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NEXT STORY

Declaration of war

RELATED STORIES

My first revolution
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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Przed wojną zdarzały się pierwsze boje, na które mnie brano na plecach. Po raz pierwszy w ogóle w rewolucji to ja brałem udział w trzydziestym siódmym roku, w trzydziestym szóstym, trzydziestym siódmym roku, jak był pogrzeb Kozaka. Ale to pamiętam po prostu tłum, huk, taki przerażający... trudno mi powiedzieć, bo to mi się zlało z różnymi pochodami pierwszomajowymi. Ale... ale... no ja mogę powiedzieć jak to było oczywiście, ale to nie ja to pamiętam. Ja pamiętam takie niesłychane, dzikie, niesamowite napięcie, dużego, olbrzymiego pochodu. Kozak to był bezrobotny, którego policjant zastrzelił pod urzędem zatrudnienia. Miał się odbyć jego pogrzeb i ten pogrzeb... on leżał w kostnicy na Łyczakowie. I z Łyczakowa pogrzeb, pogrzeb normalnie rozplakatowano, był Komitet pogrzebowy, chyba mój ojciec był w tym Komitecie pogrzebowym. Ojciec mój był działaczem Polskiej Partii Socjalistycznej, działał w lwowskim OKW – komitecie okręgowym i z tego tytułu, chyba był w tym komitecie. Ja... byliśmy na tym, poszliśmy w trójkę, ojciec, matka i mnie wzięli. Mama mówi, że od razu było ustalone, że mama ze mną zaraz odejdzie. To tylko tyle, że odprowadzaliśmy ojca tam pod ten pogrzeb, tam pod Łyczaków. Ale tam ojciec miał mnie na rękach, ojciec mnie tak nosił na plecach w ten sposób i tak ze mną chodził.

No i poszedł, szedł, ponieważ tam pertraktacje się toczyły ze starostwem w sprawie tego... starostwo chciało, żeby go pochować na cmentarzu Łyczakowskim czyli zaraz obok kostnicy. Natomiast lud chciał, żeby go pochować na Janowie, przy czym motyw tego brzmiał, to co mówiono w tej sprawie, to mówiono, że chodzi o to, że on nie będzie leżał z burżuazją – bo Łyczakowski cmentarz był burżuazji, tam wszystkie moje dziadki leżały i pradziadki, powstańcy styczniowi, ale i tam mnie do nich na groby prowadzono – ale na Janowskim cmentarzu proletariackim nie będzie tu z burżuazją leżał nasz. No to, ale oczywiście szło o to, żeby kondukt przeszedł przez całe miasto. To ojciec mnie dał Grochowi Gabrysiowi swojemu koledze, dał mnie i pobiegł. Pobiegł tam, do tego załatwiać, i w tym miejscu się urwało.

Mama myślała, że poszedłem z ojcem, ojciec myślał, że [ona] ze mną i wreszcie kiedy mnie zaczęli szukać, płacz, a to w międzyczasie ten pochód szedł przez miasto, strzelała do niego policja, atakowano, budowano barykady, paliły się barykady, strzelano z karabinów maszynowych, szarże policji konnej, radio zdobywano, więzienie Brygidki zdobywano. W mieście toczyła się normalna cały dzień rewolucja, potem zaczęły się olbrzymie, gigantyczne obławy i wsadzanie, kilka tysięcy osób wsadzono wtedy. No, na parę dni, ale wsadzono, do takich różnych powiedzielibyśmy dziś obozów internowania. Otóż zniknąłem, zginąłem, nie ma mnie – płacz, szukają, wreszcie gdzieś takie ogłoszenia na murze znaleźli. Mnie zobaczyła kobita przez okno, że idzie ten kondukt i facet idzie z dzieckiem na ręku, to mnie wzięła i to był mój pierwszy udział w rewolucji i to mi zostało.

The first battles took place before the war, and I was carried there on [my father's] shoulders. The first time I took part in a revolution was in '37, in '36, in '37 during Kozak's funeral. I just remember the crowd, the din, it was terrifying. It's hard for me to say because it's all blended in with various May 1st marches. But, I can say how it was, of course, but these aren't my recollections. What I remember is this unbelievable, wild, extraordinary tension of the massive, vast protest march. Kozak had been an unemployed man shot by the police outside the employment office. His funeral was due to take place, and this funeral... his body was in the mortuary on Łyczaków Street. From Łyczaków Street, the funeral... the funeral had been fly-posted, there was a funeral committee, I think my father was in this funeral committee. My father was an activist in the Polish Socialist Party, he was active in the Lwów OKW, the district committee, and that's probably why he was in the funeral committee. I... we were there, the three of us, my father, mother and they'd taken me. My mother says that it was agreed from the start that she would leave with me straight away. We were just walking my father to the funeral to Łyczaków. But when we got there, my father was carrying me, he had me on his shoulders like this and that's how he was walking around with me. So off he went since there were negotiations with the town authorities... they wanted to bury him in the Łyczaków cemetery which was right next to the mortuary. The people, however, wanted him to be buried in Janowo and their motive was, or so it was said, it was said that the issue was that he wasn't going to be buried alongside the bourgeoisie, as the Łyczaków cemetary was for the bourgeoisie, all my ancestors are there, the partisans from the January Uprising and that's where I was taken to visit their graves, but in the proletariate cemetary at Jankowo, our boy isn't going to be laid next to the bourgeoisie. And so, obviously the aim was for the funeral procession to pass through the whole town. My father passed me over to Gabryl Grochów, his friend, he gave me to him and then ran off. He ran off there to sort something out and from this point everything broke down. My mother thought I'd gone with my father, my father thought that... with me, and when they finally started looking for me there were tears. Meanwhile, the procession was passing through town, the police were shooting at the people, attacking them, barricades were being built and set alight, shots were fired from machine guns, mounted police were charging the crowd, the radio station was captured, the Brygidka prison was captured. The whole day there was a full-scale revolution in town followed by widespread manhunts and imprisonment, several thousand people were locked up then. Just for a few days but they were locked up in what today we'd call internment camps. As for me, I'd disappeared, I was lost, I wasn't there... there were tears, search parties. Eventually, they found a poster on some wall. A woman had seen me from her window, she'd seen the procession and a man carrying a child, so she took me, and that was the first time I participated in a revolution, and it stayed with me.

The late Polish activist, Jacek Kuroń (1934-2004), had an influential but turbulent political career, helping transform the political landscape of Poland. He was expelled from the communist party, arrested and incarcerated. He was also instrumental in setting up the Workers' Defence Committee (KOR) and later became a Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

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: Polish Socialist Party, Lwów, OKW, Janowo, January Uprising, Gabriel Groch, Władysław Kozak

Duration: 3 minutes, 25 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008