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October thaw. The display cabinet

RELATED STORIES

October thaw. First rallies
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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No więc myśmy się szykowali do realizacji naszego planu, takiej dużej ofensywy politycznej, nastawionej na wybory, które były gdzieś tam w jesieni. Więc zdawało nam się, że to się pociągnie i pociągnie, ale zaraz po przyjeździe studentów, czyli na początku września 1956, zwołaliśmy wiec do auli Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. On jest o tyle ważny, że tam sformułowano to hasło: "Nie ma chleba bez wolności i nie ma wolności bez chleba" – taki program bardzo radykalnych działań. I tłum, ale umiarkowany jeszcze, nie taki jak za chwilę na Politechnice Warszawskiej. Był tam Goździk z delegatami Żerania, po raz pierwszy go słyszałem przemawiającego na wiecu. Olbrzymia oczywiście owacja, entuzjazm. Ta świadomość, że zmieni się tu cokolwiek, jak będzie jednolity front inteligencji i robotników, była taka dość mocno wykrystalizowana. Trudno powiedzieć, czy to ze względu na nasz marksistowski światopogląd, czy to ze względu na to, żeśmy już rozumieli jakie siły mogą wymusić ustępstwa na władzach. A że wymuszać ustępstwa na władzach żeśmy chcieli, to nie ulega żadnej wątpliwości. Byliśmy dość nieufni do kierownictwa partii. No i ten wiec jest także dlatego ważny, że wtedy żeśmy zwołali następny wiec, który został zwołany do Politechniki Warszawskiej. I tak się zaczęły wiece na Politechnice Warszawskiej, po prostu przeniosły się. Ale między jednym wiecem a drugim, przyjechał do nas, do zarządu uczelnianego ZMP, Krzyś Pomian – nie, Krzyś był w tym zarządzie, Krzyś Wolicki i Romek Zimand i przywieźli nam tekst. Informację o tym, że zaczyna się VIII plenum, właśnie był przełom września i października. Informację, że zaczyna się VIII plenum oraz tekst proponowanych zmian w składzie kierownictwa VIII plenum. A myśmy te informacje natychmiast po prostu wywiesili w gablotce.

We were preparing to put our plan into action. It was going to be a big political offensive, aimed at the elections which were going to be held sometime in the autumn. We thought this would go on and on, but soon after the students arrived at the start of September '56, we organised a rally in the main hall of Warsaw University. This rally was significant because that was where we came up with the motto 'No bread without freedom and no freedom without bread'. It was a programme of very radical activity. There was a crowd but it was moderate compared with the one that gathered a while later at the Warsaw Polytechnic. Goździk was there together with delegates from Żeranie. It was the first time I'd heard him speaking at a rally. He got a huge ovation, lots of enthusiasm. The notion that something could be changed if the intellectuals and the workers formed a united front was already well-formed. It's hard to say whether this was because of our Marxist outlook or because we understood by then what type of pressure would force the authorities to compromise. There's no doubt that we wanted to force the authorities into making compromises. We were fairly suspicious of the Party's leadership. This rally is also important because that's when we called for the next one which was held at the Warsaw Polytechnic. And that's how the rallies at the Warsaw Polytechnic began, they were simply transferred. But in between one rally and the other, we were visited at the ZMP student committee by Krzyś Pomian, no, Krzyś was in the committee, it was Krzyś Wolicki and Romek Zimand, and they brought us a text, information that the VIII plenary session was starting, it was the end of September, beginning of October. It was information about the start of the VIII plenary session as well as a text about the proposed changes to the make up of the leadership of the VIII plenary session. We immediately hung up this information in the display cabinet.

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: Warsaw University, Warsaw Politechnic, Zeranie, Party, ZMP, Lechosław Goździk, Krzysztof Pomian, Krzysztof Wolicki, Roman Zimand

Duration: 2 minutes, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008