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NEXT STORY

The students' battle

RELATED STORIES

March '68 - strikes and demonstrations
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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W związku z tym dla nas było zupełnie jasne, że sami nie wytrzymamy i że gdyby nas robotnicy wsparli, to wygramy i Adaś nawet proponował, żeby iść do fabryk z ulotkami. Ale żeśmy to odrzucili, mówiąc, że to byłby sygnał dla tamtych do bicia, natomiast nic nie osiągniemy, bo nie można z zewnątrz zakładu ulotki wrzucić na zakład. Wrzucić można, tylko skutki jej są żadne. I ja myślę, że jednak, niestety, mieliśmy rację. W każdym bądź razie wybrali ten termin: relegowali, wbrew prawu, bo właśnie bez komisji dyscyplinarnej, a decyzją ministra, do czego minister nie miał prawa, Michnika i Szlajfera z Uniwerku. Ofiary wybrali dość przypadkowo. Znaczy nie przypadkowo w tym sensie, że Szlajfer miał odpowiednie nazwisko, a tata Michnika nazywa się Szechter Ozjasz, więc to o to szło przede wszystkim. No Michnika – Michnik był dla nich już dawno solą w oku, ale myślę, że tu nie o to szło, że tu szło o to po prostu, żeby nas zmusić do kontruderzenia, ale już szło by o jakieś żakowskie sprawy, o dwóch studentów, a nie o żadne Dziady. Myślę, że oni się z wiecem liczyli. I myśmy to wszystko wtedy brali pod uwagę, ale zdecydowaliśmy się ruszyć, bo nad nami – nade mną i Karolem – ciążył błąd październikowy: daliśmy się zabić po cichu. Mówiliśmy, a trzeba było wyjść z rozwiniętymi sztandarami. Dobrze, przegramy, ale wszyscy się dowiedzą, żeśmy byli i o cośmy walczyli i zwołaliśmy wiec na 8 marca, którego już większość komandosów nie oglądała, bo siedziała. Większość, byli tam niektórzy z nas, akurat ci wytypowani do czytania i przemawiania, dlatego że myśmy brali pod uwagę kogo oni tu mogą wsadzić. Irka Lasota czytała rezolucję, Mirek Sawicki też jakąś rezolucję miał czytać, już nie pamiętam. Irka Grudzińska coś w organizacji wiecu miała robić. Większość komandosów zamknięto poprzedniego dnia wieczorem, część poprzedniego wieczorem, siódmego wieczorem, część ósmego rano, mnie ósmego zaraz po wiecu, ale ja na wiecu oczywiście nie byłem, nie byłem związany już wówczas formalnie z Uniwerkiem w żaden sposób. Tak że wylądowałem w więzieniu, ale w olbrzymim towarzystwie. W tym pałacu Mostowskich był po prostu dziki tłum, olbrzymi tłum, na korytarzach, wszędzie kłębiło się, ludzie się witali, opowiadali sobie jak idą kolejne wiece, demonstracje, bo cóż się stało – na wiec wtargnęła policja i nieumundurowani osobnicy, którzy zrobili straszne bicie i to hukiem odezwało się po całym kraju. Pierwsza przyłączyła się Politechnika, zaczęła strajk okupacyjny, a za nią poszły, proszę ciebie, strajki w całym kraju. Strajki, komitety strajkowe, rezolucje, żądania, no ale myśmy siedzieli w tym czasie już.

Therefore it was quite clear to us that we wouldn't manage by ourselves and that if we got the support of the workers, we'd win. Adaś even suggested we go to the factories with our flyers but we rejected this idea saying it would be a signal to the others to start the beatings, whereas we wouldn't have achieved anything because you can't distribute flyers from outside in the factory. You can bring them in but they'd make no impact. So I thought unfortunately we were right. Either way they chose that time: Michnik and Szlajfer were expelled from the uni even though this was against the law because there was no disciplinary commission and so the minister didn't have the right. They chose their victims randomly. Well, not exactly randomly because Szlajfer had the appropriate name while Michnik's father was called Szechter Ozjasz, so that's what they after mainly. Well, Michnik - Michnik had been a thorn in their flesh for a long time but I don't think they were after, what they were after was simply to force us to counter-attack which would have meant that the whole thing was about two university students and not about Dziady. I think they'd expected a rally. And we'd taken all of this into consideration but we decided to make a move because we had hanging over us, that is over Karol and over me, the mistakes we'd made in October: we allowed ourselves to be quietly exterminated, so we said whereas we should have marched out with flags flying. Fine, so we'll lose but everyone will know that we were there and what we were fighting for, so we arranged a rally for March 8 which most of the commandos didn't get to see because they were banged up. The majority although there were a few of us, those who had been chosen to read or to give a speech, that's why we took into consideration who they might lock up. Irka Lasota read the resolution, Mirek Sawicki was meant to read out some resolution, too, I can't remember now. Irka Grudzińska was involved in organising the rally. Most of the commandos had been locked up the previous evening, some on the evening of the 7th, some on the morning of the 8th, I was locked up on the 8th soon after the rally ended although I, naturally, hadn't attended the rally - I no longer had any formal associations with the uni by then. So I ended up in prison but with lots of company. In that Mostowski Palace there was a vast, enormous crowd in the corridors, everywhere was heaving with people, greeting one another, telling each other how the different rallies and demonstrations were going. What had happened was this: the police and plain clothed individuals had invaded the rally and had beaten the students terribly, and this had reverberated across the country. The Polytechnic had been the first to join in with a sit-in strike, and this was followed by strikes throughout the country. Strikes, strike committees, resolutions, demands. But by then, we'd been locked up.

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: Dziady, Mostowski Palace, Adam Michnik, Henryk Szlajfer, Ozjasz Szechter, Irena Lasota, Mirosław Sawicki, Irka Grudzińska

Duration: 3 minutes, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008