Dilemmas of Polish Memory
Edited By Anna Wolff-Powęska and Piotr Forecki
Tadeusz Lubelski - The Representation of the Soviet Occupation in Polish Film
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The Representation of the Soviet Occupation in Polish Film
A survey about the memory of World War II conducted in Poland on the 20th anniversary of regaining full independence reveals optimistic results. According to it, our current memory has been shaped in free Poland; the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact is widely known, as are the real culprits of the Katyn massacre.1 One may conclude that the few decades of education in the People’s Republic of Poland (Polish: PRL) have fallen into oblivion. However, the long-term influence of culture is never devoid of consequences. Assuredly, the PRL propaganda was neither as radical nor as lengthy as the Soviet; it also met stronger resistance in the form of home education. However, the many years of its domination in the public discourse must have left a trace. With good reason, the two most popular and most frequently broadcast Polish TV series are Czterej pancerni i pies (Four Tank-men and a Dog, 1965–1969) and Stawka większa niż życie (More Than Life at Stake, 1967–1968): the image of contemporary history they present, shaped during the period of Gomułka’s government, still resonates.
This paper focuses on the film as a part of the wide process of initially spreading untruth, followed by truth. The object of my attention is the image of the Soviet occupation presented in Polish feature films and documentaries produced over the 72 years between 1941 and 2013. I primarily take...
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