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The consequences of being opinionated in the Party


Why I wasn't accepted into the Party straight away
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Jakoś niesłychanie szybko robiłem wtedy karierę i w krótkim czasie zostałem kierownikiem wydziału propagandy w zarządzie stołecznym ZMP, miałem 19 lat. Już gdzieś tam na początku, po przyjściu do pracy w zarządzie stołecznym, złożyłem papiery do partii, ale wtedy zapytano mnie na rozmowie wstępnej co czytam? Ja powiedziałem, że Rok 1920 Piłsudskiego, no bo to czytałem. Na co powiedziano mi nie, że nie powinienem tego czytać, że powinienem czytać historię WKP(b). Powiedziałem, że Historię WKP(b) już czytałem, a oni, że nigdy nie jest za dużo czytać. Rozśmieszyło mnie to. Rozśmieszyło mnie to tym bardziej, że w książce Rok 1920 Piłsudskiego jest Piłsudskiego pół książki, a pół książki Tuchaczewskiego Pochód za Wisłę przedrukowany. I akurat zderzenie tego faktu z faktem, że mnie się tego zakazuje czytać i dlatego mnie się nie przyjmuje do partii był jakimś tam elementem, tego mojego, mojej refleksji, że coś nie jest w porządku, ale słabym przyznaję. Życie tu miało, to właśnie ta nędza, to takie narastające napięcie, ten rozkład organizacji miało dużo większe, dużo większe znaczenie. Znaczy coraz bardziej raczej dochodziłem, że praktyka po prostu jest zła.

At that time, I was advancing up the career ladder very quickly, and within a short time, I'd been made head of the propaganda division in the ZMP committee for Warsaw. I was 19 years old. Somewhere in the beginning, soon after sorting work in the committee for Warsaw, I'd applied for membership of the Party, but then they asked me what I was reading. I told them I was reading 1920 by Piłsudski, because that's what I was reading then. So I was told that I shouldn't be reading that because I ought to be reading the history of the WKP(b). I told them I'd already read that to which they said, 'You can never read it enough.' I found that very funny. I found it funny because in Piłsudski's 1920, half the book is Piłsudski's, and the other half is a reprint of Tuchaczewski's March across the Vistula. The collision of this fact with the fact that I was forbidden to read this and that's why I wasn't being accepted into the Party formed a part of my reflection that something wasn't right here, but it was only a very faint notion I have to say. Life here had - this poverty, this growing tension, this organisational failure - was much, much more important. I mean I was drawing closer to the conclusion that in practice, it was simply wrong.

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: Party, 1920, ZMP, Warsaw, WKP, March across the Vistula, Józef Piłsudski, Michaił Tuchaczewski

Duration: 1 minute, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008