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Poland is sold by the West
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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We had no doubt, I mean people of my generation, the members of AK [Armia Krajowa (Home Army)], that we had been betrayed by the West – sold. Except that neither then nor now can I understand what precisely we were sold for. To sell somebody in the way that we were sold is, from a moral point of view, very unpleasant. However, in history, in politics, deeply immoral things often happen, perhaps there were other historical events which were even worse than immoral. Nevertheless, if you're selling someone, you need to get something for this transaction. What surprises me the most is that they sold us but made no gains from the sale. A very odd trade for what would seem to be good tradesmen, don't you think? To this day I can't get over wondering about it. Yalta is a kind of code word which from today's perspective... where my knowledge about these things is greater, this code word simplifies the issue considerably. But I have to add that in those days when the first news about Yalta began to reach us, when we could see its direct consequences following the war, it had a significant effect on a whole series of other subsequent actions, steps and agreements. Then, for example, Teheran seemed to be as important as Yalta. It is now, unjustifiably, completely forgotten although it was Teheran which began this whole situation. So Yalta is a symbolic word. As a symbolic word, it is very useful, it is simply a symbol of that rather foolish transaction that took place in which one side didn't even gain anything.

Więc, myśmy nie mieli wątpliwości – to znaczy ludzie mojego pokolenia, AK-owcy – że zostaliśmy przez Zachód zdradzeni, sprzedani. Tylko ani wtedy nie rozumiałem, ani do dzisiejszego dnia nie rozumiem za co, mianowicie. Bo sprzedać kogoś w taki sposób jak nas sprzedano, no jest to z punktu widzenia bardzo... moralnego coś bardzo nieładnego. Ale w historii, w polityce nieraz się dzieją rzeczy bardzo niemoralne, może działy się w historii rzeczy jeszcze bardziej nawet może niemoralne. Tylko niemniej jednak, jeżeli się kogoś sprzedaje, to trzeba za to coś mieć. A mnie to najbardziej zdumiewa, że nas sprzedali, a sami właściwie nic na tym nie zarobili. Bardzo dziwny handel jak na, no zdawałoby się, dobrych kupców, prawda? I to do dzisiejszego dnia ja nie mogę... nie mogę wyjść z podziwu. Z tym że Jałta jest takim hasłem pewnym, której... z dzisiejszej już perspektywy większej mojej wiedzy o tych rzeczach jest pewnym takim hasłem, które bardzo upraszcza sprawę. Ale jeszcze trzeba powiedzieć na dodatek, że w tamtych czasach, kiedy właśnie... kiedy przychodziły pierwsze wiadomości o Jałcie, kiedy jej bezpośrednie skutki po wojnie widzieliśmy, to to się rozkładało bardzo na cały szereg różnych kolejnych posunięć, kroków, umów. Wtedy Teheran się wydawał równie ważny jak Jałta, na przykład. I skądinąd niesłusznie jest w tej chwili zupełnie zapominany, bo właściwie to Teheran zaczął tę sytuację. Więc Jałta jest to takie słowo symboliczne. No, ale jako słowo symboliczne, no bardzo też i przydatne, no jest to po prostu symbol właśnie tego głupawego handlu, który wykonano, na którym jedna ze stron nic nie zarobiła nawet.

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: Yalta Conference, Teheran, Armia Krajowa

Duration: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011