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Life in communist Poland - personal relations


OP pawian 178 | 15,905
6 Jan 2013 #31
Cash was king,

Yes and no. In some cases goods were better king. E.g., paying with a can of deficit export ham mattered much more than cash.
1jola 14 | 1,879
7 Jan 2013 #32
There are people who like prison life. Housing and food are free, so is education is some cases. You can work if you want, and you even get paid. There is order. You get used to the rules and you become comfortable after a while. What's not to like? Even sex is available and there is not much homophobia. Very progressive.

Many inmates, when they get out, cannot adjust to the outside and they reminisce about all the good things they experienced while there. If they come from the margins of society, were raised in unprincipled and cowardly families, they will most likely raise their children in the same spirit, who in turn will not understand that their slightly modernized ( New Left) viewpoint of prison life, that they now are advocating for, will lead them back to their parents home.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Jan 2013 #33
Milk was sold in giant glass bottles

..............also in bags



OP pawian 178 | 15,905
7 Jan 2013 #34
Yes, but in late 1970s .... :):):):)
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
7 Jan 2013 #37
Yes, that`s what I meant. They originated in late 1970s (I still remember our shock when mother brought foiled milk home) and have remained till today.

Funny, but that foiled milk somehow tasted better than the bottled one.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Jan 2013 #38
(I still remember our shock when mother brought foiled milk home

your shock more than likely stemmed from the fact that the bag was leaking!
As was my experience more than 50% of the time.
Simply put, they were a big pain in the butt (not to mention having to have a dedicated milk container at home to pour the blasted milk into from the bag).

As far as taste goes, I prefered the glass (as I do my beer;)
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
7 Jan 2013 #39
your shock more than likely stemmed from the fact that the bag was leaking!

Really? I don`t remember that.

As far as taste goes, I prefered the glass (as I do my beer;)

No, glass milk tasted like shyt. Milk in a bag was professional! :):):)

PS. Shyt. I made a mistake! Foiled is the wrong term! :):) So what is the proper word for milk in a plastic bag?
gumishu 11 | 5,692
7 Jan 2013 #40
bagged milk was a nightmare :) but at least it was unpasteurised unlike the milk we buy now in cartons - fresh milk in glass always the best
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Jan 2013 #41
bagged milk was a nightmare :)

thank you

at least it was unpasteurised

really?
I didn't know that.
good for us and our GI tracts (back then) :)
Troy_E - | 5
7 Jan 2013 #42
Considering how awfully Poland was treated by various Communists/Marxists throughout the past 90 years, from Trotsky, to Stalin and beyond, i find it astonishing that any true Pole would support such a dehumanizing, anti-civilization, anti-Christian ideology.

Remember King Sobieski and Marshal Pilsudski - they were true Poles, not these red dogs!
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
7 Jan 2013 #43
In every shop there was exactly the same stuff at exactly the same price (no special offers or "buy one get one free").

Yes, except for private boutiques where prices varied considerably.

Unification was total. In every house you would find exactly the same set of furniture. Not "similar" - exactly the same. .

Not really. There were two or three dozen furniture manufacturers then, state or semiprivate, they produced quite a variety of stuff, I don`t remember seeing the same furniture like ours in my family`s / classmates` etc houses.

There was a few kinds of cars (I believe about 4 different models)

A little more.
Throughout 1970s and 1980s, cars produced or assembled in Poland: - Warszawa, Syrena, Fiat 126, Fiat 126, Fiat 127, Fiat 128, Fiat 131, Polonez, Zastava 1100, .
autokult.pl/2008/02/25/top-10-polskich-aut-epoki-prl-u

plus imported Skodas (Czechoslovakia), £adas, Wołgas and Zaporożec (USSR), Dacias (Romania), Trabants and Wartburgs (East Germany) etc etc.
ifor bach 11 | 152
7 Jan 2013 #44
This is the most interesting thread I've read on Polish forums. Thank you to everyone who is contributing constructively. I am learning a lot here.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Jan 2013 #45
and all those 2 cycle puht-puht engines spewing that god-awful blue exhaust fume into the air!
I still have that smell etched in my olfactory memory.
(Kraków was especially brutal in that regard)
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
7 Jan 2013 #46
Yes! My parents had a Trabant for a few years in 1970s! :):):):) We drove to the seaside in it, 4 people plus luggage. World record.
Lenka 3 | 2,629
7 Jan 2013 #47
We drove to the seaside in it, 4 people plus luggage. World record.

No,the record was set by my uncle-4 ppl,luggage,tent,gas cylinder and other staff in Maluch :)
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Jan 2013 #48
excellent post, enkidu.
I don't really agree about people wearing the same clothes though, like uniforms. Just about every woman knew how to sew, or at least adapt what was available to the latest fashion.

We did 4 people in Trabant, luggage and camping gear, and tented it to Black Sea, all the way to Turkish border and back.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Jan 2013 #49
We drove to the seaside in it, 4 people plus luggage. World record.

quite an intimate experience like mine: 4 guys, all taller than 5'10", packed with stuff from Berlin stores.
What a ride!
(the East Germans had no sense of humor)
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
8 Jan 2013 #50
No,the record was set by my uncle-4 ppl,luggage,tent,gas cylinder and other staff in Maluch :)

OK, I give up my Trabant world record. :):):)

excellent post, enkidu.

Yes! Enkidu made great job, providing real food for thought and material for further development. Thanks!

I don't really agree about people wearing the same clothes though, like uniforms. Just about every woman knew how to sew, or at least adapt what was available to the latest fashion.

Yes. I still remember foreigners` comments on Polish women in 1980s- classy!

We did 4 people in Trabant, luggage and camping gear, and tented it to Black Sea, all the way to Turkish border and back.

We never reached the Turkish border, only got to Golden Sands in our Trabant. :(:(:(:(

(the East Germans had no sense of humor)

It is natural - they had orders to shoot any trespassers. To death.

Money did not matter much. I know that is hard to believe but really - everybody got the money. And the money was mostly useless.

Yes, true. Most people had similar earnings. Exchanged into foreign currency (at the black market rate) : 20 -30 $ per month.

For instance - flats were given not bought. If you wanted to live in your own flat - you should find a job and make yourself useful. You get married and applied for a flat. In time - it was given to you

Yes, after having worked in a factory, office, mine etc etc for a long time it was possible to receive a flat. But still you had to pay about 25% of its value.

However, such flats` quality was incredibly low. Even Polish comedies from 1970s noticed it and communist censorship had to close an eye because it was so notorious:

Amazing technical problems after moving in, from 1:15:
rybnik 18 | 1,461
8 Jan 2013 #51
after having worked in a factory, office, mine etc etc for a long time it was possible to receive a flat

OR join the army become a low-ranking officer and get a new flat, like my ex's cousin

However, such flats` quality was incredibly low

not his
it was newish with all the trimmings!
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
8 Jan 2013 #52
A few years later parents told me they had to go.

(from your last post on the first page of this thread.)

What would have happened if they did not attend?

The communist police called militia took care of it - the streets had to be clean - communism couldn`t have homeless people

What did they do with them?

Exactly. those who shun work were called blue birds.

Why? I only know the reference to blue birds in North America, it symbolises happiness but this is the first time I've heard about it as a phrase in Europe.

I still remember giant neon ads in Krakow

With everyone working and the communist police taking care of the homeless, there are no people left on the streets of the photos you posted :)

Good to see you're back Pawian, this place isn't the same without you.

pawian: Milk was sold in giant glass bottles

..............also in bags

They still sell milk in bags in Lithuania.
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
8 Jan 2013 #53
What would have happened if they did not attend?

They could have problems at their workplaces.
But that was probably the only time they went because I don`t remember being taken to any other parades.

What did they do with them?

E.g., they could be taken to the police station and beaten with truncheons. After such treatment, they didn`t dare to appear on city streets. They slept in empty ruins in the outskirts or in freight carriages on railway stations. Some moved to the countryside and worked in communist farms.

A document on homelss in communism

Why? I only know the reference to blue birds in North America, it symbolises happiness but this is the first time I've heard about it as a phrase in Europe.

Blue birds is from the Bible.

With everyone working and the communist police taking care of the homeless, there are no people left on the streets of the photos you posted :)

Taken at night when decent Poles used to stay in, watching TV and getting ready to bed.

Good to see you're back Pawian, this place isn't the same without you.

Some guys think different. :):):)
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
8 Jan 2013 #54
They could have problems at their workplaces.

What kind of problems would the communist party make for those people who did not attend their parades?

Just to clarify, I am asking about life in communism in general, not specifically about your parents.

A document on homelss in communism

Thank you for the link, I will watch it.

Blue birds is from the Bible.

I must have missed that particular Sunday lesson.

Taken at night when decent Poles used to stay in, watching TV and getting ready to bed.

But if they were to attract people (decent or otherwise) at night, where are the people? I just thought it was odd.

Some guys think different. :):):)

Ah sure PF is definitely a Love/Hate relationship :)
Well I for one enjoy your posts and pictures.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
8 Jan 2013 #56
(wow. thanks for the kind mention Pawian :)
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
9 Jan 2013 #58
What kind of problems would the communist party make for those people who did not attend their parades?

In drastic cases (depended on the workplace) those people could even lose their jobs and all benefits connected with it.

Just to clarify, I am asking about life in communism in general, not specifically about your parents.

Of course, I don`t mind, I am not responsible for my parents` actions, but not ashamed of being their child, either. In 1980-81 both joined Solidarity and participated in protests and strike actions in Krakow before the martial law.

I must have missed that particular Sunday lesson.

Of course. You have never lived in a communist country: :):):):):):):):)

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ...


(wow. thanks for the kind mention Pawian :)

How could I forget?

SeanBM: What did they do with them?
E.g., they could be taken to the police station and beaten with truncheons.

In 1970s.
In 1980s the police had bigger problems than the homeless. I remember spending a night at Gdynia railway station in 1986. The departure lounge was full of shabby, mostly drunk, probably homeless guys and nobody cared.

Thank you for the link, I will watch it.

In case you misunderstood, the link is an article in Polish, not a film.
peterweg 37 | 2,319
9 Jan 2013 #59
excellent post, enkidu.
I don't really agree about people wearing the same clothes though,

Well .... as interesting as his post was, virtually everything he said has been disagree by various posters.
OP pawian 178 | 15,905
9 Jan 2013 #60
Not disagreed. Only enriched with details a little bit. Enkidu made a good post with general facts while others benefited from it and described details. Everything is fine.


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