Ryszard Siwiec - an ordinary man’s cry, a protest against the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and the strengthening influence of communism in Poland.
"On 11th June 1963 a Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc set himself on fire in Saigon, at a busy intersection in the city centre. He wanted to protest against the dictatorship of a Catholic president Ngo Dinh Diem and the persecution of Buddhism in Southern Vietnam. (…) The acts of self-immolation by Buddhist monks were used by the propaganda of the Eastern Bloc as a symbol of fighting American ‘militarism’ and the war in Vietnam. Images widely discussed in official media reached the Eastern Bloc nationals where, apart from overtones that the authorities were interested in, inspired people who searched for possibilities for ‘waking up’ indoctrinated societies and shouting out their protest against communism.
Ryszard Siwiec prepared his act very carefully: he drew up his will; 3-4 days before he left, he managed to get the pass to the harvest festival which took place at the 10th-Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw. He had his photo taken at the photographer’s; his family collected it after his death. He bought solvent and prepared leaflets which he then took with him to Warsaw. The day before, he went to the castle in Przemyśl and accompanied by two friends recorded his message on a cassette tape. On 7th September in the morning he said goodbye to his family. He took his son’s inexpensive watch, left him his, much more valuable, as a keepsake. On the train to Warsaw, in the early hours of the morning on 8th September, he wrote a goodbye letter to his wife.
Several hours later at the 10th-Anniversary Stadium – in the presence of 100,000 people including the authorities – with Władysław Gomułka as the main guest – dramatic events took place. Exactly at 12.15 pm in section 12 which was located near the parade box (the pass allowed the entrance to section 37) Ryszard Siwiec poured solvent all over him and lit fire. He was burning whilst standing. Among other things he was shouting “Long live free Poland!” “This is a free, dying man’s cry!” “Don’t rescue me, look what’s in my briefcase!”
People standing next to him moved several metres away and watched him from a safe distance. It took them a few minutes to put him out; he was making it very difficult himself trying to escape and defending against those who were trying to help him. Although all his clothes had burnt on him, he didn’t lose consciousness. He left the stand on his own, clumsily supported by militia officers. He was taken to hospital not by an ambulance but an unmarked Security Service car.
The celebrations were not stopped even for a moment. On the field groups carried on dancing; music was coming from loudspeakers. Siwiec’s briefcase remained at the stadium. It contained, among other things, a white and red flag with an inscription “For your freedom and ours. Honour and Homeland” [old mottos popular since the 19th-century uprisings during the Partitions of Poland - more info] as well as leaflets which began with words: “I protest against unprovoked aggression against our sister Czechoslovakia…”
As a result of extensive burns (second and third degree burns covering 85% of his total body surface) Ryszard Siwiec died on 12th September 1968 in the Prague Hospital in Warsaw.” [source]
The act of Ryszard Siwiec, till the 1980s practically taboo in Poland due to the surveillance and control over the media, didn’t go unnoticed by the other countries of the Eastern Bloc. A few months later the well-known act of self-immolation by the Czech student Jan Palach took place in Prague. After Palach’s protest 26 other people tried to perform the self-immolation in Czechoslovakia; 7 of them died. Later on, several more acts of protest were noticed by the communistic governments, for instance of the 16-year-old Hungarian student Sándor Bauer in protest to the occupation of Czechoslovakia and the presence of the Soviet army in Hungary; of the 19-year-old worker Romas Kalanta who set himself in fire in 1972 as a form of protest against the communistic occupation of Lithuania; or the self-immolation attempt of the 20-year-old Ilya (Eliyahu) Rips, Jewish student of mathematics from Latvia protesting against the occupation of Czechoslovakia.
Youtube video about Ryszard Siwiec with English subtitles: [link]
Read more about the Prague Spring or the steps taken by the Secret Police after Siwiec’s act at the ryszardsiwiec.com website and more about the following events at the janpalach.cz website.
Čtyři z tanku a pes (ep 1)
Czyli nasi starzy dobrzy Czterej Pancerni, których znają również nasi sąsiedzi z Czech.
Trzeba przyznać, że ich wersja Deszczy niespokojnych jest równie urodziwa co nasza <3
Dziękuję bardzo! Nie wiedziałam, że serial jest dostępny po czesku. Do października trzeba obejrzeć wszystkie díly :)
Manuscript pages from Frédéric Chopin’s piano works in the composer’s hand:
- Notes and doodles by the composer (perhaps for his Variations on Mozart’s “La ci darem la Mano”). The doodle is apparently of Mozart and some sort of monument.
- Opening measures to Etude Op. 10, No. 3. Notice the original Vivace ma non troppo tempo indication.
- Opening to the Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23.
- Section from the Nocturne in Db Major, Op. 27, No. 2.
- Section from Prelude in Bb Minor, Op. 28, No. 16
- Final measures of Ballade No. 2 in F Major, Op. 38.
- Possibly an autograph by the composer using measures from the Polonaise in Ab Major, Op. 53.
- Opening to the Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58.
- Page from Waltz in Db Major, Op. 64, No. 1 (“Minute Waltz”).
- Mazurka in F Minor, Op. 68, No. 4 - the composer’s final composition.
Sketches for Válka s mloky (War with the Newts), director Tomáš Krejčí´s upcoming adaptation of Czech writer Karel Čapek´s speculative fiction of the same name. It will be very expensive movie and its realization seems to be conditioned by the commercial success of several other films, produced by Krejčí (as, for example, Alice Nellis´ currently filmed fairy tale Seven Ravens).
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