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End of Gierek's era of prosperity


Living off loans
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Initially, this propaganda had a chance of catching on. People believed it because the standard of living really was improving. Before we realised this was all down to loans that were being given by the West and which were being spent in the most uneconomical, inefficient way, everyone was generally quite happy. People like it when their standard of living improves. We only woke up when things began to decline and we were faced with the next new disaster.

Z początku ta propaganda miała szansę chwycenia. Ludzie ją brali dlatego, że rzeczywiście podwyższała się stopa życiowa. Nim się przekonaliśmy, że to się dzieje na koszt pożyczek otrzymywanych z Zachodu, które są używane w sposób zupełnie nieekonomiczny, nieefektywny, no to było raczej ogólne zadowolenie. Ludzie lubią, jak im się stopa podwyższa, a ocknęli się wszyscy dopiero wtedy, kiedy się okazywało, że to zaczyna opadać, że następuje nowa klapa.

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: West

Duration: 45 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011