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Lech Wałęsa


The role of the Church
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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[Q] The role of the Church, and the negotiations they had prepared as well as why the PZPR agreed to them.

The Church has accompanied all of the political and social events in this country for a very long time. It's a massive organisation which owes its place above all to the authority it has in a society which is mainly Catholic. In this way, there is no significant event that occurs in our life in which the Church does not somehow participate. The more these events affect the whole country, the greater the Church's involvement, especially as during the friction between Solidarity and the communists, the Church more than once had the opportunity to take on the role of an institution that attempted to mediate. That's why this time too, the Church had to be present, for lots of reasons, one of which was that the Church lent credence to everything in the eyes of this mass of Catholics in Poland. At the same time, the Church always attempted to reduce the scale of the conflict, and during the toughest times, it gave shelter within it walls to Solidarity at a time when this organisation was outlawed. It constantly tried to calm the conflict down, and so in a natural way this created a significant role for the Church once it came to definite negotiations.

[Q] Rola Kościoła i negocjacje, jakie przygotowali oraz dlaczego PZPR na to się zgodziło?

No, od dawna Kościół towarzyszy tutaj wszystkim wydarzeniom politycznym i społecznym tego kraju. Jest to potężna organizacja, która zawdzięcza swoje miejsce przede wszystkim dużemu autorytetowi w społeczeństwie głównie katolickim i w tej sytuacji nie ma po prostu ważnego wydarzenia w naszym życiu, w którym by jakiegoś udziału Kościół nie brał. A im bardziej wydarzenia tyczą całego życia kraju, tym bierze intensywniejszy udział, tym bardziej, że w starciach między „Solidarnością” a... a komunistami niejednokrotnie miał możność występować w roli kogoś, kto... instytucji, która próbuje podjąć mediacje. I stąd Kościół i tym razem musiał być obecny, z bardzo wielu przyczyn. Jedną z ważnych, ale... było to, że Kościół uwiarygodniał wszystko wobec tych mas katolickich w Polsce. Ale Kościół jednocześnie był takim... próbował łagodzić rozmiary konfliktu cały czas, nawet w najgorszym momencie, i zresztą udzielając schronienia w swoich lokalach „Solidarności”, w czasach nielegalności tej organizacji, to w każdym momencie starał się ostrość konfliktu łagodzić i to w sposób naturalny spowodowało tę wielką rolę Kościoła tutaj w momencie, kiedy doszło do konkretnych negocjacji.

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: Catholics, Solidarity, Church

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 15 March 2011