The breath of Russia on the back, censorship, blackmail and... Poland. Kuchcinski for We are archiving memories

Photos, films, memories, archival materials of the Security Service, profiles of various people associated with opposition and civic activities in Przemyśl in the years 1967-1997 - all of this can be found on the Freedom Archive website, which was created thanks to the funding of the Polish History Museum in Warsaw as part of the "Patriotism" competition tomorrow."

The aim of the project is to present the history of people and events in the region of south-eastern Poland, who directly and indirectly participated in the process of building freedom in the times of communist enslavement, in a country isolated at that time from contacts and influences of the free world.

Can freedom be archived?

Marek Kuchciński: You can archive memories and we started doing it on the portal Archive of Freedom - Przemyśl Land and Region 1967-1997 ( There are mainly stories of people who helped Poland regain this freedom through their actions. What the younger generation does not always realize is that we lived in a country where every word had to be weighed, where almost everyone was watched, followed, often blackmailed and forced to inform on their own friends and even family, in a country where where you could feel the icy breath of Soviet Russia and the censorship of its loyal disciples on your back. 

What is the innovation of this project?

We decided to collect the memories of the participants of the events from those years, their assessments from today's perspective, but provided from them without hiding their emotions and this is the great value of the portal. Of course, there are IPN materials, historical studies, but we want to recall that reality through the eyes of its creators in a very personal, slightly sentimental way. To show the richness of life in Poland on the example of a small community.

Here the message is direct, it is a kind of memory base. We collect multi-generational memories, we count on commitment. We would like the portal to live, to share experiences and photos. Reading the already published memoirs, I recall many events myself and I feel like commenting, adding something. I cordially encourage you. 

In Przemyśl, you have recently reactivated the Cultural Society…

Yes, together with friends from those years and the portal is one of his initiatives. When in the 1980s we organized meetings of an independent milieu, later called the cultural attic, apart from politicians, they were mainly attended by people of culture - poets, painters, musicians... At that time, art gave a sense of freedom, the opportunity to catch a deep breath and commune with something beautiful, which this gray reality was extremely important. 

Do you think that those ideas can be transferred to today's ground?

At that time, they were unpopular, and understanding the civilizational order from the local perspective was very complicated, and he described it accurately. Krzysztof Dybciak: “…requiring civil courage. For example, breaking out of the communist bloc, we idealized the West. Of course, Europe was not as decadent as it is today, but it was also not a flawless reality, which is what we wanted to see and proclaimed in disputes with the supporters of the communist system. That is why it was probably only in the Przemyśl milieu and in "Strych Kulturylny" that Roger Scruton's tirades against the policy of the western left and exposing the weaknesses of socialist ideas could appear. And what a shock for many, including myself, was the thesis of an English conservative (in 1988!) which was the title of his conversation with Jan Musiał: "The unification of Europe is a pipe dream of secular bureaucrats". And he went on to explain what was going on: "Two serious dangers for Europe precisely: the erosion of national loyalty and the emergence of a new economic superpower that lacks the will, foresight and means to defend itself."

Russia's breath on my back, censorship, blackmail and... Poland. Kuchciński for We archive memories [PHOTOS] – Independent



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