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National enthusiasm fuels the rebuilding of the country

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Imparting knowledge to young minds
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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Po wojnie myśmy się znaleźli w takiej od razu perspektywie – właśnie jak mówię – tej potrzeby odbudowywania kraju, same... dokształcania się. I na tym uniwersytecie w związku z tym znalazłem się w jakiejś takiej sytuacji bardzo nieprzyjemnej z punktu widzenia tego, co człowiek czuł po tej klęsce, po tym wielkim skórobiciu, które... dostaliśmy w '44 roku, z tą świadomością strat, które miało pokolenie, Armia Krajowa; to wszystko co się działo na Wschodzie, nawet nie Wilno czy Lwów, ale nawet Lubelszczyzna – z pełną świadomością tego. No i mimo to trzeba było zacząć jakoś żyć, a na uniwersytecie można było żyć sympatyczniej i przyjemniej wtedy niż w wielu innych miejscach, bo aż do wielkiej ofensywy właściwie, która się na uniwersytecie tak naprawdę na serio w '50 roku zaczęła, to do tego czasu to był to uniwersytet liberalny z szeroką możliwością nie tylko uczenia się, ale i dyskutowania na seminariach, z prawdziwymi sporami – i ideologicznymi, i naukowymi, metodologicznymi. To był okres bardzo dużego zainteresowania metodologią, gdyż ci marksiści – którzy podejmowali wtedy próby jeszcze nie administracyjne i nie policyjne, tylko wtedy naprawdę intelektualne opanowania głów młodzieży – no to kładli szczególny nacisk wówczas na metodologię marksistowską. Wynikały z tego niezwykle ciekawe dyskusje i przez parę lat tak to się toczyło w atmosferze takiej dużej swobody, dużej zupełnie właściwie wolności słowa na seminariach uniwersyteckich. W dużej części naszymi profesorami byli profesorowie przedwojennego uniwersytetu. Natomiast ci marksiści, którzy przyszli, to było zjawisko bardzo pozytywne w tym okresie na uniwersytecie. Oni wprowadzali pewien ferment, inny sposób widzenia wielu rzeczy, nową problematykę. I dopóki o... nie zostali wzmocnieni przez bezpiekę i administrację, prawda, tak długo – to było nawet... nawet korzystne dla samego procesu kształcenia się ludzi młodych, dla meblowania ich głów. Ale potem niestety przyszedł taki moment... takie momenty przyszły, kiedy się... kiedy w całym kraju to się działo na różny sposób. No, zaczynało się oczywiście od coraz większej wszechmocy bezpieki.

Straight after the war, we found ourselves in a position, as I've said, of having to rebuild the country. We had to educate ourselves. As a result, I found myself in a very unpleasant situation at the university from the point of view of what I felt following this defeat, the utter beating we'd received in '44 with the awareness of the losses the AK [Armia Krajowa (Home Army)] generation had to bear, everything that was happening in the East, I'm not even talking about Vilnius or Lviv, but Lubelszczyzna with a full awareness of this. Despite this, I had to start leading some kind of a life, and I could live quite pleasantly at the university, more so than in many other places, right up until the great offensive which really only took off seriously at the university in '50. Until then, it was a liberal university with a broad range of possibilities not only of academic options, but of debates in seminars and of genuine ideological, scientific and methodological arguments. This was a time of great interest in methodology since at that point, the Marxists had not yet resorted to administrative or policing methods to win the minds of the youth but were still using genuinely intellectual means. So they put special emphasis on Marxist methodology. This led to exceptionally interesting debates, and it went on like this in a fairly relaxed atmosphere for several years, with significant freedom of expression at the university seminars where many of our professors had been tutors at the university before the war. Nevertheless, those Marxists who turned up... that was a very positive development at that time at the university. They introduced a certain upheaval, a different way of seeing various issues, new topics to discuss. And until they were 'reinforced' by the security services and the administration, this was even beneficial in the whole process of shaping young minds and developing them intellectually. But then, unfortunately, the time came throughout the whole land when these things began to happen in different ways. It began, of course, with a growth in the overwhelming power of the security services.

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: university, academic life, intellectual debate, freedom of expression, Marxists

Duration: 3 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 09 March 2011