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How to handle the opposition

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Unrest in the court in Radom
Jacek Kuroń Social activist
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A w tym czasie w Krakowie olbrzymia demonstracja spod Króla, przychodzą z pochodniami pod Wawelem i powołanie Studenckiego Komitetu Solidarności. Siedzieliśmy w tym więzieniu tym razem krótko, bo potem nagle amnestia. Tutaj prowadzono cały czas akcję i istotną rolę w kierowaniu tą akcją odegrała Gaja, która po prostu przejęła wszystko po mnie razem z Anką Kowalską i Haliną. Jakieś próby prowokacji i potem nagle amnestia zrobiona tylko dla nas. I wypuszczono nas. Siedziało nas chyba dziesięciu, już nie pamiętam w tej chwili. Jeszcze jedno ważne zdarzenie z historii KOR-u, które tu trzeba koniecznie opowiedzieć. To siedzimy u, pamiętam, Heli Łuczywo, u której wkrótce potem było pierwszy... pierwsze wielki wkrocz policji na naradę aktywu KOR-owskiego. I wzięcie nas w kajdanach... wyprowadzano nas stamtąd – taki był olbrzymi szturm. Ale wtedy to jeszcze było trochę przed tym. I nagle przyszedł ktoś z wiadomością, że pobito Mirka. Och, to oczywiście poprzedza Pyjasa, to oczywiście poprzedza Pyjasa. Pobito Mirka Chojeckiego w sądzie. Myśmy natychmiast wydali ostre, potępiające oświadczenie i ustaliliśmy, że jedziemy wszyscy razem na to... na najbliższe, bo to taka zasada. I bicie w sądzie w Radomiu, bicie w korytarzu. Naprzód czekanie na to bicie to niesłychane ta maniera KOR-owska, że się siada i się śpi. I wiem, że nikt nie śpi, każdy udaje, że śpi, bo nie wiadomo, co za chwilę będzie. I te bojówki, zaraz ich gęściej, gęściej, bo to nagle zaczynają krzyczeć, że "za żydowskie pieniądze", "żydowski sługus" ja do niego: "ruski volksdeutsch". I za chwilę zaczynają tłuc. Cofamy się tak, Siła-Nowicki, który tam bronił, stara się nas tą togą zasłaniać. Wreszcie wbiegł, oni za nami, za nami. W pewnym momencie stanęliśmy oparci o drzwi komisariatu milicji, który miał... który był zamknięty – po prostu milicji nie ma. A oni w koło i przynieśli jajka i w tym momencie Siła-Nowicki otworzył drzwi od toczącej się rozprawy, sędzina Dobrowolska prowadziła, wbiegliśmy na rozprawę, powiedział, że biją nas tu i że nie będziemy, prosimy ją, żeby udzieliła pomocy. A ci tam pod drzwiami wrzeszczą, więc sędzina popełniła błąd, zdjęła togę i runęła biegiem, żeby pobiec do prezesa sądu, a ci jajkami w tym momencie w nas, no i sędzina Dobrowolska dostała najwięcej jajek. No i odbył się największy chyba w dziejach PRL-u strajk sędziów, bo sędzia zadzwonił na komendę wojewódzką i powiedział, że dopóki się... milicji... że dopóki się nie uspokoi tutaj, to on... to on... to żaden sędzia... wszystkie rozprawy w sądzie są przerywane. Po chwili rzeczywiście się uspokoiło, przybyło dwóch sierżantów mamło, którzy zapytali nas czego oczekujemy, powiedzieliśmy, że żeby nas tu nikt nie napadał. Oni nas spisali i powiedzieli: "Możecie spokojnie iść, nikt wam nic nie zrobi". I rzeczywiście nikogo nie było. Pamiętam, był wtedy z nami jeszcze Jacek Bocheński. To nie tak było zaraz po tym pobiciu Mirka, że przedtem parokrotnie żeśmy przyjeżdżali na pusto z takim dzikim, pamiętam, napięciem, jak się to toczyło.

Meanwhile, a massive demonstration was under way in Kraków outside Wawel Castle, with torches, and that's when the Solidarity student committee was formed. We weren't in prison for long that time because there was a sudden amnesty. The operation was being directed all the time with Gaja playing a major role. Together with Anka Kowalska and Halina, she had taken everything over from me. There had been an attempt to provoke us and then suddenly, there was an amnesty just for our benefit. So we were let out. I think 10 of us had been locked up, I can't remember now.

There's one more important event in the history of KOR that has to be told here. I remember we were at Hela Łuczywo's place and it was there that very soon afterwards, a council of KOR activists was attacked by the police for the first time on a massive scale. We were led away from there, handcuffed, having been stormed by the police. This was a bit before then. Suddenly, someone turns up with the news that Mirek has been beaten up, oh, this comes before Pyjas, of course it does, it comes before Pyjas. Mirek Chojecki had been beaten up in court. We immediately issued a sharply-worded condemnation and decided that we would all go there, to the nearest... because that was our principle. And the beating in the court in Radom, beating in the corridor. First, there was the waiting for the beating. There's this odd KOR habit of sitting down and sleeping. And I know that no one is asleep, that everyone is just pretending because no one knows what's coming next. And those battles, growing relentlessly, and then suddenly they start shouting, 'It's Jewish money!', 'Jewish lapdog!', so I yelled out, 'Russian volksdeutsch!' And a moment later, the beating began. We drew back. Siła-Nowicki, who was defending us, tried to screen us with his gown. Finally, he ran in with them behind us. Suddenly, we were standing with our backs against the door to the police station but the door was closed - the police simply weren't there. They were surrounding us and had brought eggs with them and just at that moment, Siła-Nowicki opened the door into a courtroom where a case was being heard by Judge Dobrowolska and we ran in. He said they're attacking us and that we won't... we're asking her for her help. The others were outside yelling but the judge made a mistake and, taking her gown off, ran outside to get the chairman of the court and that's when they threw the eggs and Judge Dobrowolska got hit by most of them. That's when the biggest ever strike of judges in the Polish People's Republic took place, because the judge rang the regional police chief and said that not a single judge, all court cases are suspended until order is restored. After a while, things calmed down, a couple of sergeants turned up and asked us what we wanted so we said we wanted to be free from attacks. They took down our details and said, you can go now safely, no one will do you any harm. And it was true, everyone had gone. I remember Jacek Bocheński was with us then. This wasn't straight after Mirek was beaten up. Before that, we'd arrived and nothing had been happening but I remember the terrible stress while all this was going on.

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: Wawel Castle, KOR, Radom, PRL, Solidarity Student Committee, Radom, Polish People`s Republic, Gaja Kuroń, Anna Kowalska, Helena Łuczywo, Mirosław Chojecki, Józef Siła-Nowicki, Jacek Bocheński

Duration: 3 minutes, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: 1987

Date story went live: 12 June 2008