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Gierek the statesman


Sunday replacement manoeuvre
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Gdy jeszcze lała się krew na Wybrzeżu, wykonano nagle – była to niedziela – manewr wymiany władzy. Manewr taki jest zwykle dosyć skomplikowany, ale wykonano go bardzo zręcznie, znakomicie i od tego momentu ludzie zaczęli wierzyć, że może będzie już inaczej, że może coś się poprawi. Gierek miał opinię dobrego zarządcy, no potem się okazało, co ta opinia była warta. I nadzieja, wielka nadzieja ludzka, która była podtrzymywana, no, tymi sukcesami, którymi jak się okazało, były tylko te kredyty spłwające z Zachodu i wyrzucane stopniowo w błoto na przedsięwzięcia, które krajowi do niczego nie były potrzebne. Ale to minęło kilka lat, nim to się okazało.

While the blood was still flowing in the coastal towns, suddenly – it was a Sunday – they resorted to the ploy of changing the leader. A manoeuvre of this kind is generally quite complicated but this was performed very adroitly, and from that moment on, people began to believe that perhaps things will change now, that maybe something will improve. Gierek had a reputation for being a good manager; we saw later just how groundless that reputation was. And there was hope, the great hope of the people that was sustained by his achievements which, as it turned out later, were only loans from the West which were thrown away on projects which were of no benefit to the country. But it took several years before this became apparent.

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: Edward Gomułka

Duration: 1 minute, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 11 March 2011