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The story of a certain policeman in the ghetto

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The atmosphere in the ghetto
Marek Edelman Social activist
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To zależy co się chce wiedzieć. Oczywiście można opowiadać jakieś kropki, jakieś coś, to było tak, to było tak, tu słońce świeciło, tu była zupa, tu było to czy tamto. Ale to nie jest cała prawda, bo te wszystkie wydarzenia drobne, wielkie, małe, to wszystko się toczy w jakiejś atmosferze i ta atmosfera rzutuje na wszystko - atmosferze terroru, atmosferze głodu, atmosferze brudu, atmosferze świadomości tego, że coś złego się dalej stanie. Bo ta pierwsza akcja to był, to... to... 200 kilka 60 czy 80 tysięcy wywieziono do Treblinki już wszyscy wtedy wiedzieli, że to idzie się na śmierć prawda i że to są komory gazowe i zostało 60 tysięcy ludzi, którzy po wielkiej selekcji, która odbyła się, gdzie miało zostać 44 tysiące, a na lewo się przeszmuglowało jeszcze trochę osób i było ich 60 tysięcy mniej więcej i to byli desperaci wszystko, ludzie, którzy wiedzieli co ich czeka. To było dziwne towarzystwo. Towarzystwo, które chciało żyć i użyć króciutko.

It depends on what you want to know. Of course, I could just talk about trivial things, this is how it was, the sun shone, we had soup, there was this and that. But that's not the whole truth since all of these events the minute, the great and the small were all taking place within a certain atmosphere, which affected everything, an atmosphere of terror or hunger or filth, an atmosphere where people knew that something very bad was going to happen. The first action was when 260 or 80,000 people were deported to Treblinka and everyone already knew that they were going to their death, that there were gas chambers there, so 60,000 people were left who, after a big selection which took place and was meant to leave 44,000 but some more were smuggled through illegally and so there were more or less 60,000 of them all desperate because they knew what was waiting for them. It was a very strange group of people, that wanted to live, to live fast and to the full.

Marek Edelman (1919-2009) was a Jewish-Polish political and social activist and a noted cardiologist. He was the last surviving leader of the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Following the Second World War, he took an active part in domestic and international politics, dedicating himself to fighting for justice and peace.

Listeners: Anka Grupinska Joanna Szczesna Joanna Klara Agnieszka Zuchowska

Anka Grupinska studied English at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She wrote for Poznan’s underground publications and was herself one of the founding publishers of the bi-monthly Czas Kultury. She spent 1988 and 1989 in Israel compiling reminiscences of Holocaust survivors. From 1991 to 1993, she held the post of Cultural Attache at the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv. She moved back to Poland in 1996 and now writes books on Jewish subjects, mainly dealing with the history of the Warsaw ghetto. She is also a freelance journalist for Tygodnik Powszechny. Anka Grupinska is the director of the Centropa Foundation project in Poland (oral history project) called “The Witness of the Jewish Century¿, presents her own radio programme, “Of Jews and of Poles too¿, and teaches creative writing and oral history in Collegium Civitas and SWPS in Warsaw.

Anka Grupinska ukonczyla filologie angielska na UAM w Poznaniu. Wspólpracowala z poznanskimi pismami podziemnymi, wraz z innymi zalozyla i wydawala dwumiesiecznik "Czas Kultury". W latach 1988-1989 przebywala w Izraelu opracowujac wspomnienia ocalalych z Zaglady. W latach 1991-1993 pracowala jako attaché kulturalny w ambasadzie polskiej w Tel Awiwie. Od 1996 mieszka w Polsce. Anka Grupinska specjalizuje sie w tematyce stosunków polsko-zydowskich. Publikuje ksiazki (m. in. Wydawnictwo Literackie, Zydowski Instytut Historyczny, Twój Styl), artykuly prasowe (m. in. "Tygodnik Powszechny", "Rzeczpospolita"), realizuje projekty wystawiennicze. Jest takze koordynatorem miedzynarodowego projektu "Swiadek zydowskiego wieku" (archiwizowanie pamieci o zydowskiej przedwojennej Polsce), prowazi autorska audycje radiowa "O Zydach i o Polakach tez" i uczy warszawskich studentów sztuki czytania i pisanie tekstów literackich.

Joanna Szczesna is a journalist writing for Gazeta Wyborcza. Together with Anna Bikont, she’s the author of Pamiatkowe rupiecie, przyjaciele i sny Wislawy Szymborskiej (The Recollected Flotsam, Friends and Dreams of Wislawa Szymborska) a biography of Wislawa Szymborska, the Polish winner of the Noble Prize for Literature. Since the 1970s, Joanna Szczesna has been involved with the democratic opposition movement in Poland, active in the Worker’s Defence Committee (KOR), the co-founder of the independent press in Poland: editor of KOR’s Information Bulletin, Solidarnosc Press Agency and Tygodnik Mazowsze.

Joanna Szczesna, dziennikarka "Gazety Wyborczej", autorka - wraz z Anna Bikont - biografia polskiej noblistki "Pamiatkowe rupiecie, przyjaciele i sny Wislawy Szymborskiej". Od lat 70-tych zwiazana z opozycja demokratycznaw Polsce, wspólpracowniczka Komitetu Obrony Robotników, wspóltwórczyni prasy niezaleznej w Polsce: redaktorka "Biuletynu Informacyjnego KOR-u", Agencji Prasowej "Solidarnosc" i "Tygodnika Mazowsze".

Joanna Klara Agnieszka 'Aga' Zuchowska was born 20 January 1938. Her father was killed in the Katyń massacre. After the war, she moved from Warsaw to Lódz. She obtained a degree in medicine in 1960, qualifying as a specialist in internal medicine in 1973. Dr Zuchowska worked with Marek Edelman for 15 years. In 1982 she left Poland for Algeria where she remained for the next three years, returning to Poland in 1985. She currently lives in Lódz.

Joanna Klara Agnieszka 'Aga' Zuchowska, urodzona 20 stycznia 1938. Ojciec zginal w Katyniu. Po wojnie zamieszkala w Lodzi. Studia ukonczyla w 1960 r. a specjalizacje z chorób wewnetrznych w 1973 r. Doktorat obronila we Wroclawiu. Pracowala z Markiem Edelmanen przez 15 lat. W 1982 r. wyjechala do Algerii. Wrócila do Polski w 1985 r. i mieszka obecnie w Lodzi.

Tags: Treblinka

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: December 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008