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A sense of community in Lwów
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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There's one story I remember very well because it was after that my father left for Kraków, for Warsaw where he began to work on the editorial team of Robotnik and in NOT. I think he was the general secretary of NOT, whereas back where we were, this story is very... The residents of Lwów were being deported and so we'd go to the train station to see our friends. Our friends, our first friends would come to our house after which everyone would leave together, and those friends had their friends. I remember this wonderful house full of clothes, furniture, cupboards, chests, baskets, and hoardes of people living there - families, friends, children, crowds of children, masses of people and all of them from Lwów, it was amazing. Lwów had a terrific sense of community and in the night, I'd hear from the other side of the wall, 'Mr Kuzek! When was the last time we saw each other?!' And they'd start to sing, when they drank they sang, they sang songs from Lwów all night long. Then my father went to Warsaw and those crowds of Lwów's finest residents remained. There was a Dr Pruszkowski whom I disliked intensely because he tried to discipline me, something no one had ever done before. He tried to introduce some order but was an uncompromising reactionary: one atom bomb and we'll all be back in Lwów. Before the referendum, he asked me my opinion about various points and said to me, 'Right then, let's start with agricultural reform.' 'I'm in favour', I said. 'Aha, so you're in favour, he says, and why's that?' So I explained it to him. So he says, 'Alright then, nationalisation of industry.' 'I'm in favour of that, too.' So he says, 'Fine.' But he asked me why again, I began to explain that it's obvious that it should belong to the people and that the workers deserve the fruit of their labours, I'd known all of this from my earliest childhood. So finally he said, 'What about this senate?' This was a bit problematic because I didn't really understand this but I said yes anyway. So he says, 'That means that you're in favour of three times 'yes'?' Oh well. I felt a bit awkward because of all of that ambivalence and because 'if there's not much going on upstairs, they'll say yes, yes, yes', but on the other hand, I was in favour. It must have been my father's ambivalence but I can't...

Świetnie pamiętam taką historię. Mianowicie, bo później bardzo szybko ojciec pojechał do Krakowa, do Warszawy, gdzie zaczął pracować w redakcji Robotnika i w NOT był chyba sekretarzem generalnym NOTu. A u nas, bo to bardzo taka historia... mianowicie Lwowian wysiedlali i szło się na dworzec patrzeć za znajomymi. Znajomi, pierwsi znajomi przychodzili do nas do domu i później wychodzili wszyscy razem i ci znajomi mieli swoich znajomych. Pamiętam taki cudowny dom, w którym stoją dziesiątki jakiś ciuchów, mebli, szaf, kufrów, koszy i mieszkają dziesiątki ludzi, zupełnie rodzin, kolegów, dzieci, tabuny dzieci, mnóstwo ludzi, tak wszyscy lwowianie to niesamowite jak to Lwów miał takie olbrzymie poczucie wspólnoty i ta noc taka, jak tam ja tam słyszę za ścianą jak mówi – mówi: "Panie Kurzku, góra z gór, gdzieśmy to się ostatni raz widzieli?" I śpiewają, bo w domku u nas śpiewano, jak pili to śpiewali, śpiewali lwowskie piosenki i śpiewają całe noce. Potem ojciec pojechał do Warszawy i tam tabuny tych lwowiaków zostały i był taki doktor Prószkowski, którego ja bardzo nie lubiłem, bo on mnie chciał dyscyplinować, a mnie nikt nigdy nie dyscyplinował. On taki tu porządek chciał prowadzić, a on był nieprzejednany reakcjonista: "Jedna bomba atomowa i wrócimy znów do Lwowa". I on mnie pytał przed referendum, co ja sądzę o kolejnych punktach. I mówi do mnie: "No dobra, dawajmy na początek" Powiada: "Reforma rolna? "Za jestem". Mówi: "Ach, jesteś za. Mówi: "No dobrze" – mówi – "A dlaczego?" No to ja mu coś tam tłumaczyłem, to on mówi: "Ok, dobra, dawaj... nacjonalizacja przemysłu?" "Też  – za jestem", a on mówi: "To dobra, no w porządku". Też pytał dlaczego, ja też coś tłumaczyłem, że do ludu ma należeć, oczywiście i robotnikom się należy, i że warsztat pracy, ja to wszystko wiedziałem od wczesnego dzieciństwa. I wreszcie powiada: "No z tym Senatem?" Ja tu miałem kłopoty, bo nie bardzo to rozumiałem, ale w każdym razie powiedziałem że tak i on mówi: "No, znaczy, ty krótko mówiąc trzy razy tak". "O" – mówi. I mnie było trochę głupio, właśnie ta cała ambiwalencja, bo komu w piątek brat głosuje "tak, tak, tak"? Ale z drugiej strony byłem za. To musiała być ambiwalencja mojego ojca i tu nie potrafię...

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: Warsaw, Robotnik, NOT, Lwów

Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008