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The underground resistance movement
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Podziemie zaczęło się właściwie organizować tak naprawdę z dosyć sporym opóźnieniem. Struktury były rozbite, masy ludzi siedziało jednak w obozach dla internowanych, no i właśnie ten szok pewien, który nastąpił, ale jednak już po kilku miesiącach, można powiedzieć, że te struktury zaczęły stopniowo rosnąć w siłę i działać. Było to działanie głównie natury propagandowej – prasa, ulotki czy odwrotnie może: ulotki, prasa, napisy na murach, na parkanach. I coraz bardziej było widać w ten sposób obecność podziemia, z tym że trzeba powiedzieć, że podziemie niewiele więcej miało poza tym w tym momencie do roboty. Zaczęto organizować demonstracje – demonstracje, które były początkowo spontaniczne, zaczęły być bardziej demonstracjami kierowanymi, ale jednocześnie ponosiło też i nowe porażki podziemie, na przykład wezwanie w grudniu w rocznicę zamachu do strajku powszechnego, spaliło na panewce, co zarazem uświadamiało, że siła tego podziemia nie jest tak duża, jakby jego uczestnicy sobie życzyli. Niemniej jednak był to element nieustannie obecny w naszym życiu społecznym, podgrzewający sytuację, powodujący to, że ludzie nie mieli zbyt dużej chęci do tego, żeby wewnętrznie już skapitulować, ograniczali często swój udział w tych działaniach na rzecz zmiany sytuacji. Nie każdy odważył się pójść na demonstrację, kto w gruncie rzeczy moralnie powinien był pójść; niemniej jednak nie były to akty kapitulacyjne i to jest duża zasługa podziemia, ale więcej się chyba działo w płaszczyźnie spontanicznych odruchów ludzkich niż w dziedzinach zorganizowanych przez podziemie, tak ja to oceniam. Ja wyszedłem na wolność ze szpitala w Aninie, gdzie byłem pod nieustanną strażą tam funkcjonariuszy, wyszedłem dosyć wcześnie, bo to był ’82 rok przed świętami Bożego Narodzenia chyba, w dniu wigilinym bodajże. No, bez trudu jakoś złapałem kontakty z podziemiem...z tym że muszę powiedzieć, że w tym okresie byłem raczej outsiderem, to znaczy do wielu rzeczy przykładałem rękę, w wielu...sprawach jakoś udawało mi się w ten czy inny...pomóc, ale nie była to systematyczna, zorganizowana praca dopóty, dopóki nie powstała związana z regionem Mazowsze – ale to już dosyć późno było, nie pamiętam w którym roku, ale to sporo czasu minęło – taki...takie ciało konsultacyjno-programujące złożone z kilkunastu osób, w skład którego wszedłem i tam funkcjonowałem. Reszta to były dorywcze uczestnictwo w tym, w różnego rodzaju sprawach, jak po zabójstwie księdza Popiełuszki na przykład powołanie...Komitetu Obywatelskiego Przeciw Przemocy, który działał co prawda krótko, ale jednak pewną swoją rolę spełnił mimo krótkotrwałości istnienia; właśnie doraźnie, w tych czy innych, jakichś takich... pisywałem od czasu do czasu do prasy podziemnej, trochę uczestniczyłem też pomagając tylko, a nie kierując w jakichś sprawach wydawniczych, i to właśnie było wszystko. Ja nie jestem i nie należę do grona ludzi, którzy odegrali kluczową rolę w tym, żeby „Solidarność” przeżyła do dnia dzisiejszego, moja rola była raczej rolą szeregowego.

Well, the underground resistance movement began to organise itself quite late in the day, really. Its structures were smashed, a lot of people were imprisoned in internment camps and there was the shock that followed. However, after a few months, you could say that the structures were gradually beginning to grow stronger and to function, although mainly, they concerned themselves with the spreading of propaganda in the form of newspapers, leaflets or perhaps it should be the other way around: leaflets, newspapers, slogans on the walls, on fences. This way, the presence of the underground resistance gradually became more visible except I have to say that at that time, there wasn't much more for them to be doing. They began to hold demonstrations – demonstrations which at first were spontaneous but then became more organised. At the same time, the underground began to experience new defeats as for example their call in December, a year after the coup, to hold a general strike which misfired and made those engaged in the underground realise that they weren't as strong as they would have liked to have been. Nevertheless, it was an element that was constantly present in our social life, keeping things on the boil, and making people feel that they didn't much want to give in so they often limited their participation in these actions to attempts to change the situation. Not everyone who morally should have gone dared to go to demonstrations but even this wasn't an act of capitulation, and this is a big achievement on the part of the underground. However, I'd say that there was more happening on the level of people's spontaneous reactions than in those areas that were being organised by the underground. I was released from the hospital in Anino where I had been under constant police guard. I came out quite early because it was '82, just before Christmas, I think it was Christmas Eve. I established contact with the underground fairly easily although I have to say that at that point, I was an outsider really. I was involved in many things, and I was able to help in one way or another in lots of cases, but this wasn't a systematic, organised application until a kind of consultative programming body was formed, linked to the Mazowsze region although this came quite late, I don't remember which year but a fair amount of time had gone by. Several people were in this body including me and that's where I worked. Anything else was just sporadic involvement in various issues, for example, following the murder of Father Popiełuszko, there was the formation of the Citizen's Committee Against Violence. It's true that it wasn't active for long, but it fulfilled its role despite being short-lived. Occasionally, I would write something for one or another underground publication, I was involved in helping but not managing a few editorial matters and that was about everything. And that was all I did. I'm not one of those people who played a key role in ensuring that Solidarity survives to this day. I was more of a foot soldier.

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: Mazowsze, Citizens Committee Against Violence, Solidarity, Father Jerzy Popiełuszko

Duration: 5 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 15 March 2011