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Polish and French student protests: prompted by the same motives?

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Student trials: 'Eight Jews and Jacek Kuroń'
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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No, jak łatwo się zrozumieć...jak łatwo zrozumieć, ten cały ruch studencki, no, został po prostu stłamszony przez... pałą, aresztowaniami, relegacjami i tak dalej, ale trwało to rzeczywiście nad podziw długo. W rezultacie więzienia się zapełniły tymi młodymi ludźmi, których gdzieś w lipcu, sierpniu zaczęto masowo zwalniać, robiąc tylko przygotowania do pewnej ilości procesów politycznych już tylko osób wybranych. Z tym że pamiętam, że przez jakieś takie nieostrożności ludzi związanych z bezpieką, którzy w czasie śledztwa coś tam rzucili, licząc może czasami na odzew u tego z kim mówią. To w pewnym momencie zaczęło się mówić o procesie ośmiu Żydów i jednego Jacka Kuronia – bo jednak bezpieka nie traktowała go jako Żyda, ale – ośmiu Żydów i Jacka Kuronia. Skądinąd to potem nie było, okazało się jeden proces tylko rozbito to na parę mniejszych procesów, ale trzeba powiedzieć, że ta... dobór tej czołówki też wyraźnie miał charakter pod tym względem sterowany. No, nie będę oczywiście wymieniać chłopca, który...co do którego roli no...w przygotowaniach wiecu i tego ruchu bezpieka sobie zdawała sprawę, ale na wszelki wypadek nie chcę go wymieniać, który aż się prosiło o to, by w tej czołówce, jeżeli będzie dziesięcio-, dziewięcioosobowa, to żeby on koniecznie zasiadł na ławie oskarżonych. To, że on się znalazł w drugim garniturze czy w trzecim, czy w drugim, to przypisuję temu, że wszystkie babcie i dziadków miał, jak to się mówi w porządku. I to po prostu o to chodziło. Skądinąd to, że w tej czołówce znalazł się Antek Zambrowski, no to miało charakter...to akurat mogło nie mieć charakteru antysemickiego, bo to wystarczyło, że ozdobić nazwiskiem działacza bardzo nielubianego, prawda, podczas gdy był to człowiek, którego…Antek Zambrowski, o którym można śmiało powiedzieć, że był sympatykiem tego ruchu. Ale to przypuszczenie, że on podejmował jakiekolwiek tutaj decyzje w sprawie strajków, w sprawie jakiejś taktyki tego ruchu, strajków i demonstracji, no to jest zwykły obłęd i myślę, że pracownicy bezpieki wcale nie są tak niefachowi, żeby nie wiedzieli, że na ławie oskarżonych sadzają człowieka, który w tej roli nie ma powodu już zupełnego wystąpić.

As you can easily imagine, this entire student movement was suppressed with the truncheon, arrests, expulsions, and so on, although it did last for a surprisingly long time. As a result, the prisons were full of these young people who began to be released en masse in July and August, and only a set number of select individuals had political trials prepared against them. But I do recall that because of the carelessness of people in the secret services, who let something slip during the investigations since they might have been counting on a response from the person they were interrogating, people began to talk about the trial of the eight Jews and one Jacek Kuroń – the secret police didn't consider him to be Jewish, so it was eight Jews and Jacek Kuroń. Nevertheless, there was no... it turned out that this trial was broken up into several smaller ones but I have to say that the selection of these people was also clearly deliberate. I won't, of course, mention the name of the boy about whom the secret services knew very well in the run up to the rally and this movement, but I still won't name him, just in case, even though it was clear that he should have been among those who'd been selected, if there was going to be a 10-strong, nine-strong representation, he ought to have been in the dock as well with all the others who were accused. The fact that he was there in a second suit or third or second, I put down to the fact that all his grannies and granddads were, so to speak, the right sort. And that's all that mattered. However, the fact that Antek Zambrowski was among those select individuals, that might have... might not have been down to anti-Semitism because it was enough to give a name to a very unpopular activist, wasn't it? But you could say he was someone who... Antek Zambrowski about whom it could be easily said that he was a supporter of this movement. But the assumption that he made any kind of decisions here in the matter of the strikes or of the tactics of this movement, the strikes and demonstrations, that's just madness, and I don't think that the secret service is so unprofessional that they didn't know they were putting someone in the dock who had absolutely no reason for being there in that role.

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: Jacek Kuroń, Antoni Zambrowski

Duration: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 11 March 2011