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Stalin is dead!


Making the unpalatable palatable
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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The rebellion in Berlin was, of course... that was news which spread fast and obviously anyone who wanted to know more than just what was being broadcast on the radio or printed in Trybuna Ludu or in similar papers, would listen to the radio. Today, it's hard to conceal… I'm not talking about the actual event but about the way it happens, so that people don't know anything about it. I remember this very well because in the National Institute of Publishing where I was working at the time, we published press reports and one of the editors, who was a party member, got very carried away as he explained to us what had happened. Namely, he had the idea that it was the Red Army, Soviet tanks that had saved us from the disaster that could have happened in Berlin, cutting East Berlin off from West Berlin, and bringing order to those who had initiated the ferment. At this, one of the people present, I won't say who it was because I like him too much, who was better informed and had a better sense of what ought to be said, corrected him. This is what he said: ‘Mr Henry, they only divided the eastern half of Berlin from the western half. It was the Germans themselves who restored order, the Germans themselves’. This was very nice. I thought to myself, this is how press reports ought to be prepared, one ought to begin by being well informed.

O powstaniu w Berlinie od razu oczywiście się... to jednak wiadomość, która się szybko rozeszła, no i oczywiście kto nie chciał poprzestać na wiadomościach z radia czy „Trybuny Ludu” czy tam tych podobnych gazet, no to otwierał po prostu radio – no. Jednak w dzisiejszych czasach to trudno tutaj, żeby ukryć... nie mówię o samym wydarzeniu, ale również o jego przebiegu, żeby ludzie nic nie wiedzieli. To ja sobie też dobrze zapamiętałem, gdyż w Państwowym Instytucie Wydawniczym, gdzie wówczas pracowałem, robiono prasówki i pewien kolega redaktor, zresztą partyjny się bardzo zagalopował w tłumaczeniu nam co się stało. Mianowicie on miał koncepcję, że to armia radziecka, czołgi radzieckie uratowały nas przed nieszczęściem, które mogło się stać w Berlinie, odcinając Berlin wschodni od zachodniego i robiąc porządek z tymi, którzy te zamieszki zaczęli. Na to ktoś tam z obecnych, nie będę wymieniał nazwiska bo, zbyt lubię tę osobę, a lepiej poinformowany, lepiej zorientowany co mówić należy, ten ktoś przystąpił do prostowania go. I powiedział w ten sposób: „panie Heniu oni tylko odgrodzili Berlin wschodni od zachodniego. A to Niemcy własnymi siłami zaprowadzili porządek, proszę pana, własnymi siłami”. I to było bardzo ładne. Ja sobie pomyślałem, sobie w ten sposób należy prowadzić właśnie prasówkę przede wszystkim być dobrze zorientowanym.

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: East Berlin, West Berlin

Duration: 2 minutes, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011