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Writing about KOR brought me back to Warsaw


Arrival in London
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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No, poszły w ruch telefony, oczywiście, tak dalej, i już wieczorem moja żona wiedziała, że nazajutrz ma znowu pójść do tego samego pokoju, do tej samej pani, jeszcze raz składać. Tego następnego dnia ona się... już bez uśmiechu na twarzy, spokojnie, urzędniczo przyjęła wszystkie papiery, gdyż jej powiedziano, że wszystko jedno, czy tutaj się... jest dowód osobisty, nie ma dowodu osobistego – nie ma to żadnego znaczenia. I wyjechaliśmy wspólnie z żoną do Londynu i się okazało po zbadaniu, że wcale nie jest tak źle, jak się zdawało na gorąco, wówczas, kiedy tutaj to wszystko się działo, co mnie niezwykle ucieszyło. Potem żona musiała wracać z powrotem, bo jej się kończył urlop, a łatwo mogła być wyrzucona z pracy. Ja natomiast zabrałem się do pisania książki o KOR-ze.

Well, calls were made, of course, and by the evening my wife knew that she was to go back to the same woman in the same office the following day and make another application. This time, the woman was unsmiling and took all the papers and processed them in a calm, businesslike manner since she'd been told that it doesn't make any difference if the ID papers are there or not – it's all the same. So my wife and I left for London together, and after I'd had my check-up it turned out that things weren't as bad as they'd seemed in the heat of the moment when everything was kicking off, which cheered me up a lot. After that, my wife had to go back because her holiday was coming to an end and she could have easily lost her job, whereas I sat down to write my book on KOR [Komitet Obrony Robotników (Workers' Defence Committee)].

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: London, KOR, Komitet Obrony Robotników, Workers Defence Committee

Duration: 59 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011