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Setting up of the Committee for Social Self-defence

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How to handle the opposition
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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No, to pobicie wywołało niesłychany wrzask, niesłychany krzyk. I takie olbrzymie oburzenie, ja myślę, sędziów, oni tu wyraźnie przesadzili i było tylko raz i urwało się. Ale pomysł, że to robiły radomskie władze jest o tyle nieprawdziwy, że zaraz potem myśmy przyjechali z Gają do Kazimierza na dziesięć dni, bo ja jakiś niesłychanie chory się porobiłem. I na tydzień żeśmy tu przyjechali i za nami przyjechała ekipa ubecka, którą kierował ten sam facet, co biciem kierował. Tak że on musiał być z MSW, a nie skądinąd. Te bicia zaczęły się potem z sądu radomskiego, utknęły, ale zaczęły się zagęszczać na Śląsku, bo bito naszych działaczy – Władka Suleckiego. I dowiedzieliśmy się z boku, że zapadła decyzja, żeby fizycznie się rozprawić z opozycją – jak rozumiem, żeby bić. I jak myślę przypadek Pyjasa był nieszczęśliwym przypadkiem przy pracy, po prostu go pobili i zabili.

Well, that beating caused a massive uproar, a massive uproar. I think, too, it was seen as hugely offensive by the judges as a clear overreaction which was a one-off and went out of control. But the idea that this had been done by the authorities in Radom is wrong. Soon after this, Gaja and I went to Kazimierz for 10 days because I suddenly became very ill, and so we went there for a week and were followed by a team from the UB which was headed by the same guy who'd led the beating, so he must have been receiving his orders from someone else. After that, the beatings that had begun in the Radom court stopped but then became very frequent in Silesia because our activists were beaten, Władek Sulecki. We found out in a roundabout way that the decision had been taken to resort to physical means in dealing with the opposition - I understood this to mean that they would beat us. As I see it, the incident with Pyjas was an unfortunate 'injury at work'; quite simply they beat him and killed him.

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: Radom, UB, Gaja Kuroń, Władysław Sulecki, Stanisław Pyjas

Duration: 54 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008