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NEXT STORY

Strike in Ursus

RELATED STORIES

To London straight from prison
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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No a mój los był taki, że kiedy mnie aresztowano, cztery dni na komendzie w jednej z dzielnic Warszawy do której Ursus administracyjnie należy, i po czterech dniach takiego ścisku – że kiedy otwierały się drzwi i wpychano kogoś nowego, to myśmy nie wierzyli, że uda się strażnikom go wepchnąć, tak było ciasno – po czterach dniach skończyło się to dla mnie zawałem. Ja jestem w ogóle po operacji serca, którą miałem w ’78 roku. Skończyło się to zawałem. Znalazłem się w rezultacie w szpitalu. No niemniej jednak, kiedy ze szpitala po pewnym czasie – okazało się, że zawał nie był rozległy – przewieziono mnie do więzienia mokotowskiego, no, stanąłem na... zasiadłem, przepraszam, na ławie oskarżonych wraz z kolegami z Ursusa, w bardzo... na bardzo honorowych warunkach zasiadłem, to znaczy jako pierwszy na ławie oskarżonych z zarzutem o zorganizowanie i kierowanie strajkiem ursuskim. I muszę powiedzieć, że gdyby było w tym chociaż trochę prawdy, to bym chodził dumny jak paw i jeszcze prawnukom, jeżelibym ich dożył, pewnie nie dożyję, ale wnuki już niedługo by mogły by słuchać, to bym opowiadał, jak ja wspaniale zorganizowałem najpierw strajk, a potem nim kierowałem. To wszystko była nieprawda. Przyszedłem do zakładów, które już strajkowały, a kiedy mi zaproponowano wejście do Komitetu Strajkowego to powiedziałem: „Przepraszam bardzo, załoga Ursusa mnie nie wybierała. Ja mogę być pytany o zdanie i chętnie będę je wypowiadał, ale decyzje za załogę Ursusa, a być może te decyzje będą bardzo ważne i bardzo się na losie ludzkim będą odbijać, mogą podejmować tylko ci, których załoga Ursusa wybierała”. I tak że nawet w Komitecie Strajkowym nie byłem, chociaż rzeczywiscie byłem przez Komitet Strajkowy o wszystko pytany, o zdanie. No i zostałem wyłączony ze względu wtedy na rzeczywiście na opłakany stan zdrowia, zostałem wyłączony do osobnego rozpatrzenia, no i siedziałam w tym... sobie w więzieniu mokotowskim, czekając, aż mi się poprawi, po czym nagle okazało się, że mogę pojechać do Londynu na badania, że władza się decyduje mnie wypuścić.

Przyszedł rzeczywiście ten termin, w którym ja powinienem normalnie jechać na badania, a tutaj w dodatku byłem w opłakanym stanie. Z tym że muszę powiedzieć, szczegółów ze względów zrozumiałych nie będę opowiadać, ale sytuacja poza tym, że prawdopodobnie władze wiedziały, że nie jest dobrym efektem trzymać człowieka bardzo chorego, któremu może coś się stać w więzieniu, to jednak główną rolę odegrało to, że ktoś z kimś gdzieś tam studiował, ktoś kogoś lubił, miał sentyment, akurat widywał się co parę dni z generałem Jaruzelskim służbowo i związku z tym mógł do niego zagadać, że może by tego Lipskiego puścić, on tam pewnie zostanie i nie wróci, a jak umrze w więzieniu, to będzie bardzo zły efekt. Coś takiego i na podstawie oczywiście cichej, nieoficjalniej decyzji samego generała Jaruzelskiego, można powiedzieć, prosto z aresztu udałem się do Londynu. Dosłownie właściwie prawie... coś jakie dwa dni spędziłem poza aresztem w domu przed tym wyjazdem, potem był i pobyt w Londynie, i powrót, kiedy się okazało, że będzie proces KOR-u, i aresztowanie nazajutrz po powrocie, to takie... takie były moje losy. To wszystko bym lepiej znosił prawdopodobnie, gdyby nie niepokój o rodzinę, to znaczy pomijając już to, że jedna z moich sióstr, dwóch moich siostrzeńców było internowanych; no, ale jednak moje rodzone dzieci były też internowane i to znaczy, że wysoko zostały ocenione, syn i córka... że wysoko ich oceniono, no, ale niepokoiłem się o ich los, nie wiedziałem czy dobrze, czy źle więzienie znoszą. Ja należałem do ludzi, którzy więzienie jednak mimo złego stanu zdrowia dobrze znoszą, psychicznie znaczy dobrze znoszę... ja znoszę więzienie. I to tyle.

Well, my fate was that once I was arrested, four days in a police station in one district of Warsaw to which Ursus was allocated administratively, and after four days of such overcrowding that when the door was opened and someone new was pushed in, we didn't believe that the guards would be able to push him in it was so cramped, after four days I ended up having a heart attack – I'd had cardiac surgery in ‘78. I ended up having a heart attack. As a result, I found myself in hospital. After a while spent in hospital, when it turned out the heart attack wasn't serious, I was taken to the prison in Mokotów. I stood... no, sorry, I sat in the dock alongside my friends from Ursus occupying a honorary place, meaning, I was first and was accused of organising and directing the strike in Ursus, and I have to say that if there was even a grain of truth in that, I'd be proud as a peacock and would have told my great-grandchildren, if I lived to see them, although I probably won't, but my grandchildren would have soon been able to have listened to me telling them how wonderfully I first organised and then directed the strike. None of this was true. I arrived at a factory that was already on strike and when it was suggested that I join the strike committee, I said, ‘Sorry but the Ursus workforce haven't elected me. You can ask me for my opinion and I'll gladly advise you but decisions in the name of the Ursus workforce which might be very important and which might have a very big impact on the fate of the people there can only be taken by people whom the Ursus workforce have elected.’ And so I wasn't even in the strike committee although the committee came to me for advice on everything. My truly woeful state of health also meant I wasn't able to participate and I was excluded, to wait for an individual trial so I spent my time in the prison in Mokotów waiting to get better when all of a sudden, it became possible for me to go to London for medical treatment, that the authorities had decided to let me go.

It was time for me to have my regular check up anyway and on top of that, I was in a woeful state. I have to say that for obvious reasons, I won't go into any details, but apart from the fact that the authorities probably knew it was not a good idea to keep a very sick person in prison when anything might happen to him, the main element here was that someone had been at university with somebody and they had a fondness for one another and happened to be meeting General Jaruzelski every few days in a professional capacity and so they were able to suggest to the General that perhaps it would be good to let that Lipski go as he'll probably stay there and not come back, but if he dies in prison it could have very bad consequences. Something along those lines, and so because of the tacit, unofficial decision of General Jaruzelski himself, you could say that I went directly from prison to London. I literally spent something like two days at home out of jail before that journey, then there was my stay in London and my return when it turned out that there was going to be a trial for the KOR [Komitet Obrony Robotników (Workers' Defence Committee)] activists and I was arrested the day after I got back; that was my fate. I probably would have borne this better if I hadn't been worrying about my family, meaning that apart from one of my sisters and two nephews being interned, my own children were also being held and that meant that they were viewed as important prisoners, my son and daughter, they were considered to be important but I worried about them and I didn't know how they were coping with being in prison. I'm one of these people who despite my poor health can put up with prison, I mean psychologically, I can cope with prison quite well. And that's all I have to say.

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: Ursus, Warsaw, Mokotów, London, KOR, Komitet Obrony Robotników, Workers' Defence Committee, General Wojciech Jaruzelski

Duration: 4 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011