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The funny story of the 'beautiful Ophelia'
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Więc, jak tak ten KSS-KOR miał podjąć takie różnorodne zadania zaplecza, pomocy, to oczywiście jakby dużo wcześniej wyodrębniło się biuro interwencyjne Zbyszka i Zośki Romaszewskich, które tu odgrywało już wcześniej już w czasach KOR-u niemałą rolę i dla którego wykonywałem olbrzymią prace sitka, bo to przeze mnie przechodziły te wszystkie rzesze wariatów. I mam sobie zawsze za powód do dumy, że ja żadnego wariata nie skierowałem nigdy do nikogo, jak do mnie przyszedł wariat to trudno, na mnie został zablokowany. Bo inni, no nie mogę powiedzieć [śmiech]. Taki Michnik na przykład. Przyszła do niego taka panienka, to była taka stała klientka KOR-u, jedna z licznych takich stałych klientek KOR-u. Piękna Ofelia o niej mówili, taka Halina, miała takie długie włosy rozpuszczone, stara baba była. I mówiła, że sprzysiągł się przeciw niej Scotland Yard i NKWD i co ona do łóżka z jakimś panem na in flagranti nie, to w tym momencie wkracza ktoś do mieszkania, wkracza ktoś do mieszkania. I ona nie ma wyjścia, jest w ten sposób samotna. I w związku z tym jedyne wyjście, jakie ona widzi, żeby KOR jej kupił mieszkanie. I Michnik ją wysłał do Moczulskiego, a Moczulski do pana Rybickiego, pan Rybicki do Haliny. A ja twardo zatrzymałem, powiedziałem: "KOR owszem może kupi... Może kupimy Pani zamek? My Pani sfinansujemy mocny zamek przy drzwiach". I ona się na mnie obraziła. Mogę takiego wariata, ludzie to by było! Oj, przytoczyło się to na wariacie, oczywiście to tragiczne było. UB promieniuje, napromieniowuje, on umiera już ten nabolały, prześladowany wciąż i... Właściwie to, co oni opowiadali, bo przekonaliśmy się wielokrotnie, że nie ma takiej nieprawdopodobnej rzeczy, która by się nie okazała prawdziwa. Więc to, co oni opowiadali, nie było niemożliwe. Ja po jednym to bezbłędnie poznawałem mianowicie: "A jaki jest powód, żeby jego tak UB niszczyło?" No nie ma powodu. Michał to był taki facet, który mówił, że go UB gazuje. A to był zresztą były dobroszcza, taki komunista... i Mirek Chojny poszedł do niego do domu i co się okazało, że gazują go rzeczywiście sąsiedzi, którzy chcą nadmetraż zdobyć. Jedną panią, którą miano napromieniowywać napromieniowywał, proszę Was, mąż, któremu już się znudziła. No, mógłbym tak w nieskończoność krew mrożące w żyłach historie opowiadać. No, ale trzeba było wyłuskać z tego wszystkiego kogoś, komu... Kto się kwalifikował do pomocy i tychże przesyłałem do Zosi i Zbyszka? No i oni też swoimi drogami docierali do różnych ludzi. Można powiedzieć, że była taka... zresztą nie będę wcale... socjologiczny wymysł sobie darujmy.

So once KSS-KOR was meant to start all of that support activity - the office run by Zbyszek and Zośka Romaszewscy had already been established a good deal earlier, and had played a significant role in the KOR years. I'd been their filter because those hoards of lunatics passed through my hands. And I'm proud to say that I never passed any lunatic on to anyone else - if one came to me, well, tough, he got no further. Others can't say that - Michnik, for example. A young lady came to him, she was a regular at KOR, one of many. They called her 'beautiful Ophelia'. She was Halina, she wore her long hair loose, she was an old woman and she claimed that Scotland Yard and NKWD had it in for her, and that the moment she went to bed with some gentleman for a bit of 'in flagrante', someone would come into her apartment. And so that was that, this was why she was alone because of which there was only one thing for it according to her: KOR would have to buy her an apartment. Michnik sent her to Moczulski, Moczulski to Mr Rybicki and Mr Rybicki sent her to Halina. I stopped her in her tracks and said, of course KOR can buy... we can buy you a lock. We'll pay for a strong lock on your door but she was terribly offended by this. I can take on a loony like that - what a performance! There was one lunatic this reminds me of, of course, it was tragic. He was being exposed to radiation by the UB, he was dying, in pain, persecuted... In fact, of the things they told us there was nothing so improbable that it couldn't be true - we saw this on more than one occasion. So the things they told us weren't impossible. There was always one way in which I could tell if it was true or not: what was the UB's reason for destroying him in that way? There was no reason. Michał was this guy who said the UB was trying to gas him, he was a former communist and Mirek Chojny went to his home, and it turned out that his neighbours really were trying to gas him because they wanted to claim the extra floor space. One lady who claimed she was being exposed to radiation was indeed being irradiated by her husband who had grown tired of her. I could go on telling stories like this that would make your blood run cold. But in all of this, we had to identify the people who qualified for help from us, and these were the people I sent to Zosia and Zbyszek. They, too, reached people by different routes. We could say there was a... I'm not going to... we can spare ourselves a lecture on sociology.

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: KSS-KOR, UB, Zbyszek Romaszewski, Zofia Romaszewska, Adam Michnik, Leszek Moczulski, Mirosław Chojny

Duration: 3 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008