was small, whenever he came to our house I'd say, 'Mr Śledziński's arrived', to which my father would say, 'Quiet. His name's Myślenicki now.' He didn't break cover either, he was head of army intelligence in the Lwów AK, and my father worked for him and had an electricals workshop... he was in charge of a shop selling electrical appliances and I used to go and see him often in that shop and bring stuff for my father and from him to my father. The intelligence unit of the AK arranged for my father to be in charge of this lamp manufacturers on Żuliński Street where my father hid Jews, but for a completely different organisation. So then they had to get rid of the whole thing and together with Mr Czajka, who was supposed to have been a Ukrainian and who'd been involved in that incident on Łyczakowska, they set up a mechanics workshop at number five also at the request of the AK and they hid Jews there, too. Among others, Grab hid there. He was the man that my father had thrown out of our house. However, there was a terrible row there - it was a point of transit throughout all that time. It was decided that this would be moved to Asnyk Street, and so Zośka and I moved to Asnyk Street while my parents moved to Kochanowski Street where they lodged with an Austrian general's widow. She was a wonderful woman. Once, when I was living there with my parents, there was a shoot-out under our window. A sentence was being carried out, some lads from Parasol had come to Lwów to carry it out. I read about this after the war. I saw the shooting from the window. What happened was a guy ran up to a bicycle and a German took out his gun and started shooting while the first guy zig-zagged his way across the street on the bicycle until he finally jumped off it, ran to the entrance of the courtyard and returned fire. They ran into our courtyard. Later, I read a description somewhere of that - from what I can remember from what I read, they managed to get away. But he ran into our courtyard, the other one had an exit but they were... later they surrounded that quarter and began monitoring the apartments, all of them in our house. They came and the General's wife opened the door to them - she was Hungarian, her name was Kiszkis - I don't remember. It was a house in which you could find everything, anything you wanted: guns, parts of printing works, people staying who weren't supposed to be there, with forged documents, everything. On the door, there was a big sign with the General's name still on it - the General had died just before the war broke out. She led them into the drawing room where there was a big portrait of the General wearing his uniform and his Iron Cross, they saluted, apologised. Two SS-men asked whether anyone had been there, she replied that no one had and they left. My parents had just moved in to Kochanowski Street while I was living with Zośka on Asnyk Street, and I loved living with her. We became very close, she was a young lady, obviously a young lady from a good family which had become polonised. She told me all kinds of stories, and she was terribly patriotic. In addition, she had this idea that poor people needed to be looked after. The son of the caretaker of the house on Asnyk Street was a bit disabled, I think he'd had polio but maybe polio wasn't around at that time, I don't know what it was. So she used to take him toys and other things. I remember we were terribly poor at that point, but she considered herself to be a young lady from a good family and as proof of that, she taught me all kinds of new things.

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: Lwów

Duration: 4 minutes, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008