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Imposition of martial law took us by surprise

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Growth of social initiatives
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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We say Solidarity, and Solidarity really was the movement that encompassed everything that was happening at that time, but we need to remember that a vast number of various social initiatives were being generated then. For instance, old combatants from the war years attempted to recreate, build combatant's unions independently of the government, student organisations were set up, various clubs, organisations dealing with a large number of social needs which until then had not been met. It was a huge wave of various initiatives, unions, associations, to say nothing of the activation of many existing associations. Then it became a huge force, not because of the number of people who were involved but because of their calibre. In actual fact, all the major creative unions were taken over by the opposition which was decidedly co-operating very fully with Solidarity while not being dependent on it. I can't sum it up and describe it here; it would need to go into a huge document.

Mówi się „Solidarność” i rzeczywiście „Solidarność” była tym ruchem obejmującym to wszystko, co się wówczas działo, ale to trzeba pamiętać, że powstawała ogromona ilość w tym czasie różnego rodzaju inicjatyw społecznych; powiedzmy sobie, starzy kombatanci z okresu wojny zaczęli próbować odtwarzać... budować niezależny od władz związek kombatancki, powstawały organizacje studenckie, powstawały różnego rodzaju kluby, organizacje, które... no, dla zaspakajania ogromnej ilości potrzeb społecznych, które dotychczas nie były zaspokojone. Była to ogromna fala różnego rodzaju inicjatyw, związków, stowarzyszeń, nie mówiąc o uaktywnieniu się wielu już istniejących stowarzyszeń. W pewnym momencie taką dużą siłą nie ze względu na liczebność, ale ze względu na ciężar gatunkowy ludzi wchodzących w skład tych związków, było właściwie opanowanie najważniejszych związków twórczych przez opozycję i która... przez opozycję, która była zdecydowana na jak najdalej idącą współpracę z „Solidarnością”, ale jednak, bynajmniej na nie... nie na zależność od „Solidarności”. I to wymaga jakiejś wielkiej monografii, nie sposób tego po prostu ująć i opowiedzieć.

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: 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: Solidarity

Duration: 1 minute, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011