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Łódź, the cultural capital of Poland


Refugees from Russia
Julia Hartwig Poet
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W każdym razie to ten związek już jak gdyby na... związek nakładał na nas pewne obowiązki. Mianowicie obowiązki właściwie raczej typu literacko-towarzyskiego, bo myślę, że tym ludziom, którzy przyszli z Rosji bardzo zależało na tym, żeby pozyskać sobie... pozyskać sobie ludzi w Polsce, bo nastawienie było bardzo... bardzo niechętne, bośmy nie tego się spodziewali. Spodziewaliśmy się, że... że Zachód nas wyzwoli jak wiadomo. No tak się nie udało, więc wobec tego to trudno było to wymienić na Rosjan. I nawet powiem, że pewne niesprawiedliwości się działy, dlatego że ludzie, którzy... którzy chodzili do... nie... którzy byli zmuszeni, żeby być w Wojsku Polskim, bo to była jedyna szansa... znaczy najpierw była fala andersowska, prawda i w tej na przykład mój... mój mąż, na przykład... w tej się udało mu się tam dostać po... po pobycie na posiołku. A nie było też tam łatwo, dlatego że podobno tam po prostu ten... ten dom w którym przyjmowano tych biedaków – bo to ze wszystkich stron Rosji – po prostu był pełen trupów, ponieważ oni docierali tam, byli szczęśliwi, że dotarli i umierali po prostu z wycieńczenia, z głodu, ze złych warunków.

In any case, this union seemed to… it imposed certain obligations on us, namely, obligations which were social/literary as I think the people who had come from Russia were very eager to connect with people in Poland because attitudes were very unaccommodating since we'd not expected this. What we had expected was that… that the West would liberate us, as everyone knows. Well, that didn't work so it was hard to replace that with the Russians. I'd say that there was a degree of unfairness because people who went to… no, who were forced to be in the Polish army as that was their only chance, I mean, first there was the Anders wave where, for example, my husband managed to find himself after his time in the prison compound. It wasn't easy there either because apparently the house in which those wretches were put – they came from every part of Russia – was full of corpses. They arrived there, were happy to have reached that place and then died simply from exhaustion, starvation or poor conditions.

Born to a Polish father and a Russian mother, Julia Hartwig (1921-2017) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and author of children's books. She studied at the University of Warsaw, the Catholic University in Lublin and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Czesław Miłosz called her 'the grande dame of Polish poetry'. Julia Hartwig was one of the few poets in Poland who made masterly use of poetic prose. She translated poems by Apollinaire, Rimbaud, Max Jacob, Cendrars and Supervielle, and published monographs on Apollinaire and Gerard de Nerval. She also translated from English, and published a large anthology of American poetry which she co-edited in 1992 with her late husband, the poet Artur Międzyrzecki.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Poland, Russia, Russians, Polish Army, Anders wave, West, Artur Międzyrzecki, Władysław Anders

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2010

Date story went live: 27 May 2011