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The October thaw

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Why I lost faith in Gomułka
Jan Józef Lipski Social activist
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When Gomułka was giving his speech in that huge square, I was listening very intently and decided that the things he was saying were acceptable. But suddenly, I heard him say in a very nasty, abrupt way that ‘It's time to put an end to these rallies’. I thought to myself then that Gomułka is telling us: ‘It's time to put an end to interference from the masses and the rabble in the decisions and actions of those who are at the top of the party’. From that moment, I began to lose faith in Gomułka and my scepticism began to increase.

Gdy Gomułka na tym wielkim placu wygłaszał swoje przemówienie, słuchałem tego z dużym napięciem i właściwie uważałem, że to, co on mówi, jest do przyjęcia. I w pewnym momencie usłyszałem powiedziane jakimś nieprzyjemnym, opryskliwym głosem, że „czas skończyć z wiecowaniem”. Pomyślałem sobie wtedy, iż Gomułka mówi nam: „Czas skończyć z wtrącaniem się tłumu, motłochu w to, co ludzie na górze partyjnej robią i co postanowią”. I to był moment w którym zacząłem tracić wiarę w Gomułkę i zaczął narastać mój sceptycyzm.

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: Marcel Łoziński Jacek Petrycki

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.

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.

Tags: Władysław Gomułka

Duration: 46 seconds

Date story recorded: October 1989

Date story went live: 10 March 2011