Eye to eye
A SENSE OF PRIDE
In the beginning of the 90s in London in BBC, one of the managers of the Film Department said to me: ‘If we had such history as Poland, we would earn lots of money, and the whole world would know about us. Why cannot you promote your country?’
It was the beginning of free Poland. At that time I thought that there was a chance to bring the concealed history of Poland into the daylight, tell the world about wonderful achievements of Poland and Poles.
I hoped that feature film makers, documentary makers would ‘fight’ over other Polish issues of the XX century history. After all, unusual events took place, sometimes defined as miracles and they were participated in by our grandfathers and fathers.
Poland started existing on the map of Europe and the world after 123 years of captivity and soon it was able to find strength in order to fight for our old lands. In 1920 in the ‘decisive battle of the world’, being lonely, it faced up the Bolsheviks and the evil. It was defending Europe and the world, but in nearly 20 years later, in 1939, it was betrayed and was fighting against the Nazis Germans alone for the longest time among other countries.
What are film fights, Poles’ behaviours during the whole Nazis occupation! After all, they were fighting ‘for our and your freedom’ in the farthest parts of the world.
There are no good real films about Tobruk, Monte Cassino, Division of Gen. Maczek, defence of England by Polish pilots. There are no films about hundred thousand Poles transported to Russia just after 17 September 1939. What do contemporary Europeans know about this date, so disgraceful for the both nations? The recent allies partitioned Poland which had just become independent in nearly 20 years!
Pre-war Poland, pre-war Pole – how proudly we are saying it today. ON 17 September, a knife into backs and hope for defence was killed. Who wants to know today and speak about bravery, incredibly heroic feats of a Polish soldier of September 1939? What do young Germans know about their ancestors who invaded Poland, what they did with civilians, with children, with mothers? Germany, the country proud of a high degree of civilization, is entering an alliance with the Eastern barbarian, deciding about the fate of Poles.
Are they aware of the crime done on the Polish nation? Whole families thrown away from their own houses at night, from lands, in cattle wagons, maltreated, deprived of dignity, left behind on the snow, frosts of Siberia, heard from a recent ally – ‘We brought you here, so that you would die’. But those our recent ancestors did not give in ‘Through Siberia, through sands of the desert/ to Monte Cassino I swear – you, Poland, will not be killed…’
Others were going to Poland through fields to Lenino, deceived, sent to death. And in the end of 1944, the world was shocked and shrugged helplessly. Warsaw is fighting! Its best sons, boys and girls, children – everybody are giving an example of an incredible heroism. 63 days! After all, one can write books, make films and proudly speak about Poland to the world, about every day, about every Warsaw stone, about every insurgent.
But who cares about it in Poland? who is interested in the truth, which is ‘inconvenient, not funny, unfashionable’? If movies are made, they are generally of poor quality, unclear for a viewer in the world. The current generations living in Europe find these issues unfamiliar for them. They find Poland as an image of maintaining the present politicians and slogans taken from newspapers and other the –so-called liberal media. Józef Garliński, living since the war in London, a historian, a professor at Harvard University, a lecturer at famous universities in the world, told me in an interview to a film, that ‘Poland must fight for its truth, regardless of its place in the world. This is the most difficult fight to win, more difficult than a fight with weapons, because we have to have mass media, press, film, historians and lawyers, acting on behalf of the Polish raison d’etat’.
In Poland we are somehow ashamed of being proud of our unusual history, of our ancestors.
Julien Bryan, an author of moving film chronicles, a witness of Warsaw fights, Poland fights with two enemies, said among the others: ‘If the Spartans lived, then they would pay their tribute to you, Poles’.