To listen to more of Andrzej Wajda’s stories, go to the playlist:
Polish film director Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016), whose début films portrayed the horror of the German occupation of Poland, won awards at Cannes which established his reputation as storyteller and commentator on Polish history. He also served on the national Senate from 1989-91. [Listener: Jacek Petrycki]
TRANSCRIPT: The events of ’68 are disgraceful, when a large number of people involved with the cinema only survived because they found themselves in the Soviet Union; Jews, who would otherwise have died here but who survived over there, who had returned. Before the war, they had formed the cinema so it was not surprising that once the war was over, they had come back to it. All of the events of ’68, which were initiated and stage-managed, anti-Semitic events, meant that most of these people had to leave the country. And I have to say that there was a nationalist group which had in its midst the person whose name you’ve mentioned, as well as others, who did everything to create a change of generations and to come to power, so that any authority in the world of cinema could be in their hands and they would rule. I have to say that it wasn’t until afterwards that times became very hard for us, but perhaps I’ll speak about that later when I talk about my film ‘Korczak’, because that’s when I saw the most disgraceful act in Polish cinematography, when Aleksander Ford was to begin shooting ‘Korczak’ in ’68, the sets had already been built yet no filming had started, and the unfilmed sets were dismantled. I have to say that this is something that’s deeply embedded in my memory and is the continuation of what we’re talking about, but this will come later.