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'They don't want us here'


Mass emigration follows the anti-Semitic campaign
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Następstwem bezpośrednim, a właściwie częścią składową tej akcji antysemickiej, obok głosów propagandowych, obok prasy, było wyrzucanie ludzi nie tylko z partyjnych czy państwowych stanowisk, ale ludzi z różnego rodzaju miejsc pracy, gdzie wyrzucano – na przykład w wydawnictwie potrafiono wyrzucić korektora – i odbywały się jednocześnie jakieś takie, no, gintoiry, jakieś takie sądy kapturowe, gdzie zaczęto dociekać kto jest Żydem, kto nie – przepraszam, kto jest syjonistą, kto nie – dlatego, że ma babkę o której jakoś się nie pamięta. No, było to wszystko razem przerażające i w rezultacie, kiedy Gomułka łaskawie zaproponował, że kto chce, to może wyemigrować i dostanie papiery wyjazdowe do Izraela, kilkanaście tysięcy ludzi w Polsce – zarówno ludzi, którzy się czuli Żydami, jak i ludzie, którzy się czuli Polakami, a byli żydowskiego pochodzenia– -opuściło Polskę, jadąc zresztą niekoniecznie do Izraela, ale w wiele innych miejsc świata. No, parokrotnie musiałem na Dworcu Gdańskim, który wtedy nazywano Umschlagplatzem, żegnać moich przyjaciół.

The direct result or actually, an integral part of this anti-Semitic action alongside the propaganda being voiced, alongside the press, was the sacking of people not just from party or national posts but of people from all kinds of places of employment. For example, the proofreader was dismissed from a publishers, and all these kangaroo courts were held to determine who was a Jew and who wasn't – I beg your pardon, who was a Zionist and who wasn't – on account of a grandmother whom he couldn't quite recall. This whole thing was terrifying and as a result, when Gomułka graciously suggested that anyone who wanted to emigrate would be granted the documents they needed to leave for Israel, several thousand people in Poland, including those who considered themselves to be Jewish as well as those who considered themselves to be Polish but were of Jewish descent, left Poland. They didn't necessarily go to Israel but travelled to many other places in the world. I found myself having to say goodbye to my friends on several occasions as they left from Gdańsk Station, which had been renamed Umschlagplatz.

Jan Józef Lipski (1926-1991) was one of Poland's best known political activists. He was also a writer and a literary critic. As a soldier in the Home Army (Armia Krajowa), he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In 1976, following worker protests, he co-founded the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR). His active opposition to Poland's communist authorities led to his arrest and imprisonment on several occasions. In 1987, he re-established and headed the Polish Socialist Party. Two years later, he was elected to the Polish Senate. He died in 1991 while still in office. For his significant work, Lipski was honoured with the Cross of the Valorous (Krzyż Walecznych), posthumously with the Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1991) and with the highest Polish decoration, the Order of the White Eagle (2006).

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: Zionist, Gdańsk Station, Israel, Władysław Gomułka

Duration: 1 minute, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 11 March 2011