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Stories From The Eastern West
24 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
Several years after the war, a strange encounter in the heart of Paris made Zofia Posmysz, a former Auschwitz prisoner, start wondering what it would be like to meet her camp overseer. Posmysz turned her fantasy in a successful radio play in which she explored the unlikely perspective of an oppressor, a Nazi German concentration camp overseer. The story inspired a prolific young filmmaker Andrzej Munk – a representative of the Polish Film School, a group of filmmakers tackling the experience of war with new unorthodox approaches that collided with all the paradoxes of its traumatic events. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Click here to get the transcript Further reading Zofia Posmysz // bio on Culture.pl Andrzej Munk // bio on Culture.pl The Passenger // film description on Culture.pl The Passenger // book description on Culture.pl “Passenger” Depicts the Holocaust from the Point of View of a Nazi Official // article on NewYorker.com Andrzej Munk's The Passenger // article from Vertigo magazine The ‘Lucky Ship’: Rebellion, Desertion & Love on the MS Batory // article on Culture.pl The MS Batory: Culture.pl Readers Share their Photographs & Memories // article on Culture.pl Female guards in Nazi concentration camps // entry on Wikipedia.org Further watching Zofia Posmysz Talks about The Passenger // video interview on Culture.pl Zofia Posmysz: Memory That Will Save Us // video interview on Culture.pl Behind the Scenes: Zofia Posmysz's The Passenger in Yekaterinburg // video about the recent opera version on Culture.pl Thanks Zofia Posmysz // author, screenwriter and writer for radio and televised theatre performances, reporter and broadcast radio editor. Michał Oleszczyk // film historian and critic, member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
25 minutes | Dec 17, 2021
Get to know Piotr Szkopiak, a London-based film and TV director who’s spent a good portion of his life pondering the nature of his identity. Piotr Szkopiak was born in the United Kingdom but into a Polish family. As he grew up, he learned that his parents and neighbours were all World War II prisoners of war who had escaped the USSR but couldn't go back to Poland after the war ended. His mother told him how she had travelled from the depths of the Soviet Union through Persia and southern Europe to the UK, and how after the war this is the place that she had to learn to call home. But first and foremost, his parents talked to him in Polish, signed him up for a Polish weekend school, and raised him as a person with a double identity: Polish and British. This in-betweenness has been something that strongly influenced his life and he reflects on it all in an interview he gave to Karolina Jackowiak, who on behalf of the Poles in South London organisation, was working on the Local Heroes Archive oral history project. We, at SFTEW, liked the story so much that we decided to turn it into one of our episodes. Click here to get the transcript Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Further listening ORPHANS // the SFTEW episode we mention in the podcast: how 700 Polish children made an unlikely journey from the depths of Siberia to the New Zealand countryside. BEAR // an even more unlikely tale from us at SFTEW: the bear who fought in World War II alongside Anders’ Army. Further reading Artists In Arms // the incredible odyssey of Anders’ Army, told through a multimedia guide from Culture.pl Soldiers, Artists: The Exhibitions of Anders’ Army // on Culture.pl Piotr Szkopiak // Piotr's IMDB profile Cultivating Polish Folk Dance in 1970s South London // another story from the Local Heroes Archive project Memories of South London’s Polish Music Scene // another story from the Local Heroes Archive project Poles in South London // the community’s official website Thanks Piotr Szkopiak // for letting us turn his story into a podcast episode. Poles in South London // especially Marta Sordyl and Łukasz Wołągiewicz from the organisation, for reaching out and offering this incredible story to us. Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
30 minutes | Nov 10, 2021
Nicolaus Copernicus, born in 1473, was the orphaned son of a copper merchant in Toruń. Thanks to his bishop uncle, he obtained a first class education at the Kraków Academy and then in Italy, where he became an avid observer of the night sky – even though he was supposed to be preparing for a church career. His day job as a church canon, diplomat and doctor in Frombork – when he wasn't defending castles against the Teutonic Knights – meant that it took him over 30 years to finish his book 'On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres' in which he presented an Earth-shattering new idea – that maybe it wasn't actually at the centre of the universe as everyone believed, but in fact revolved around the Sun. Although it would take another century until Galileo was able to prove Copernicus right inarguably using the later invention of the telescope, Copernicus's book, published in 1543 in Nuremberg, would mark the beginning of a very real revolution in science and our understanding of the universe. Listen to the episode to find out how he came to this unexpected conclusion, and what happened next. Click here to get the transcript Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Further reading Copernicus: Revelations about the Renaissance Man // on Culture.pl Astronomer Copernicus, or Conversations with God – Jan Matejko // on Culture.pl A Quiz About Copernicus: More Than a Great Astronomer! // on Culture.pl Further watching Copernicus, by Jan Matejko // video by Waldemar Januszczak on YouTube.com Further visiting Nicolaus Copernicus Museum // in Frombork, Northern Poland Thanks Małgorzata Czupajło // Educator at the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork. Dava Sobel // Science history writer and author of A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. Prof. Karl Galle // Science historian at the American University in Cairo, currently working on a book delving into Copernicus's life in Warmia, including his roles as a church administrator, diplomat, cartographer and doctor. Lastly, a special thank you to the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in Frombork for their help in making this episode possible. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
27 minutes | Oct 7, 2021
Vera Chytilová was the most important woman director of the Czechoslovak New Wave – although she remains relatively unknown outside of Central Europe. As the first female student of the prestigious FAMU film school in Prague, she had to fight in order to do things her own way. During the creative explosion of the Czechoslovak New Wave, she made her most well known film ‘Daisies’ (1966) – a surrealist pop-art comedy, about two young women who set their minds on creating humorous destruction around them. The 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of her country stopped Chytilová’s promising career dead in its tracks, but unlike Miloś Forman (‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest’, 1975) and others, she refused to emigrate, despite the huge personal cost. After seven years of professional exile, she was allowed to return to filmmaking in the late 1970s, once again finding critical success. After the privatisation of the Czech film industry in the 1990s, she was one of the first to adapt with ‘The Inheritance’ (1992) – a scathing satire on the effect free-for-all capitalism was having on her fellow citizens. Having never compromised on her beliefs, she remained a moral authority in her country until her death in 2014, and continues to inspire those lucky enough to come across her films for the first time. Listen to the episode to hear her fascinating story. Click here to get the transcript Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Further reading Vera Chytilova Dies at 85; Made Daring Films in Czech New Wave // on nytimes.com "It's still revolutionary' : Věra Chytilová’s Daisies comes sixth in BBC poll of films by women // on Czech Radio.cz The Cinematic Gems of the Czechoslovak New Wave // on Hyperallergic.com Poles Conquer Czech Cinema // on Culture.pl The Most Powerful Films From Beyond the Iron Curtain // on Culture.pl Further watching Naughty Young People: Chytilová, Kučera, Krumbachova (2012) // documentary at Vimeo.com Thanks Tereza Kučerova // set designer and visual artist, for talking to us about her mother, and her childhood memories of the dramatic events of 1968. Anička Hanáková // for helping translate our conversation and sharing her own memories of her grandmother. Dr. Michal Bregant // director of the National Film Archive in Prague, for sharing his experience of working with Chytilová in the 1980s. Professor Jan Bernard // for talking about his former teaching colleague at at FAMU. Dr. Jindřiška Bláhová // Assistant Film Studies Professor at Charles University, for sharing her knowledge of Chytilová's life and work. Jakub Felcman // filmmaker and former student of Chytilová at FAMU, for talking to us about the Czech director as a teacher and mentor. Lastly, a special thanks to Barbora Lochmanová from the Czech Film Center and Jitka Rohanova from the Polish Institute in Prague for their help in making the episode possible. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
27 minutes | Sep 7, 2021
Stanisław Lem was a science-fiction writer whose works, abilities and quirky sense of humor convinced Phillip K. Dick that he was too brilliant to exist and must have actually been a committee of people! Indeed his rare gift for blending philosophy with technology and action made him an instantaneously recognisable voice in the European sci-fi world and elevated him to the heights of popularity and critical acclaim. But Lem’s life was far from a textbook success story. Throughout his life, he struggled with traumatic wartime memories, distorted identities, and the communist system. But somehow, he was able to turn all the hardships and obstacles into elements of the incredible universes he created in his novels. In this episode, our hosts Nitzan and Adam will try to unravel some of the most confusing mysteries surrounding Lem: why did he choose to abandon his pre-war identity? How on Earth did he foresee the Internet in the 1960s? Is it true that he learned English from a dictionary in a week? Like our show? Get our newsletter! Further reading Stanisław Lem // bio on Culture.pl Stanisław Lem: Did the Holocaust Shape His Sci-Fi World? // on Culture.pl 13 Things Lem Predicted About The Future We Live In // on Culture.pl Phillip K. Dick: Stanisław Lem is a Communist Committee // on Culture.pl Lem Vs. Tarkovsky: The Fight Over ‘Solaris’ // on Culture.pl The Many Masks & Faces of Stanisław Lem // on Culture.pl Humorous Horrors: How Lem Taught His Nephew to Write Flawlessly // on Culture.pl 8 Science Fiction Films Adapted from Lem // on Culture.pl Further watching The Adventures of the Blindworm: An Orthographic Short Story by Stanisław Lem // on Culture.pl Thanks Agnieszka Gajewska // professor of literary studies, author of ‘Holocaust and the Stars: The Past in the Prose of Stanisław Lem’ (available in English from November 2021) and ‘Hasło: Feminizm’. Wojciech Orliński // a Polish journalist, writer, and blogger, author of the best-selling Lem biography ‘Lem: Życie Nie z tej Ziemi’ (Lem: A Life Out of This World). You can enjoy his incredible sense of humour on his blog (which he writes in Polish). Wiktor Jaźniewicz // Belarus’s premier ‘lemologist’, and owner of a ‘lemologic cabinet’ that you can see for yourself here. Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
2 minutes | Aug 24, 2021
Announcing Season IV
This year we have more great stories for you! There's going to be a bit of sci-fi, a pinch of socialist realism, a good portion of astronomy, and some old-fashioned moving testimonies from a region that never sleeps! Stay tuned: the first episode drops September 7th! Like our show? Get our newsletter!
29 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
The Fusionist: Zbigniew Namysłowski
Like most Polish jazz musicians, Zbigniew Namysłowski learned the basics of jazz listening to Willis Conover’s “Jazz Hour”. Originally starting his musical career playing piano, cello and trombone, Namysłowski became infatuated with the saxophone after meeting composer Krzysztof Komeda, who happened to be carrying an alto saxophone with him, on a train. During that chance encounter, Namysłowski gave the instrument a try and hasn’t stopped playing the saxophone ever since. His original experiments mixing jazz and folk quickly caught people’s attention and in 1962, Willis Conover himself invited Namysłowski and his band to the US to play at the Newport Jazz Festival. This incredible opportunity marked the eve of Namysłowski’s brilliant international career. Time stamps [01:00] Jazz and communism [02:00] Sopot festivals [04:30] The alto saxophone [06:06] The Voice of America jazz lessons [10:02]The American tour [12:23] Jazz Jamboree [13:40] Folk [17:17] Komeda [18:52] Favorites [23:28] The passport [26:24] Polish-American jazz [27:00] Young talents Music from the episode [11:00] Composition: Kalatówki ‘59 Artist: The Wreckers Album: At the last moment [14:15] Composition: Piątawka Artist: Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet Album: Lola [19:47] Composition: Winobranie / Jak nie ma szmalu to jest łaź Artist: Zbigniew Namysłowski Album: Winobranie Further reading Zbigniew Namysłowski // on Culture.pl Interview with Zbigniew Namysłowski // on londonjazznews.com Further watching Zbigniew Namysłowski performing in 2021 Zbigniew Namysłowski performing “Kujawiak goes Funky” in 1997 Zbigniew Namysłowski performing with folk musians during Jazz Jamboree in 1994 Credits This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Paweł Brodowski. The show is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Written by Wojciech Oleksiak & Monika Proba Produced by Move Me Media Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak Proofread by Adam Żuławski Translated by Mateusz Schmidt Design by Dawid Ryski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Copyrights The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.
24 minutes | Jul 16, 2021
The Virtuoso: Adam Makowicz
Adam Makowicz grew up in a house where a piano was the centre of the home. His mother had long planned for him to become a classical virtuoso, but a meeting with a musician who introduced him to jazz changed this path completely. Adam packed his bags and left for Kraków, where he moved into a jazz nightclub and immediately became part of the city’s jazz scene. It was here where his thorough classical education and incredible talent led him to create his unique virtuoso style, one that merged the technique associated with classical music with the vibrance of jazz. In this episode, this standout Polish jazz pianist talks about freedom, beauty and interpretation in jazz music. Time stamps: [01:06] The centre of our home [02:03] Art Tatum [02:59] Radio [04:40] Rebel [05:09] Under the piano [06:49] Duo with Urszula Dudziak [09:30] John Hammond [11:06] Freedom [13:23] The first polish jazz virtuoso [14:04] Solo [15:10] Beauty [15:58] New York [17:34] Martial Law [19:51] Chopin [22:20] Home Read the transcript of this episode Music from this episode [07:00] Composition: Darkness and Newborn Light Artist: Urszula Dudziak and Adam Makowicz Album: Newborn Light [10:08] Composition: Chopin's Willows Artist Adam Makowicz Album: Adam [20:44] Composition: Prelude No. 24 In D Minor Artist: Adam Makowicz, Leszek Możdżer Album: Możdżer vs. Makowicz at the Carnegie Hall Further Reading Adam Makowicz // on Culture.pl Willis Conover: The American Godfather of Polish Jazz // on Culture.pl Interview with Willis Conover // on memory.loc.gov Further Watching Adam Makowicz performing in 1986 Adam Makowicz performing with Leszek Możdżer Unit // Full album Credits This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Paweł Brodowski. The show is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Written by Wojciech Oleksiak & Monika Proba Produced by Move Me Media Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak Proofread by Adam Żuławski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Copyrights The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.
30 minutes | Jul 1, 2021
The New Yorker: Michał Urbaniak
“Polish jazz group - 100$ a night” Displayed on the posters in Michał Urbaniak’s band’s van while playing across Europe in the 60s, this hippy traveling player was soon to become one of the most innovative Polish jazz musicians in history. Though his European career was quickly evolving, the old continent simply didn’t feel like enough. From a very young age, Michał knew at heart that he was a New Yorker, eventually jumping at the first chance he got to move to the world’s jazz capital and signing with the legendary Columbia Records. The rest is history. Time stamps [01:11] The Boys of America [02:29] An Introduction to Miles [03:22] New Yorker at heart [07:52] 100$ a night [09:55] The violin [11:23] New York [12:14] Columbia [13:19] Folk [16:16] The impossible deal [19:08] Young talents [19:52] Meeting Miles [23:15] Poetry & jazz [27:22] Young musicians Music from the episode [07:33] Composition: Bengal Artist: Super Constellation Album editions: Super Constellation / Fusion I [14:13] Composition: New York Baca Artist: Michał Urbaniak/Michał Urbaniak’s Fusion Album: Atma [20:34] Composition: Don’t Lose Your Mind Artist: Miles Davis Album: Tutu [25:44] Composition: Square Park Sunday Artist: Urbanator Album: Urbanator Further reading Michał Urbaniak // on Culture.pl Interview with Michał Urbaniak // on Culture.pl Michał Urbaniak’s web page Further watching “New Yorker by Choice” // documentary film about Michał Urbaniak "Chameleon" by Urbanator // Music video Michał Urbaniak performing with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra Credits This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Paweł Brodowski. The show is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Written by Wojciech Oleksiak & Monika Proba Produced by Move Me Media Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak Proofread by Adam Żuławski Design by Dawid Ryski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Copyrights The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions. The project was carried out thanks to the cooperation with Polskie Nagrania / Warner Music Poland, Sony Music Publishing Poland Sp. z o.o and Urbaniak.com Foundation.
32 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
The Pioneeer: Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski
It may be hard to believe, but when Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski started playing music, jazz was censored in Poland. As a result of Stalin’s cultural politics that governed what kinds of art and culture could be consumed in the country, anything that may have been associated with western imperialism was formally excluded from public life. However, these rigid policies only made jazz more appealing, leading many young people across the country, like Ptaszyn, to fall in love with it. After Stalin’s death in 1953, Ptaszyn entered the newly re-born jazz scene with a bang and quickly became the epitome of the genre. Not only one of Polish jazz’s most brilliant musicians, Ptaszyn is also seen by many as its voice. For over 50 years he’s hosted “45 Minutes of Jazz” a Polish radio show dedicated to jazz that continues to inspire several new generations of musicians and jazz aficionados. Time stamps [01:11] Outlawed music [03:36] Forbidden love [04:21] Willis Conover [06:53] First jazz events [09:19] Sopot Jazz Festival [12:54] Warsaw - Newport [17:26] Polish Jazz records [20:01] What is Polish jazz? [21:03] Polish Jazz Quartet [22:37] The Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra [24:48] 45 minutes of jazz [26:28] Cruise ships [28:05] The end of the communist regime [28:43] The nineties Music from the episode [06:53] Composition: Memory of Bach Artist: Sextet Komedy Album: Jazz 56. I Ogólnopolski Festiwal muzyki jazzowej [19:42] Composition: One Step Nearer You Artist: Kurylewicz Quintet Album: Go Right [28:33] Composition: Czarownica Artist: Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski Sextet Album: Komeda. Moja słodka europejska ojczyzna Further reading Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski // on Culture.pl 'Birds Of A Feather...' The Godfather Of Polish Jazz, Jan 'Birdman' Wroblewski, At Birdland // on top40-charts.com Watch more Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski performing in Poland in 1981 Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski performing at the Sibiu Jazz Festival in 2009 Credits This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Paweł Brodowski. The show is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Written by Bartosz Borowiec & Jan Burzyński Produced by Move Me Media Hosted by Paweł Brodowski Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak Proofread by Adam Żuławski Translated by Mateusz Schmidt Design by Dawid Ryski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Copyrights The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.Meet the godfather and voice of Polish jazz.
31 minutes | Jun 17, 2021
The Queen: Urszula Dudziak
Urszula’s love for unruly musical experiments got her kicked out from music school when she was a young girl. A few years later, like many young Poles, she stumbled upon The Voice of America - a radio station meant to bring American culture and censorship-free news to people locked up behind the Iron Curtain. This program is where Urszula heard jazz for the first time. Blown away by the uniqueness of the music, one of the voices she heard marked her particularly - the voice of Ella Fitzgerald. Hearing Ella made her realize the extent of creative freedom jazz could offer, specifically, her understanding that people's voices can serve as musical instruments. From then on, Urszula started developing her distinctive style of wordless vocalisation that can transport listeners to another dimension. Time stamps [01:55] The accordion [02:44] Trouble in school [03:21] The Voice of America [04:44] Ella Fitzgerald [07:09] American jazz [08:35] Krzysztof Komeda [10:44] Love [11:29] Scandinavian restaurants [13:33] All that smoke [15:02] Discovering electronics [16:30] Duo with Adam Makowicz [19:16] New York [22:33] Papaya [29:24] The best age Click here to read the transcript for this episode Music from the episode [14:08] Composition: Bengal Artist: Super Constellation Album editions: Super Constellation / Fusion I [17:37] Composition: Darkness and Newborn Light Artist: Urszula Dudziak and Adam Makowicz Album: Newborn Light [22:33] Composition: Papaya Artist: Urszula Dudziak Album: Urszula [26:18] Composition: Kama Ula Artist: Michał Urbaniak/Michał Urbaniak’s Fusion Album: Atma Further reading Urszula Dudziak // on Culture.pl A Foreigners Guide to Polish Jazz // on Culture.pl Willis Conover: The American Godfather of Polish Jazz // on Culture.pl From bop to żal: how jazz became the voice of freedom in Poland // on Guardian.com Further Watching Urszula performing in 1973 Urszula performing in 1998 Filipino soldiers dancing the Papaya dance Credits This episode of Rebel Spirits was hosted by Paweł Brodowski. The show is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Written by Wojciech Oleksiak & Monika Proba Produced by Move Me Media Hosted by Paweł Brodowski Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak Proofread by Adam Żuławski Translated by Mateusz Schmidt Design by Dawid Ryski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Copyrights The publisher would like to thank all copyright owners for their kind permission to reproduce their material. Should, despite our intensive research, any person entitled to rights have been overlooked, legitimate claims shall be compensated within the usual provisions.
2 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Announcing: Rebel Spirits
This week we've a special preview for you: Rebel Spirits! It's a podcast about five Polish jazz musicians who came of age in the 1950s and became mesmerised by the music they heard on the outlawed American radio station Voice of America. You'll hear how they went from learning to play jazz from worn-out vinyls to becoming icons that continue to inspire the music world today. Hosted by Paweł Brodowski, Rebel Spirits is brought to you by Culture.pl, the flagship brand of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Coming June 2021. Available wherever you get your podcasts, and on Culture.pl.
28 minutes | Mar 31, 2021
In 1967, Marian Marzyński was a popular TV show host and filmmaker in Poland. But then a seemingly faraway military clash sparked an unexpected conflict within the Polish communist party that led its Jewish members to be accused of anti-Polish sentiments. The conflict developed into an anti-Semitic campaign that affected all of Polish Jewish society and led to the emigration of the majority of the remaining Polish Jews, whose numbers had already been dwindled due to the Holocaust. Emigrating away from an authoritarian regime, Marian was able to process the events around him by filming them from his perspective, something he was previously unable to do. He continues to film his personal stories today. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [00:11] 1968: a year of global unrest [02:08] Escape from the ghetto [03:17] Never forget to lie [07:13] The war is over. Jewish identity after the war [08:22] Marian becomes a journalist [10:28] Internationalism vs. nationalism [10:46] The Six-Day War [12:08] Censoring 'Dziady' in the National Theatre [12:39] The mechanisms of hostility [14:55] Marian decides to leave [16:16] First stop: Denmark [17:29] Marian films emigration [18:38] Who were we? [19:45] What is emigration? [20:13] Film-making after emigration [21:30] Moving to the USA [23:06] Humour [24:12] Marian’s returns to Poland [25:40] The inner child Further reading Marian’s website Interview with Marian Marzyński about his film 'Shtetl' // on PBS.org Further watching Life on Marz // Marian Marzyński's film on Vimeo.com Skibet/Hatikvah // Marian Marzyński's film on Vimeo.com Jewish Blues // Marian Marzyński's film on Vimeo.com Shtetl // Marian Marzyński's film on Vimeo.com Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak, Adam Zulawski & Nitzan Reisner Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
24 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
In 1938, Hitler's forces marched into Czechoslovakia, a country that had only gained its independence two decades earlier. A puppeteer named Josef Skupa was ready to fight back with the help of Spejbl and Hurvínek – a father son duo of wooden puppets. Because the Nazi German occupiers didn't seem to take puppets very seriously, Skupa's theatre in Pilsen was able to put on satirical performances that directly referred to the occupation and gave ordinary Czechs hope that one day things would be better. Eventually Skupa's luck would run out – the Gestapo even arrested his puppet duo. But all three were destined to become household names in the Czech Republic, a country that takes its puppets seriously... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps 00:48] Imagine if Kermit the frog took on the Third Reich [02:12] Josef Skupa and Kašpárek farewell the Austrio-Hungarian Empire [04:36] A modern kind of puppet theatre [07:25] Spejbl and Hurvínek battle Nazi insects [08:30] Munich Conference and Carousel over Three Floors [11:44] Voničky and Long Live the Future [14:50] Death threats and a final anti-fascist play [16:28] Arrest of Skupa and his puppets [17:58] Escape from prison, Spejbl and Hurvínek rescued from the trash [20:51] Legacy of Josef Skupa and his puppets [21:43] Puppet-making workshop with Mirek and Leah [23:21] Credits Further reading Josef Skupa // on World Encyclopedia of Puppet Arts Jan Malik // on World Encyclopedia of Puppet Arts Sjebl and Hurvinek // on Wikipedia Quay Brothers' Puppetry Prescription in New York // on Culture.pl Puppets, Birds & Wycinanki // on Culture.pl The Bug Trainer – The Story of Władysław Starewicz // on Culture.pl Further watching Spejbl goes Mushroom Hunting // short episode from the 1974 bedtime series Return of Spejbl and Hurvinek, voiced by Josef Skupa's protege Miloś Kirchner. On Ceskatelevize.cz (Czech only) Further visiting Spejbl and Hurvinek Theatre // Puppet theatre in Prague opened by Josef Skupa in 1945 as a continuation of his theatre in Pilsen. They hold regular shows for kids and families. Plzeň Puppet Museum // Puppet museum located in the historic centre of Plzeň (Pilsen), the town where Josef Skupa opened his first theatre and the birthplace of Spejbl and Hurvínek. Puppets in Prague // Puppet-making workshop in Prague run by Mirek Trejtner and Leah Gaffen. Temporarily being run online. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks We’d like to thank Denisa Kirchnerova from the Spejbl and Hurvinek theatre in Prague, Tomáš Pfejfer, curator at the Puppet Museum in Pilsen, and Nina Malikowa for sharing their knowledge about Josef Skupa and his performances during WWII. Thanks also to Leah Gaffen and Mirek Trejtner from Puppets in Prague for talking to us and inviting Piotr to their skeleton-making workshop. Lastly, a special thanks to Jitka Rohanova from the Polish Institute in Prague for her help in making the episode.
25 minutes | Jan 27, 2021
Back in 2019, we got the chance to interview Anastasija Gulej. She was 95 at the time, living a happy life in one of Kyiv's suburbs. If you didn’t know her, you’d never tell be able to tell that she wakes up every day with the horrors of her past. Her past as an Auschwitz-Birkenau inmate. Anastasija was already 18 years old when she was taken there, which makes her memories especially valuable. She remembers things perfectly clearly, she understood what was going around her, she knew what it was. We strongly believe that keeping the memories of such events in mind is our duty, even more so now, when most of the people who could remember it are gone. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:29] Beginning of the war [05:22] The first time Anastasija was afraid [07:31] Auschwitz-Birkenau [15:56] The Death March [20:17] Liberation. Bergen-Belsen Camp [22:25] Post scriptum [24:19] Credits Further reading There Was Love in the Ghetto: A Conversation with Paula Sawicka // on Culture.pl The Holocaust in Polish Literature: 7 Key Books // on Culture.pl You Never Know How Fate Will Play Out: An Interview With Józef Hen // on Culture.pl Further watching Zofia Posmysz: Memory That Will Save Us // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Conservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Barracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Art of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Credits Written and produced by Wojciech Oleksiak & Żenia Klimakin Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
24 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
‘Romania today is possibly the only European country where you can bump into a witch at the supermarket.’ The history of witches in Europe is a tumultuous and violent one. Always on the margins of society and in opposition to any form of hierarchy, their presence sparked fear and prejudice which led to prosecutions and witch hunts. But unbeknownst to many, their traditions have outlasted all of this. In Romania, the 21st century has turned out to be a surprisingly good time for witches. As a child, Clara learned that they could make anything happen. As a grown up, she had a few questions about it all and decided to knock on a witch’s door. But interviewing a witch turned out not to be so simple... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:08] The spell [02:09] Ball lightning [07:14] Clara & her grandmother try to interview a witch [12:51] Clara & Monika team up [13:51] The most powerful witch in southeastern Europe [15:21] What a witch can do [16:30] Back to square one [23:00] Credits Further reading Romania's Modern Witches // on CNN Style Lucia Sekerková: A Peculiar Look at 21st-Century Witchcraft // photography on The Calvert Journal Beneath the Surface: The Occult Inspirations of Poland's Legendary Naive Artist Coal Miners // on Culture.pl 9 Supernatural Beings & Places of Polish Folklore // on Culture.pl Slavic Daemons: Fearsome & Formidable Females // on Culture.pl Séances, Dragons & Chakras: Kraków's Magical Past // on Culture.pl Further watching Witchcraft in Romania // video on VICE Asia Youtube channel Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba & Clara Kleininger Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks A huge thanks to Mrs. Ardelanca and her daughter for foreseeing only good events.
35 minutes | Nov 30, 2020
In the summer of 1976, the late Polish film director Andrzej Żuławski, responsible for infamous cult classics such as The Devil (1972) and Possession (1981), was given a green light to shoot the most expensive film ever made in Poland. On the Silver Globe was meant to be a massively ambitious science-fiction epic set on the Moon, showing the birth of a new civilisation, and produced without the benefit of modern special effects. But things didn't quite go to plan. The huge ambitions of a temperamental and demanding director combined with the financial and technological realities of 1970s Poland meant that the production faced an uphill battle from the first day of shooting. But with over 70% of the film already shot, and the end almost in sight, On the Silver Globe unexpectedly fell victim to the whims of a Communist Party hardliner and was relegated to cinematic history. How do you make a space opera without Hollywood special effects in a state-run economy? What were the crew doing in Mongolia? Who was Janusz Wilhelmi and why did he shut down the production? And does the story ultimately have a happy ending? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:24] Intro [02:56] Flying to the Moon [05:10] Economic strife & a controversial director [07:20] Making a space opera without special effects [10:09] The Gobi Desert as the Moon [12:10] Production delays & cost overruns [16:15] Script changes & Hamlet monologues [18:37] A burning Shern [22:03] Wilhelmi arrives on the scene [25:55] ‘It’s over, lads.’ [29:38] Is this how the story ends? [33:54] Credits Further reading On the Silver Globe // film description on Culture.pl Andrzej Żulawski // bio on Culture.pl The Origins of Polish Sci-Fi & The Legacy of Jerzy Żuławski // feature article on Culture.pl about the origins of The Lunar Trilogy books and their far-reaching influence Jerzy Żuławski // bio on Culture.pl On the Silver Globe // on RogerEbert.com Further watching On The Silver Globe // fragment of the film after digital restoration, on Kadr Film Studio’s Youtube channel. Further visiting CETA Audiovisual Technology Centre// If you happen to be in the beautiful South-West city of Wrocław, you can visit the building that used to house the Wrocław film studio, which served as a base for the film, as well as such classics as The Saragossa Manuscript by Wojciech Jerzy Has. These days it houses a state-of the art special effects studio, but remains the home of the surviving costumes and props from On the Silver Globe. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks We'd like to thank Andrzej Jaroszewicz, Andrzej Seweryn, Stefan Kurzyp, and Jerzy Śnieżawski for talking to us. Many thanks also to Daniel Bird for guiding us through the strange world that is On the Silver Globe. And lastly, a special thanks to Maria Duffek, costume designer at the CETA audiovisual technology centre in Wrocław for her help and extensive knowledge.
34 minutes | Oct 31, 2020
After the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east in 1939, many thousands of Polish families were deported to Siberian forced labour camps. There they not only faced bitter cold but constant hunger. Then Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and the families that were now allowed to leave tried to get as far south as possible. In many cases, only their children made it all the way to safety in Iran. Some Polish orphans were resettled in places like South Africa and Mexico, but a group of 700 would end up travelling on a US Navy ship to the small island nation of New Zealand, on the other side of the world. How did the children survive their perilous journey from Siberia to Iran, and end up in a place called Pahiatua in the New Zealand countryside? How did they adjust to a new life surrounded by sheep and cattle, and what happened when the camp they had begun to call home was finally shut down for good? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [02:10] Deportation from Eastern Poland to Siberia [06:15] Everyday life in the Labour Camps [09:30] The USSR joins the allies, amnesty, and getting out of Russia [12:08] The Polish Army gathers orphans from the countryside [14:30] Arrival in Pahlavi and Isfahan [16:25] Iran becomes dangerous and the children need to be resettled [17:05] Leaving for New Zealand on a US Navy Transporter [18:45] Arrival in Wellington and the camp in Pahiatua [21:21] Life in the countryside [23:49] The NZ government takes over caring for the children [25:18] Settling down, finding careers and getting married [28:03] Living the two cultures side by side [28:50] The arrival of Stefania's parents [30:30] Finding your place in the world Further reading / watching Polish Children of Pahiatua // on the Wellington City Council website Dzieci z Pahiatua // on ArchiwumEmigranta.pl (Polish) The Story of 700 Polish Children // Documentary (1966) on NZOnScreen.com The arrival of the Polish Children in Wellington // Newsreel (1944) on NZOnScreen.com Credits Written, produced & presented by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks This episode was produced with help from the Embassy of Poland in Wellington. We'd like to extend many thanks to Ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski and Anna Gołębicka-Buchanan for helping us get in touch with the protagonists of our episode. We'd also like to say thank you to Stanisław Manterys, Malwina Zofia Rubisz Schwieters and Jozef and Stefania Zawada for telling us their story, and to Karolina Palej for her assistance.
28 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
As much as The People’s Republic of Poland may seem a distant country hidden behind the Iron Curtain, it was an open and welcoming one... towards other socialist states. Student exchange programmes were one of the many ways of building international socialist partnerships. The Vietnam War was just ending when Hai ‘Nam’ Bui Ngoc had reached university. He was one of the few lucky ones given a chance to travel to the other side of the world to study ship building. After a few weeks spent travelling by train from Hanoi to Warsaw, he saw everything other than what he had imagined. But this was only the beginning of his incredible journey... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:08] What does Nam mean? [02:09] The end of the world: growing up during the Vietnam War [07:14] Moving to Poland to study shipbuilding [12:51] Vietnamese secret agents appear [13:51] Becoming a guru [15:21] Love [16:30] Escape [20:44] 'What saved me was a hand' [23:22] Asylum in France [24:13] Problems in heaven & a difficult return to Poland [25:36] Where home is Further reading & watching Nam’s martial arts school // official website June 1976 and the Workers’ Defence Committee // an article on the Workers Defence Committee on Poland.pl Polska PRL 1974 r // Polish news chronicle from 1974 on Youtube Polska 1975, Polska Kronika Filmowa // Polish news chronicle from 1975 on Youtube ( Life In Gdansk ) (1971) // British Pathé footage of Gdańsk in 1971 on Youtube Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
29 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
In August 1980, after the firing of popular shipyard worker, Anna Walentynowicz, a strike broke out at the Vladimir Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk. Suddenly this massive complex on the Polish coast, with 16,000 employees and of huge strategic importance for the Polish economy, was under worker occupation, and every day other workplaces in Gdańsk and around the country started joining in. Very soon the communist leadership in Warsaw realised that this wasn't just another strike they could snuff out with promised pay rises, or indeed by force. As for the shipyard workers, they realised that this was a chance to force the government to accept something they had long been fighting for… trade unions that were independent from the state, and run by the workers themselves… So who exactly was Anna Walentynowicz and how did her firing provoke a strike that took hold of the country? Why did Henryka Krzywonos stop her tram on a busy intersection in Gdańsk? How did a shipyard become a focal point for the battle for freedom and democracy? Did the strikers ultimately get what they were fighting for? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:02] 1980s Poland: a country on the verge of a revolution [05:09] The strike starts at the shipyard... [07:19] ...and spreads to other workplaces in Gdańsk [12:10] How it looked from the other side of the fence [13:39] The strike becomes a country-wide protest [17:05] The protesters meet with the government delegation [22:00] The Gdańsk Agreement is signed [23:45] 'Solidarity' is founded by members of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee [27:40] Credits Further reading Poland's Walk To Freedom in 13 Iconic Photos // photo reportage on Culture.pl When the Stars Came Out for Solidarność // article on Culture.pl The European Solidarity Centre // the building's launch, on Culture.pl The Gdansk Agreement // on Wikipedia.org Further watching Who is Anna Walentynowicz? // an hour-long documentary about Anna Walentynowicz and the 1980 strikes (Polish/German with English subtitles) Robotnicy 1980 // a documentary about the strikes and negotiations at the Gdańsk shipyard (Polish only) Further visiting Stocznia jest kobietą - Shipyard is (a) female // a mobile app and audio tour that lets you discover the history of the Gdańsk shipyards through the eyes of the women who worked there. Android phone users can find it here. European Solidarity Centre // a museum in Gdańsk dedicated to the shipyard and the history of the Solidarity movement. Anna Walentynowicz Exhibition // a special exhibit on the grounds of the shipyard dedicated to the work and activism of Anna Walentynowicz. Presented in the shed she used to work in. The Institute of Urban Culture in Gdansk // free walking tours of the shipyard and other historic areas in Gdańsk. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner, Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Many thanks to Joanna Duda-Gwiazda and Andrzej Gwiazda, Henryka Krzywonos, Aleksander Maślankiewicz, Halina Lewna and everybody else we spoke to along the way during the making of this episode. And a special thanks to Anna Miller from the Arteria Association and Metropolitanka Group in Gdańsk, for her knowledge and assistance. Also be sure to check out our special mini-series on the democratic revolutions of 1989: The Final Curtain. You can also find it in our feed.
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