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The Round Table made for strange bedfellows


The Round Table - an unusual item of furniture!
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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The Round Table was an unusual piece of furniture in one respect, namely around it sat the Minister of the Interior who had been in office throughout the entire time that Zbyszek Bujak had been in hiding while warrants for his arrest were circulating, and when six years later he was finally arrested. There were many other people there who had been in a similar situation, although perhaps they hadn't managed to stay in hiding for as long as Bujak had. Above all, there was Frasyniuk and Jacek Kuroń who'd spent nine years of his life in various prisons. Some of those years were during the reign of Minister Kiszczak. And these people now sat down around the same table, the Round Table, having first greeted one another. They exchanged amusing comments about how they were only just getting personally acquainted because until then, they'd known each other in a different way. Adaś Michnik said this in an exceptionally entertaining way. I think situations like these occasionally occur in history and so in this respect, it wasn't unique but there was something very unusual, paradoxical, slightly amusing in this while at the same time, you'd be observing this situation with a kind of unease. More unease than hope but it was unusual.

Okrągły Stół pod jednym względem był meblem niezwykłym: że siedział tam minister Spraw Wewnętrznych, który był przez cały ten czas ministrem Spraw Wewnętrznych, kiedy Zbyszek Bujak ukrywał się ścigany listami gończymi, kiedy wreszcie został po sześciu latach ukrywania się aresztowany. Kiedy w podobnej sytuacji, chociaż może nie udało im się tak długo jak Bujak ukrywać, ale było wielu innych tam ludzi, no, Frasyniuk przede wszystkim. Jacek Kuroń, który dziewięć lat swego życia spędził w więzieniach, w tym część tego czasu było właśnie za ministra Kiszczaka. No i ci ludzie siadają do wspólnego mebla, do okrągłego stołu, witają się przed tym. Wymieniają między sobą śmieszne zdania na ten temat, że oto poznali się w tej chwili osobiście, podczas gdy dotychczas znali się w inny sposób – to szczególnie zabawnie Adaś Michnik powiedział. Myślę, że takie sytuacje zdarzają się czasami w historii i pod tym względem ta może nie jest jedyna, ale rzeczywiście w tym jest coś niezwykłego, coś paradoksalnego; coś, co trochę bawi i trochę... trochę człowiek się... tak z pewnym niepokojem obserwuje taką sytuację. Bardziej z niepokojem niż z nadzieją, ale... ale jest to niezwykłe.

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: Round Table, Minister of the Interior, Zbyszek Bujak, Władysław Frasyniuk, Jacek Kuroń, Minister Czesław Kiszczak, Adam Michnik

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 14 March 2011