The project began in 2014 during which time the memories of the adults were recorded. In 2015, we added the recollections of those who were 4-10 year old kids during the period 1980-90. They are now living throughout Poland, so it wasn’t possible to record them live. Fortunately, at the end of the 1990’s, Anna Lipinska made a record of her older colleagues’ stories of Martial Law. These were read aloud by “Splot” students and the resulting DVD is available (with English subtitles) for schools in Poland and the US. A few excerpts follow:
- Patrycja, 4 years old: I remember standing in line at a tiny neighborhood grocery that always had empty shelves. Mama was holding my hand. I was so young and small and thin, that everyone thought I was malnourished. Therefore, when I begged in a sad, pathetic voice, “Mama, please buy me an egg. I really would love an egg.” The others immediately let my mother go ahead of the line to buy the poor child an egg.
- Kuba, 4 years old: There was a search. I had no idea what that meant. I was sitting on the sofa and I was really young, when a few, two or maybe three, well-dressed men came in. They were very formal. At first I thought they were some kind of acquaintances and I kept pestering my mom and dad to invite them for the apple pie that dad had just made – he made delicious apple pie! I also remember that my mom made different kinds of banners. Once she used a very strong paint and we were afraid that the slogan “Long Live SOLIDARITY” might have gone thru and would be visible on the floor. When my mom was taken to prison and I asked her why, she told me it was because she loved us. That didn’t make any sense.
- Wit, 9 years old: Both of my parents were taken for interrogation. It looked pretty serious, but for me it was a treat because I immediately got to have five meals at the neighbors.
- Łukasz, 9 years old: I was standing in the window next to my godfather’s and I saw my mother being taken into a large Fiat, which was standing at an angle at the intersection in front of our block of flats and I thought to myself in all seriousness that one day I would be writing in my memoir “ ...and then I saw her for the last time”. Mama came home later that evening.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to our partner organization in the US, Citizens for Engaged Community (CEC), for their initiative, understanding and support.