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The Stakhanovite worker


Extreme options facing post-war youth
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Even though it was obvious to everyone that things were getting worse and not better, in spite of that a growing number of people were being drawn in by this mechanism. And these people were beginning to somehow believe, partly believe in this. On the one hand, it was obvious to them that Poland was being built, new factories were appearing, and so on. These problems, this poverty that was all around us were temporary problems, so we don't need to worry too much about them. At the same time, two prospects were opening for the youth, especially in the intelligentsia – either the prospect of a career or the prospect of being consigned to the scrap heap.

Mimo że gołym okiem każdy człowiek z ulicy widział, że jest coraz gorzej, a nie coraz lepiej, mimo to coraz więcej ludzi wciągał ten mechanizm do wnętrza. I ci ludzie zaczynali jakoś wierzyć, częściowo wierzyć. Z jednej strony jakoś... było dla nich oczywiste: Polska się buduje, powstają nowe fabryki i tak dalej, i tak dalej; to są wszystko przejściowe trudności, te kłopoty, ta nędza, którą mamy dookoła siebie i tym możemy się specjalnie nie przejmować. A jednocześnie, w środowiskach szczególnie inteligenckich, przed młodzieżą otwierały się dwie perspektywy – albo perspektywa kariery, albo perspektywa wyrzucenia na śmietnik.

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: deterioration, reconstruction, poverty, intelligentsia, prospects

Duration: 54 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011