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My outlook at the start of World War II


Segregation in the classroom
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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I was 13 years old when the war broke out and I was very aware of what was going on around me socially, politically – I found it all very interesting. I read a lot and because of this, I was already a bit prepared for this period of war, I wasn't quite such a novice. However, this was only on the level of a 13-year-old boy, a bright one and one who was fairly mature, but nothing more than that. Again, most of my education was thanks to my sister. One day, she came home with a wound to her head because members of ONR [Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny (National Radical Camp)] had turned the class benches into a ghetto, and my sister, who was by then a student, refused to sit, didn't want to sit on the right, Aryan side but instead stood along with all the others who were protesting, and so they split her head open for that, although it wasn't bad enough for her to have to go to hospital with it. So these were components of a kind of education, and I recall that by then I already hated members of ONR, not because they'd bashed my sister over the head but I already had some idea of what was going on. But that's all, there's not much more I can say about this.

Tak, no kiedy wybuchła wojna, to miałem trzynaście lat i byłem bardzo dobrze właśnie zorientowany w tym co się dzieje w życiu społecznym, politycznym – bardzo to mnie interesowało, dużo czytałem i w związku z tym wszedłem jakby tak w ten okres ­­wojenny już trochę przygotowany, nie taki zielony zupełnie. No, ale to oczywiście było na poziomie jednak trzynastoletniego chłopca, może takiego bystrego czy rozwiniętego dosyć, ale nic więcej. Właściwie znowu ja wiele z edukacji swoich zawdzięczam siostrze. Bo siostra wróciła kiedyś z rozbitą głową, a chodziło o to, że ponieważ ONR-owcy wprowadzali getto ławkowe, moja siostra była już wtedy studentką, to nie chciała siedzieć... nie chciała siedzieć po prawej stronie aryjskiej, tylko stała wraz z takimi protestującymi, no to jej... no to jej rozbili łeb po prostu. Nie tak groźnie, żeby aż do szpitala miała pójść. No a to były elementy też już pewnej edukacji. W każdym razie pamiętam, że ONR-owców już wtedy nienawidziłem. Nie tylko dlatego, że siostrze łeb rozbili, ale ja trochę rozumiałem, co się dzieje. Ale to wszystko, nic tam więcej na ten temat się nie da powiedzieć.

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: National Radical Camp

Duration: 1 minute, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011