a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Enthusiasm uncurbed by repression


Exposé of Colonel Światło
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

The exposé by Colonel Światło was a very big event in our interior life. He was a colonel in the secret service, vicedirector of a very important department in the Ministry of Public Security, with a lot of material, or at least he had to have had fairly detailed notes, as well as various documents. He defected to the West and after a few months we heard him on Radio Free Europe telling us about the structure of the secret service, their criminal activities, giving the names of those who carried out torture and murder as well as the names of those who had been tortured and murdered. Even if you're listening to things you more or less know, it makes a very big impression and it was hard to pretend in front of the whole nation that nothing had happened, that this was just some sort of provocation by the American secret service or something. It was simply unbelievable and something had to be done about this. Since the situation following Stalin's death was continuing, that political crisis was getting deeper, so this played a greater role. An obvious question is, in the course of his defection, was Światło afraid of taking responsibility of his own crimes, was anyone involved in his escape and was this a planned element in some sort of political game? To this day, we have no answer to that. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that his broadcasts played a very positive role and were later published in booklet form.

Rewelacje pułkownika Światły to było duże wydarzenie w naszym życiu wewnętrznym. Pułkownik Służby Bezpieczeństwa, wicedyrektor bardzo ważnego departamentu w Ministerstwie Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, z dużymi materiałami, no bo on musiał mieć przynajmniej dosyć dokładne notatki, a zdaje się, że i dokumenty różne, ucieka na Zachód i po paru miesiącach słyszy się jego głos w… która... przez „Wolną Europę” mówi do nas o tym, o strukturze Służby Bezpieczeństwa, o zbrodniach Służby Bezpieczeństwa, wymienia nazwiska zarówno tych, którzy torturowali i mordowali, jak i tych, którzy byli torturowani i mordowani. No nawet jeżeli się słucha o rzeczach, o których się mniej więcej wie, to to jednak robi bardzo duże wrażenie i trudno było w ogóle udać przed całym narodem, że nic się nie stało, że jest to po prostu jakaś tam prowokacja, jakichś amerykańskich służb wywiadowczych czy coś. Było to po prostu nieprawdopodobne. Coś... coś trzeba było z tym zrobić. A ponieważ ten proces po śmierci Stalina się pogłębiał ciągle, ten pewien kryzys polityczny. No więc tym większą rolę to odegrało. A skądinąd jest oczywiście pytanie, czy... czy Światło uciekając, bał się odpowiedzialności za swoje zbrodnie, czy uciekał w porozumieniu z kimś i to był zaplanowany element, prawda, jakiejś gry politycznej, to tego dzisiaj nie umiemy powiedzieć. Natomiast nie ulega wątpliwości, że to bardzo pozytywną rolę odegrało... odegrały te jego audycje wydane potem właśnie w książeczce.

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: Radio Free Europe, Colonel Josef Światło

Duration: 1 minute, 58 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011