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Avoiding party afiliation


Enthusiasm uncurbed by repression
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Ta sytuacja polityczna, która wówczas panowała, była niezwykle skomplikowana i bardzo niejednoznaczna. Bo z jednej strony wszyscy wiedzieliśmy, że w więzieniach bezpieki, w aresztach śledczych trzyma się ogromne ilości ludzi, męczy się ich, torturuje, często zabija i to była powszechna dosyć świadomość. Ale z drugiej strony zapał, z jakim ludzie przystępowali do odbudowy kraju, był tak niezwykły i rzeczywiście zupełnie autentyczny – nie było w tym nic udawanego. I to tak te dwie rzeczy z sobą współżyły – ta świadomość sytuacji i ten entuzjazm.

The political situation that prevailed at that time was exceptionally complicated and very ambiguous. On the one hand, we all knew that a huge number of people were confined in the secret police jails and detention centres, and that they were being persecuted and tortured and often killed. This was common knowledge. But on the other hand, people were displaying an astonishing and entirely genuine enthusiasm for rebuilding the country. There was nothing false about this. And so these two things co-existed, that awareness of the situation and the enthusiasm.

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: prison, secret police, torture, murder, enthusiasm, reconstruction

Duration: 50 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011