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Modern myths and legends about communist past in Poland


dolnoslask 5 | 2,414
26 Jul 2019  #61
they had no chance to leave. Well, Poland wasn`t

Really, I guess my family in Poland didn't have the right connections to visit us during the occupation., strange heh, I guess you and your family were allowed to go wherever they chose,
Lenka 3 | 1,375
26 Jul 2019  #62
Dolno, I know that your family history is very important to you and that's good, but they don't account for the whole nation. Going personal on Pawian, who said himself some people snitched to get a passport, is not the right way
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
26 Jul 2019  #63
I guess you and your family were allowed to go wherever they chose,

Not wherever. My family had a ban on Western direction for a long time. My father was a specialist engineer in electronic industry and communists feared he might defect and reveal the secrets of the system. :):) Such people weren` t allowed to travel West. We only visited countries of the Warsaw Pact. All of them except Romania. E.g., holidays in Bulgaria were quite cheap in 1970s.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,414
26 Jul 2019  #64
All of them except Romania.

Don't worry you didn't miss anything there.

Do you remember beaches where you were not allowed to go past a certain point, they were raked to show any footprints ,and well tended by the guards to make sure you would not escape the fantastic socialist system, lol.

You know that in certain places you could swim out to sea a couple of km, whistle the Star Spangled Banner and you would be picked up by a mini sub and be holidaying in NYC the very next day.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
26 Jul 2019  #65
Do you remember beaches where you were not allowed to go past a certain point

I don`t remember such beaches in Bulgaria. However, I remember the nudist beach there behind the fence with gaps between those giant metal sheets. What emotions! hahaha
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
27 Jul 2019  #66
Unless they are very old.

Lol. Driving a Seicento

See a film from one factory which made that stuff - people work in extremely harmful conditions without any protection..... that chrome liquid.

That was the Emalia factory in Slawkow (Olkusz). I rememeber the pollution. Even after all these years the water table is irrevocably ruined. Today you can rent canoes to travel down the Przemsa river - for people have short memories - but that whole (pretty) area is actually environmentally screwed.

The communist authorities were mentally ill for placing such a factory in a small (1600s) country town in the first place and should have been shot.

the Emalia factory in Slawkow

Ah - this ones's in Myszkow. My bad. The Emailia factory in Slawkow made those metal kettles that burnt down people's houses when the brightly painted enamel on them caught fire....
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
27 Jul 2019  #67
Listening again for the 50th time to my original LP of Czeszlaw Niemens' Dziwny jest ten swiat.
This record is so good I'm surprised they didn't ban it. He was certainly very clever, playing the commies at their own game.
Lenka 3 | 1,375
27 Jul 2019  #68
Actually Niemen himself denied any political implications in this song and instead said he wrote it after some personal experience
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
27 Jul 2019  #69
denied any political implications in this song

I was referring to the whole LP, not the song actually, and Niemen in general. Those who knew Nieman well say he hated the system, and that's why the government refused him travel, apart from generally "neutral" countries such as Sweden.

Hence the scum ruined his musical ambitions and his career.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
27 Jul 2019  #70
but that whole (pretty) area is actually environmentally screwed.

That is one of the greatest vices of communism - total neglect and ignorance of the environment protection. Yes, they built factories and powerplants to provide people with jobs but at the same time they gave us lethal gases and waste and nobody cared.
Zlatko
27 Jul 2019  #71
So if color film was so hard to find apparently the PRL really had it worse than PR Bulgaria. It's no wonder why more Bulgarians miss socialism than Poles.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
27 Jul 2019  #72
How do you know more Bulgarians miss socialism? E.g., is there a political party in Bulgaria which openly claims communist heritage ? There is such a party in Czechia (10% support) but isn`t in Poland.
Zlatko
29 Jul 2019  #73
Yes, BSP (БСП), the Bulgarian Socialist Party. It's the second political party. They still make gatherings on a mountain peak where an UFO-like monument was built on top of it. But many of the ones in other parties are also from communist background. Basically mos of the money and businesses are still in communist thugs/mafiosos hands still. And yes, the nostalgia is real, lots of them still make their children and grandchildren learn Russian. But see, we have different history, Russian army saved us from the Ottomans so some people turn a blind eye to everything Russia or the USSR has done/does.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
29 Jul 2019  #74
I see, thanks.

Let`s deal with another myth.

I imagine people who didn`t live in Poland during communism are prone to imagine the system was always homogenous. I can see it in questions which non-Poles ask sometimes.

Polish communism wasn`t uniform throughout those decades, there were a few periods with different approach:

1945-1956 - murderous stalinist regime of Soviet puppets. Patriots who didn`t support the system or completely innocent people were imprisoned, tortured, often executed. The country was impoverished after the war yet communists imposed the creation of heavy industry to produce armament for the Warsaw Pact. Rationing. Motto of the system - All power into people`s hands.

1956-1970 - Gomułka`s rule. No more mass executions, but dissidents were still persecuted. The beginning of intelligentsia`s resistance to the system. Life was simple, most people could afford only basic things. Hardly any investment in economy. 1970 - workers` revolt after a drastic price rise. Motto of the system - "small stabilisation."

1971-1980 - Gierek`s rule. Incredible opening to the West - imported goods, licenses, travelling abroad. Also, huge pay rises. Futher industrialisation and development of new branches. Much of it financed with foreign loans - from Western governments and private banks. The crisis began in 1976 with workers` revolt against price rise. This time workers were aided by the intelligentsia and first united opposition was born. Motto of the system - A Pole can do it!orLet Poland grow stronger and people live more affluently

1980-1981 - a few communist leaders` rule. Solidarity was born, communists in retreat. Foreign loans - 22 billion $. Complete chaos in economy, rationing of food and goods. Frequent strikes, also national. Motto of the system:Go back to work.

1981-1989 - general Jaruzelski`s rule. After martial law Solidarity was banned and most of the opposition landed in prisons, but the resistance of the society to the system didn`t diminish. The crisis continued, zero investment, economy collapsed, there was no money even to pay installments to 40 billion loans. Finally, strikes and unrest, communists decided to talk with the opposition. Motto of the system: Opposition - there is no freedom without Solidarity. Communists: No talks with Wałęsa or Solidarity.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,653
29 Jul 2019  #75
The crisis continued

Pawian, didn't things get a little bit better once martial law was imposed? I seem to remember that one reason for imposing it was that prices had to rise in order to get things back in the shops.

nytimes.com/1988/02/01/world/protests-erupt-in-poland-over-big-price-increases.html

Yup, early 1982, they doubled prices of food.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
29 Jul 2019  #76
didn't things get a little bit better once martial law was imposed?

On the surface, yes. Shortages were not as acute as before because the regime introduced paramilitary system in factories and other workplaces - one could be easily accused of sabotage or desertion, whatever. People didn`t want to take such risks.

However, life was still difficult. I was obsessed with bodybuilding then, and I needed high protein diet. If I didn`t buy cottage cheese before 9am, I could kiss it good bye for the day - it disappeared from shops. Cottage cheese! Not to mention meat.... and so on.
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
29 Jul 2019  #77
martial law

Was a crime against the Polish state, and Jaruzelski and his mob should have been shot as traitors for colluding with the Soviets. That is the view of my Polish family and it makes good sense to me.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
11 Aug 2019  #79
the production of cosmetics was assigned to Poland.

Yes, the only shops which were always abundantly stocked were the ones with cosmetics. Polish cosmetics were exported to all communist countries where they were very popular.

Some had funny names. I remember using deodorant called Brutal. :):) Ladies certainly think nostalgically about Mrs Walewska series.







Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
11 Aug 2019  #80
shops which were always abundantly stocked

Co-op tea and disenfectant were lavishly displayed in ther main Spolem state shop in Sosnowiec by the second railway station. Nothing else of any distinction after 2 PM that I recall. All meat and cheese was gone, and there were weirdly no tinned foods.

The street sold ice cream was terrific though:)
Atch 17 | 2,866
11 Aug 2019  #81
Some had funny names. I remember using deodorant called Brutal. :):) Ladies certainly think nostalgically about Mrs Walewska series.

Auchan still sells both of those products. I imagine the Brutal was supposed to be based on the popular Western aftershave, Brute.
Lenka 3 | 1,375
11 Aug 2019  #82
Oh, the smell of Pani Walewska always reminds me of my childhood and brings the thoughts elegance into my head :)
Miloslaw 6 | 2,149
11 Aug 2019  #83
Jaruzelski and his mob should have been shot as traitors for colluding with the Soviets

Agreed 100 %.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
12 Aug 2019  #84
In that case, all communists from each government or Parliament in Poland after WW2 should be shot as traitors, as you and Dougpol advise, because thye all colluded with Soviets this way or another. As well as about 30% Poles who consciously supported the system, either as ordinary party members or members of militia, army officers, company directors etc etc. They also colluded. Even those ordinary Poles who enjoyed various bebefits and priviliges and gladly attended 1 May parades, waving flags. Attending such a parade was enough to collude in those times.

Roughly speaking, about 50% population. That would be 18 million people who were somehow involved in making communism go round for so many years.

If you want your dream to come true within your life, you would need to invent a more efficient method than Germans did for Holocaust.
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
12 Aug 2019  #85
Pawian - Jaruzelski put the army on the streets and into housing estates and into factories - against his own people, with the inevitable result that people died. And the majority were cowed and were stripped of their dignity, and were overtly threatened on a daily basis.

Traitorous, and we now know that the Soviets had no plans to invade or call their troops out of barracks.
Simply a once revered general trying to make the "republic" great again.
The Romanians had the right idea, and no 600 would have died in Poland either.
Instead you let a traitor profit through his memoirs and gave him chat show time. That is the Polish shame.
OP pawian 161 | 9,846
12 Aug 2019  #86
and we now know that the Soviets had no plans to invade or call their troops out of barracks.

Very important word you said: now. :):)

Dougpol, why don`t you get acquainted with today`s poll results concerning martial law? :):)

That is the Polish shame.

Don`t you dare to judge what is Polish shame or isn`t. :):) You could do it if anybody of your family or even yourself were incancerated or persecuted by communists. As far as I know, you weren`t . You came to Poland in communist times, 1980s. Did you take up anticommunist underground activity right away? No, you prefered to keep silent for fear of being deported with eternal ban on coming back to Poland. So why are you so adamant about things which didn`t concern you?

All in all, be reasonable. If it had been so simple that by killing Jaruzelski Poland became a paradise free of communist trash and all problems arising from communist heritage disappeared, I would have gone and shot first. But it never works that way. As I said, you would have to kill 18 million Poles too. :):)
Ironside 48 | 9,750
12 Aug 2019  #87
In that case,

you are defending Soviets - figures. With a tail between your legs whine some more ...

Jaruzelski put the army

Dude he was a traitor already during WWII and after, exterminating Polish elite and working for Soviets diligently.
Ironside 48 | 9,750
12 Aug 2019  #88
I said, you would have to kill 18 million Poles too. :):)

You are talking nonsense.

by killing Jaruzelski Poland became a paradise free of communist trash

Basically, ah and few others and by clearing them out of the offices and by cut off from them the from money they stole after 89. Yes. Since commies has been in charge or power one way of there other for at least give or take 20 years after 89, Poland is much more worse for that.
Dougpol1 30 | 3,046
12 Aug 2019  #89
@pawian
I've told the forum the story before where my wife was threatened with assault and rape, until another policeman intervened.
Maybe different areas had different levels of abuse, just like today.
Slask was shocking - for obvious reasons. And it is my business. I spent 25 years helping in my own way to put my wife's parents back together again psychologically - even if Pis then proceeded to successfully brainwash them, after their escape from one system, that they were convinced would go on and on, without any real future.

The father in law was a leading mining engineer, and had to suffer all the demotions and exploitation upon consistently declining the Party card..
TooLongOut 1 | 1
12 Aug 2019  #90
As I tell my American friends about communism.... communist Poland was great place to grow up and I would not trade it for anything. People did not have much and spent more time socially and made more with less. I got great education for free thru Liceum and almost made it to top level university before "things" came up and I ended up in US in middle 80s. As 10 year old boy I could walk across the town in the middle of the night and not have to worry about sexual predators and other sickos. This does not happen in US now and it has not in the 80s when I arrived. Communist police did "take care" of questionable characters pretty quickly. As 14-17 year old I could not wait till Fri with couple other budies to go fishing in country side.. public lakes .. under the tent and no one CARED. Farmers would give us patatoes for free and corn when in season, we would stay up on water edge with big fire and fish all night. Try doing this in the US. There are so many laws and regulations that before you pitch the tent, you would have local police dragging you off. I miss those years. Pretty sure is different now.

Obviously, once you grow older, your career and option were limited and most of the people looked for options outside.

I would not also put 70s Polish Fiats down .... If I recall correctly, 70s and early 80s Honda/Toyotas in US market were not much better. My father used to pull out entire engine block out of 126 in an hour or two to replace something. The car would be good to go after lunch. For 2 cyclinder cars, they did good... in 1985 ? we drove from Poland to Russia (Ukraine?) and back to Poland via mountains thru Czechoslovakia.


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