Poland glossary








owner of sawmill


Nowa Bystrzyca


May 1999



Section 1
Could you introduce yourself, telling your name, surname and age?
Do you mean better or worse side?

Waldemar Tyczynski, age – I have to count it. Perhaps this way – born in ’54.

OK. I will count it myself.
Anything else?

Your current job, qualifications.
Descent... I was born in, then Lithuania. When I was two, my parents came here, to Poland. It was in 1957. They settled down in Upper Silesia – it was the easiest way, I think. It was the second stage of displacements from the East lands. I spent all my childhood in Silesia. And studying in Wroclaw... [Mr Tyczynski smiles, one can gather from the intonation, that it was a nice time in his life]. There are not many people coming from Upper Silesia to study in Wroclaw, since there are many high schools there. But then catering study suited me the most, then it was fine.

And was it possible to study it in Agricultural Academy in Wroclaw only?
Yes. There was quite a number of candidates going there. Had I known that so many, I would never decide for it. I still have a newspaper with information that there were 5.6 candidate for one place. If I knew about it, I would never go there. It was really popular then. And one must admit that it was hard study. Chemistry all the time, and during two first years mathematics and science. But since I had chosen I completed it.

What was the subjects of your interest before?
I was never the best at a particular subject. Neither too low nor too high. I did not
have time for studying. I had friends from Silesia, and they are not the types of people who would study too often. They, I think, were prepared to the profession of miner from generations. All my friend went to mining schools. They are all retired now, while I start and want to develop. I am surprised by the fact that they are at the age of 45 practically finished life. When I go there, which does not happen very often, I can see them, got older, each with his belly drinking beer.

And what difficulties did you have with assimilation with Silesian environment?
I learnt Silesian language. Today I can watch films about Silesia in this dialect, for example “Adventures of Franciszek Bula”, I understand that without any difficulties. I have use of the language.
Section 2
Do you remember anything from 2-years stay in Lithuania, an event, situation.
Yes, one in particular – anti smallpox vaccination.

Was there an epidemic, or you were old enough to have it?
It was necessary. They have stuck in my memory, people white dressed, long corridor, mothers with they children are sitting and they are all crying. That is engraved on my memory. Later I visited Lithuania several times, first time in 1965, last in 1980. Very nice area, I wish I was there.

Has a part of your family stayed there?
I have relatives in Vilnius itself, as well as near the Troki. Also near Ruskiewiki. This is such famous spa, similar to Klodzka Valley [a break to check recording equipment; I offered to listen to material that has been recorded, but Mr Tyczynski said that it would be awkward; then his wife came, and Mr Tyczynski had to deal with his employees].

How did it happen that you came to Nowa Bystrzyca?
I really liked the name “Nowa Bystrzyca”. In every name there is a word “Bystrzyca”: I live in Nowa (new) Bystrzyca and a stream Mala (small) Bystrzyca flows here, and these mountain range surrounding my house is called the Góry Bystrzyckie (mountains).

Surrounded by the name Bystrzyca?
Names, numbers, registration plates in a car have always been important to me. Also the number of my identity card – to remember it easier. At least I found similar names. And how did it happen that I am here? There was work obligation after a graduation. One had to work for three years. There were two months to find the job. I did not hurry much. I did not start the job in the third month after my graduation, so I started to have difficulties with the authorities of universities responsible for the employment. And then I have to quickly find the job, otherwise they would send me somewhere. After I got off at Bytom bus station, early in the morning, I started looking round where the people were going. I thought that the biggest number of them would go to work. Since I had not found the job where I wanted, and I was interested in work in Zywiec brewery – that was my specialisation – technology of fermentation – well, but I did not succeed. So I had to start any job, because this third month was passing by. The first place I found was regional firm of meat industry in Katowice with its factories in Bytom. I went there and I got the job. So I did my training in meat industry. I basically did nothing there for three years. I could just walk round and watch what was going on in various parts of the factory. I visually learnt what was going there. It did not suit me much, because I never wanted to work in meat industry. But you do not always do what you like in your life.

Why did not you want to work in meat industry?
I love animals, that is why I am far from killing. To breed, but not to kill. And I had to work for three years, otherwise I would have to pay for the studies. And it is quite obvious that a young student after a graduation is penniless. I had to live somehow. I quit the job after three years, because it could lead me to prison. My first boss was imprisoned for two years, because he used to work as a manager in Gliwice or Zabrze, I cannot remember it now. My second boss was sentenced for one year and a half. And as I was sitting with them I got to know lots about the factories. I went through some departments and during the third year I was offered a post of a vice-director responsible for production in factory in Zabrze [laughter]. I had my opinion about it, because my ex boss went to prison for a scandal in the factory.
Section 3
Why did he go to prison?
For bribery and illegal sale of the meat. It was time of coupons for food – year 1982 – when I resign, just after state of emergency. Meat was pricey then. In a factory one could hardly say that the workers were stealing, they were just taking their part. It was called “szmeda”. It was meat that was simply taken, and I was surprised when during the meeting with workers boss said: “Listen, everyone her can take as much as is needed for dinner, or when it is Saturday you can also take for Sunday, but not 20 kilos as we met one of the workers at the gate”. It was a kind of permission, so anybody could take. And something interesting: when I was leaving the factory without meat, they were looking at me suspiciously. I was thought, during the training, to take. It was embarrassing. Then I went to an office to the region. I was sitting there as a clerk: checking, controlling some 21 factories; condition of the work and then production itself, it was within the range of three districts – Katowice, Czestochowa and Bielsko. Well, and a lot of work at a desk. I used to be an energetic, I wanted more action. I could hardly spend time at a desk. When I was controlling, it was much nicer, I did not have to work at stated hours. But I was supposed to become a manager responsible for production, and it was really responsible post, because all were stealing, and one had to account for meat. I would be treated as a kind of a scapegoat. It was not the scariest. What terrified me the most, was the fact that I would not be a free man.

Free – in what sense?
I am not that dependent on sitting every day from 7 to 3 pm. When I looked round I met the man I was replacing, who was leaving his post after 35 years spent behind that one desk; I did not even want to think that it would happen to me. I decided to change it. Then I quit the job. There was a kind of regulation that when a post is cancelled in a factory, the worker had to get half-year compensation. I thought that if I had got such compensation, I would have been able to look for a new job. And I did get the compensation. I did not have to take the post of a manager. The factory agreed to pay me the compensation, then I started looking round for something else [a break – a worker asked Mr Tyczynski for a moment]

We stopped at the moment, when you became a free man...
Yes, I became a free man, that was what I thought. I took a paper – there used to be papers like “Gromada, Rolnik Polski” (“Polish Farmer”). I did not know about them, but somewhere in a cafe or a club it was, I saw a pile of such papers and there were some advertisement about sale of real estates. I borrowed a monthly issue, I sat in a deck chair on the meadow and I was skimming the papers searching anything interesting. I was looking for somewhere with a large piece of ground with a building. But there was one condition – it had to be an area that would suit me: mountains, lakes or sea. Whether it would be Mazury, Sudety or Bieszczady – it did not really matter. And I found some eight interesting adverts. There was one near Braniewo, another in Bory Tucholskie, next in Koszalin region, something round Ustrzyki Dolne or Górne and there was one in Nowa Bystrzyca.
Section 4
And what made you choose Nowa Bystrzyca?
I had a look at the map and Nowa Bystrzyca turned out to be the closest to me. It is only 230 kilometres from Upper Silesia. And then I decided, and, there were some answers coming, five out of eight. What was more important this one was not so expensive and one could buy some additional ground. It was about 18 hectares here with a possibility of buying some more. I came and I saw – a ruin – I was devastated. As we entered the yard I immediately wanted to go back. I did not want to see it. But my friend, who came with me, convinced me to at least have a look at it, since we were driving for three hours.

And what was the second impression?
Ruined building, one can see it today, a renovation has just started. But later, when I entered the barn and I saw this excellent rafter framing, huge capacity, it all fascinated me. Not the building, but the barn. As the ex-owners were leaving, they showed me their fields. When I saw Klodzka Valley – down there you can see all mountain ranges – the view is beautiful. I was not accustomed to it. On my way back, because I did not give an answer, I decided that it was probably it.

Did you visit other four places?
No, I did not go anywhere. It was the closest. And that was something that interested me the most. And then we signed the agreement. We bought it. I bought an extra piece of ground, since the farmers’ organisations were falling into pieces. So I had 80 hectares altogether. And I started breeding sheep.

Why sheep?
They were nice, that was the first. One could breed cow, but I had no idea about it. What I knew was, that one had to get up at before five in the morning, because milk was collected then. And I did not have such fuss with sheep. It was enough to let them out and they could stay on their own. A fence was the only thing to make. Breeding sheep is not so demanding, I choose the easiest way.

And what about agriculture?
I did want to dig in the ground, because I did not know anything about it. And one can say that I was a help to local farmers’ organisations. They worked in a strange way. They were selling old and young sheep in the spring, because it did not suit them. They were selecting their cattle. They were selling them relatively cheap. And in the best period – at the beginning of May, when the vegetation starts. I, as an owner of 80 hectares, had the basic cattle that I kept for whole year, about 80 animals. I was buying as much as I could, because they were selling at the moment when feeding stuff was almost free. Those organisations were in a really strange way, but I do not regret it, because I earned decent money on it.

And was your farm entirely private?
Yes, I did not belong to any organisation. It was and it still is. So I kept the sheep to sell it six months later to the highlanders.

I thought you were selling it back to the farmers’ organisations...
Everything was possible then. And maximally I had up to 601 sheep, so it was a pile of white sheep. I put a fence round the area and I employed some local drunkards to help me with the sheep. And then I had practically a day off. Then in the evening, when the right hour was coming, sheep knew which was it, and I could tell that from their behaviour that that was the hour. Sheep were crossing the road and I had to watch it, so nobody could overdrive them. Cars are not going here too often, but everything is possible. I was checking the time, if it took a quarter, it meant that they were altogether. If it took shorter, I knew that some stayed on the slope. Without any experience, but I learnt something then. I had to get to know some of the veterinary knowledge.
Section 5
And did you have a use of knowledge from the times of your study?
This catering study rather not. No I did not have. Only to write any official correspondence. Then autumn came I was selling sheep to highlanders. I leant how to shear the sheep. I was doing it by myself. Later, when I had a larger number of the sheep I employed people to do it for me.

First thought that came to you after the arrival.
I will manage. I was happy to be on my only own in such beautiful area. Thanks to that advert I saw Klodzka Valley for the fist time. Only my friend told me about it since they used to go for camps to Roztoki. I never knew where it was. They were spending their holidays in their childhood, and I have been spending my mature life here – so another connection with Silesia.

Were you then, at the time of your move, already married?
Yes, and I had two children.

And what was the reaction of your wife to this place?
We talked it over in Silesia. I described her the conditions, and there surely would be some problems. She was ready for it. Later we came here and we decided to stay here.

Did your wife see those adverts?
No, I did it by myself, without her knowledge. I just showed her ready answers. But to decide, we did it together and it was really quick. We were young then and we did not mind it. At this stage it would have been much harder.

How old were you?
About thirty, it was in1984.

So exactly thirty...
Yes indeed! And I was the one to learn maths. It was the last moment.

How old were your children?
Daughter Izabela was eight, son Zbysiu was two and Pawelek is a highlander, because he was born here. The daughter is on the fourth year of catering studies, she followed in my wake. She wanted to study archaeology, but she did not get there. Together with her friend were taking written exams and they did well. I tried to put them off that idea persuading that: ”You are not going to dig in the ground”. But one should not advise his child against his or her decisions. She wanted, so she tried. After written part they were supposed to have an interview and on Saturday they went to university to look round, walk. They were happy. And one of the professors asked them what they were doing there. They said they were waiting until Monday to have their interview. He offered to ask them on the spot, so they did have to wait. As the first question he wanted to know if they were in Archaeological Museum in Wroclaw. They said that they were not there, because they were from Bystrzyca. “So there is nothing to talk about” – he said. And then he added, “Goodbye”. That is why she thought of studying the same as her father did.
In secondary school she was particularly studying history and geography – she needed those for her archaeology exams. And she had to take maths and science to get to Agricultural Academy. She got there, and she is on the fourth year now. She has already got a title of an engineer. She is working on her thesis now. I always considered her to be more exact than humanistic brain. It was a small conflict between me and my wife. But in this case I had a better intuition, quite similar to sheep, farmers’ organisations and highlanders. For that investment I had to take a credit from Bank Spóldzielczy. There were not any problems with it. But to take another I had to pay back the first one. I could do it thanks to the sheep I sold.
Section 6
What town did you live in Silesia?
It was Piekary Slaskie. About 40,000 used to live there at that time, and now some adjacent towns have been joint to it. Upper Silesia is one big agglomeration. At the moment there is about 70,000 inhabitants of Piekary. They are adjacent to Bytom, Bytom to Chorzów, Chorzów to Katowice, Siemianowice and so on. One agglomeration with a common, public transport. One cannot tell where one town has an end and when there is a beginning of another.

An inexperienced graduate from a town arrives to a village, sets up a farm with sheep...
Suddenly breeding stopped bringing money. It was in 1990. During one night. In 1989 everything went so smoothly “Let it not change” – I thought – “money is in the street. Is enough to know how to get it.” I kept telling that in December, also on New Years Eve. But on the second of the January I got to know from the TV news that rates of interests were raised to 39% per month. I counted how much I would have to pay per hour of that credit I got scarred. I said: “It is over.” And so at certain moment we had problems, but I sold out what I could to find the way out. [A break – a worker disturbed us again]

And where had the Yugoslavs come from?
I have no idea. They were buying sheep through Sheep Breeders Association. For the first time it was something strange to me, because when the highlanders were arriving they refused paying money I expected, because according to them sheep were not heavy enough. I even learn to speak their dialect. And when they thought that I originated from their lands they wanted to compromise. It was nice bargaining with them. There was one highlander coming – Jedrus Gasienica – typically highlander’s name. And my little boy, when he saw a car started shouting: “Dad! A caterpillar (Gasienica) came”. And that was my habitual buyer. And when the Yugoslavs came they said that sheep were too fat. Too thin for highlanders; too fat for the Yugoslavs. And soon after there was this row (Yugoslavian War) in Yugoslavia. I even thought that my sheep might have been a reason of the war. But they are still fighting and I fortunately have not got sheep anymore.

And what did you start to deal with then?
I quit sheep breeding and I started agriculture.
Section 7
Which you did not like so much...
I did not want to work in the meat industry, but I did so. I did not want to deal with agriculture, but I did it. I did feel like digging the ground, because I did not know how to do it, but I started. I was planting flax, buckwheat and charlock. It was not wheat or any of characteristic grains. And for larger, industrial scale: 10 hectares of flax. I had to organise processing, which meant all the equipment for flax dressing. I was selling flax prepared for spinning. But unfortunately factories connected with flax industry stopped working. So it was over. All the money I invested I had to put on something else. Then I thought: “It would be a good idea to deal with wood, there is so much of it here.” I started to compete with a sawmill in Bystrzyca Klodzka, that does not exist, and I still do, although my sawmill is so small. Now the fields are untilled. I had to sell 20 hectares to survive. So I have 60 or 65 hectares, at the moment.

Some of the agricultural credits were cancelled in some cases. What was it like in yours?
I paid back all of it. I had to tighten my belt and paid it back.

And at what moment were the credits cancelled?
It surely was not in 1990, a bit later, after I stopped dealing with agriculture. Still in 1993 I tried with those flax, buckwheat and charlock. And there were some problems with the sale of it, that was why I sold one tractor, the other I keep till today, and for the money I decided to set up a sawmill. And now I am a sawmill manager. I have to admit that it is a nice job.

How were you treated by the villagers at the beginning of your stay in Nowa Bystrzyca?
Strangers. But I was so busy with the work, that I did not pay any attention to keep any form of contact with those people. And that was an advantage, because there were not any conflicts. “Ah, there is somebody there doing his businesses” – that was what they said. At the beginning I asked some of them to help me with those credits, to let them to know that they could count on me. I explained that in case of any difficulties they would not have to deal with banks. And I met sincere kindness of the people.

How did the villagers react to a farmer – Master of Catering?
When I started agriculture, they started to laugh at me. But before I started I read some books and I base my work on that knowledge, not the way as they used to do it, although they were dealing with agriculture from generations. I have got 45 hectares near the forest, lots of the ground. I had to make it easier, not to divide the field. That is why I used to tile in circles. They were all surprised, because nobody did so, they thought that one had to do it the traditional way, one strip after another and so on. And they had furrows between field-patches. And there was nothing like that on my fields. That is the way they do it in America, till today they tile in circles. It takes less time for the tractor to return and go back: it stops, turns, goes further, turns, and goes further. And they kept saying that one do not do it that way. But after I was successful with the flax and others, because there were others, they changed their minds.

What is the ground that you own?
Here is the ground of 5-th, 6-th class, so difficult to tile. Most of all with lots of stones, very shallow layer of soil and beneath only stones. I thought that if I collected all the stones during one year, I would have ideal ground for the next one. It did not work. I had to collect stones every year. They keep laughing at us a bit, but until one moment, until I started success. Later I planted buckwheat. I was also successful, because at the beginning I had charlock there, but it was not good, so I tilled it by the end of May, and at the beginning of June I sowed buckwheat. That “green manure” of charlock did something amazing – I had large buckwheat as one can hardly plant. I thought that I had invented a new technology, because I had incredible crop.
Section 8
From an outsider you became a leader in the village.
Basically yes. I had the best equipment as I have it till today. Most of all the largest grounds and the biggest production.

What methods did you try to get to know villagers better. I know, that some people in your situation, drank vodka with them...
I did it in a different way. I did not want to unite, because I thought that it would lead to conflicts. I did not need it. We did not have any conflict with a neighbour, but we always talked to each other. They invited us to come round from time to time. And we used to go there for some time and quickly disappeared. Some almost were forcing us to visit them to have a helping, but I always used work as the best excuse. I kept myself a bit aside, but without any conflicts. I was busy with the work and I did not have time for it. I knew that action demands time and it had to be really thorough. Fortunately I did not have any pigs or cow, that you have to assist all the time. There was not much work with the sheep, unless I had to assist by births.

Do you remember the first birth?
One never forgets that. By the way I learnt it from the literature. I even want to plant poppy, because it seemed to be a profitable business, but at that moment it started to be banned. I got to know some of veterinary, indeed, because I used to put stitches on sheep, I also treated fractures, shearing and cutting tales off.

Was farming your only profitable business?
I only live on farming.

How did you mother and spouse react to that decision?
My surprised mother said: “He was supposed to be a manager and went to village”. “Civil service is a great thing” – many people used to say that. I did not share their point of view. They used to work in communism the best period of their lives and their pensions are so small. It is only enough to survive. I feel a free man here and I can do what I want. I always have new plans. At the moment I decided to start wood building. First construction starts in a month. I used to think about it yet during my studies and I got to this point.

Does your family visit you here?
Rarely. Family that immigrated to Germany a cousin comes here most often. They even built a house. They will come back when they get older. I see my closest relatives rarely, once a year at All Saints’ day. They do not come here, because they are probably busy in their town.

How the children reacted to this change from a town to a village?
Enthusiastically. My daughter was eight and son two. When we let him out, he started crawling and on his all fours he climbed the mountain. As he looked back, he got scared and went down backwards. It was his first contact with the mountain. At the moment my sons are planning their further lives here. They liked it here. When we go to Silesia they are always surprised how people can live there. They start to think on their own and see with their own eyes.
Section 9
How would you like to bring up your children: in an intelligent way or are you rather prepare them to farming?
All of the three attended musical school. We have got a piano at home and children learnt to play it. It was a bit complicated, because I had to drive them regularly. But we, they and myself, do not regret it.

There is a stereotype that relations between village children and their parents are rough. How is it in your family, although I know that you are not a typical village family...
There is a tradition in our home that we have dinner together. Boys, because the daughter spends most of their time in Wroclaw, are telling me about their day at school. I need to know all the details, because I have to defend them [smiles], they can be naughty at school. The same at Christmas. There is this tradition for many years that ladies stay at home preparing meal and we with the boys go for a Christmas tree. Dogs accompany us. And every year we take a picture of the event. We cut down own Christmas tree from our own field.

Is your daughter likely to stay in a city or will she go back to the village?
She is a bit impressed by the city. She would like to stay in Wroclaw to her brothers’ surprise. But she has some more time, we shall see. As we came here, we thought that there would not be any people here, no contact with other people but with the villagers. We were wrong. It turned out that there were some town people that came here earlier. For example, Krzysztof Komornicki. Dressed up for a farmer and pretended to be one. One could be mislead till the time of the first conversation with him. Once I had been chosen for a chairman of Sheep Breeders Association. I did not expect to have a reasonable conversation about sheep with them. But they all turned out to be intellectuals only: an ex lawyer, an ex university doctor, some engineers, master of catering and a teacher of Polish. All from the same area. It did surprise me then. It showed that the higher was the level of the mountains the higher was the level of intelligence. The president of Academy of Arts in Wroclaw lives not far from here, nearby two couples of architects. In Lasówka almost everybody comes from Wroclaw: a professor of architecture. I know all those people, because they buy wood from me. I keep in touch with them.

Did you leave Sheep Breeders Association, when you stopped breeding sheep?
No, I had to leave it, because I was invigilated by intelligence service. They would come here and asked me to co-operate. I refused, telling them that I had never done it before and I was not going to. They: “But you live in such solitary, without a telephone”. I was waiting for many years to get connected. They offer to organise everything for me, as well as fuel. I could buy five kilos of coal for one kilo of wool; I even used to get coupons for it. They were convincing me that I would not need any coupons.
It was during the second wave of strikes, before the Round Table in 1988. They came in a private car. I was curious of those men in “grey uniforms”, but they were not wearing any. A quite important meeting was supposed to be held with guest from Warszawa and Walbrzych. I was expected there. They came before the meeting. They did not convince me, I was asked to come to police station at 8, and the meeting in Klodzko was to begin at 9. I had been told to go to the meeting and then to come back and to report everything. I went to Sheep Breeders Association and I put my resignation. I used personal reasons as an excuse. Others kept asking me questions. I did want to tell a word, because those gentlemen had warned me that our conversations were confidential. I had to sign it. I went back to the police station since I was supposed to report. And I did so. I told them that I resign. In fact I did not have a telephone for many years, but I finally got it three years ago without intelligence service help. I regret that I had to quit because of the political reasons.
Section 10
I see, but those academic teachers are coming here occasionally?
Yes, they coming here for weekends only. There are just few like us here. The village turned out to be too tough, if not for a man at least for his partner. My wife fortunately was strong enough. There were not many conflicts between us. There are some minor ones till these days. I am so busy that I have not time to renovate this building. But I demand a proper renovation, because it is over 200 years old. I have started, but there is too much work in the sawmill that I am not managing. So, “the cobbler’s wife is always the worst shod”. Now I am about to start building a new house, but for someone else. I have bought a building lot to build something to myself. My 60 hectares I would like to have for entertainment purposes not for dwelling purposes, but it is up to officials. Un-doable matter.

I cannot tell what is the matter. It takes two years already and they cannot decide. One time, in Town Office in Bystrzyca they decide that I can change my plans and a moment later I am receiving a message that they have to hold up their decision. Most probably I will have to appeal.

In what way do you take part in cultural life?
We go every year to Wroclaw for Singing Actors Festival.

So there is still something enchanting you to a cultural life...
An ex-mayor used to organise Jazz Meetings at All Soul’s Day. Thanks to him we did not have to go anywhere, it all came to us. And throughout November there were great jazz bands coming, once a week. Perhaps I am not keen on jazz, blues or rock would be better for me, but those live performances were really great.

When did you last go to the theatre?
Last year. We have not gone this year yet. I do not go to cinema often, I prefer theatre. We do not feel isolated here. We often talk with my wife that if we lived in Silesia we would not have a contact with interesting people as we have here. Our decision was right, I would not change it. I have found my place on Earth. Especially that my wife used to change her place of dwelling. My grandfather was an officer before the war and, as my grandma told me, they used to move around whole Poland. They lived in all bigger cities. My father was born in Lithuania, he visited Poland as a child, after the war he moved to Silesia. He spent three years in a camp in Astrakhan for AK (Polish National Army). Lithuania was on the Russian side, so they put all those soldiers to prison. That was why he could not come to Poland in the first turn. He could come here in ’57 to escape from there, which I am very grateful for. I pity Lithuania; I would not like to be there. They moved to Silesia, and I am continuing this tradition moving further. I have found my place and children feel it. Perhaps the family will settle down.
Section 11
Has anything unpleasant happened to you, so that you would like to forget it?
No. I am more of type of man who enjoys life, with good attitude to it.

Do seasons of the year influence your life?
They do. One feels drowsy during winter, but not now at springtime.

Do you take holiday at all?
There did not use to be anything like that in farming. So those years when I was busy with that job I did not have any free time. My wife with children were going to Silesia to visit relatives. I could not afford to go with them. One can think that sheep breeding is a kind of a careless job. But since there are various diseases, it demands a good care. Once it happened to me. There was a fly plague, such specific flies, shining, with blue metallic clouds round them. They were sitting on wool of a healthy sheep, they blew it which resulted in larva, that ate sheep alive. The animals suffered much. At the beginning they were going aside. I did not know what was going on, because one could not see anything. I had a big loss then, since sheep were dying. I tried to find a solution together with vets. They could not help it. They told me that they had never seen anything like that before. But I found it in books, and this is how my studies help me in life. I was not prepared to work. I was disappointed with it. I thought, I would be a specialist. It was a generally directed education. We were showed how to use books. And thanks to that I found the solution. I was able to help the sheep.

And now you can have a holiday?
Now, yes. With my current production I can take my holiday as I like it. I can afford holding all up to have my free two weeks. It would be more complicated with a longer period.

Where do you spend your free time. Is it in Silesia?
No, God forbids. I usually go to the seaside. The Baltic Sea. Last year we went all way along the Polish coast. This is much better than staying in one place which is boring. We slept in a car, and in the morning just after sunrise we went swimming in the sea, and just after we were heading our way. Only then one can find interesting places.

Did not your wife and daughter want to accompany you?
No, it would not be possible with the ladies. The car is too small.

And do you go anywhere with the whole family?
Yes we do. Not only for holidays. We live in such an interesting area, so we have to visit all the most interesting places. At the beginning of 90’s we used to get together in some cars and were going round the closest areas: Góry Stolowe, Masyw Snieznika, Jaskinia Niedzwiedzia, Fort Wilhelma over Wójtowice. The truth is that we gave it up lately. And we have still some places to see. My playmates asked if I knew what Muzeum Filumenistyczne was. I did not know. They told me, that it was a museum of match labels (the museum is situated in Bystrzyca Klodzka). I even used to collect those labels. It was fashionable then.
Section 12
You have mentioned that you were visiting the closest areas. If not alone who was there with you?
There were some people coming here for weekends, not so often with my family.

Do you owe anything else to village, except that you became a free man?
A great frame of mind. I feel good here, I feel free and what is the most important – I do what I like. The fact that I was forced to work in meat industry belongs to the past. You never do things right when you are forced to do anything. And here I created my own workshop, because this is the job that I am doing. As it turned out, one can learn something from the books about my current job, and I did many things better than others who were prepared to this job. I mean people after professional schools, or those who have worked for many years, because I happened to meet such ones. It is a satisfaction to show to somebody who have worked in a sawmill for 25 years, that one can do something in a different faster or better way.

Did you lose anything in connection with your arrival at the village?
I have lost touch with my schoolmates, especially from comprehensive school, because one remembers better a comprehensive than primary school. I am sorry for it a bit. I came to a different environment, it does not mean worse, because the views and the people here are really great. But sometimes one misses the people with whom one spent so much time at the most interesting age. I consider my teens to be the best age, better than studying. We met no so long ago 25 years after graduation, last year. And I looked at my mates. Lots of them stayed in Silesia, some went to Germany, and one is in USA. There were not only five of us at the meeting. I noticed that those people, who stayed in Silesia, did not reach anything. They have been wasting their lives there. Girls were telling that they have children, they go to work or do not, and they are doing somehow. I say: “Is that it? I have a new production and I keep thinking how to do something new, something else. Thanks to me Bystrzyca is changing.” I convinced four families to come along, they have been living here already, and I build a house for the fifth one. I introduce some changes here. They arrive, meet me and they have a support in me. And my mates have finished their best period and are all retired. Those, who used to work in coal mines, are retired already.

One can also see that difference in their appearance...
I did not want to say that, but I do agree entirely. It is sad, but they look much older. I told that to my wife, because she is touchy about her age, that compared to women from Silesia, she looked younger.

One has to admit that it is so.
Thanks to the fact, that I took her away from the city. My wife comes from Zaglebie. Those who do not come from Silesia or Zaglebie, do not know that there are deep conflicts between Silesians and people from Zaglebie, from generations.

Do the mountains have an influence on your life?
Most of all we absorb an energy from them. The best example is Dorota Komornicka, who has lots of such energy. Everyone is surprised, where does it come from. We know it. From the mountains. For me people from town look old.
Section 13
What do you miss?
Comprehensive school, only. I do not miss Silesia really. I miss my most wonderful years, because I was free then. As well as I am now.

What have you learnt here, and I do not mean practical skills, because I know that there are plenty of these?
I think, that I have grown up. At the age of 30 or 40 man thinks in a different way. Now I have an experience, and I see lots of things differently. And the fact of being here helped me to be free. One had to rely on himself. I became independent at the age of seventeen, when my father died. I was left with my mother and an older sister, but I was responsible for many things then. This independence was in me. Perhaps it was easier to take the decision of a change. It was the dream of my childhood – mountains. I wanted to live in mountains and it came true. And when I was skimming the adverts I mainly looked for mountains, then were Mazury lakes and sea.

I talked to your wife for a moment, she seemed to regret, that she has not finished her studies...
She wanted to go to Academy of Arts, but unfortunately it was no such in Wroclaw then. She started to study History of Arts. She gave up too easily. One try for a study with lots of candidates does not always end in success. Some are chosen, and the rest have to fall out. You have to be consistent. And it might be partially my fault, that I did not motivate her. We have known each other since secondary school; she was in the third class and I in fourth.

She said, she wanted to study in Wroclaw because you were studying there...
Yes, and she often keeps telling me, that if we were supposed to stay together, that distance would not matter. That was the situation of our friend – he studied navigation in Gdansk and she studied in Wroclaw. I know that the wife misses it much, because she even came back to books about arts. Besides Wroclaw always had a bigger renown than Silesian universities. And I was for the first time in Wroclaw when I was taking my exams to get to Agricultural Academy. And I stayed for five years there.

Impressed by Wroclaw?
I like Wroclaw much, but not that far that I would like to live there, although I could stay and have a job. I like it, but not to that extend to be my hometown.

How do you remember “students’ life”?
There was not much time on my studies to live that real “students’ life”. Hard study. One had to learn a lot, because nobody would pity you, one exam, another and goodbye. And indeed there were 120 of us on the first semester, on the second only 100, and graduated 80. The through-outs of 40 people is about 30%. That is many.

Do you take part in local politics?
I wanted to at the beginning, but my experience tells me, that it is not worth engaging in any politics. In the 80s I did support Solidarity from the very beginning. I was in Solidarity founder’s union in meat factory. I could not understand why some of the really good people on managers posts that were not united in communistic party did not want to join Solidarity. It was a real disappointment to me. I had two great bosses, not those that had been imprisoned. One was responsible for production for the region of 21 factories. He was selling manager. An interesting job and I was interested by it at one moment. One could work on his own – bringing goods from whole Poland to Silesia and sell anything that left. Everything that was in state stock, one could do anything with it. It was quite interesting. And those people helped us to found this union not entering it. I could not understand it. Did they care about their posts? I kept telling myself that Solidarity was it. I made a caption “Solidarity” on the pane of glass. Later, during emergency state I was told to remove it. I the one who did it. I was thinking why did not they want to join the union. I could not understand it.
Now I see it: they had experienced a lot in their lives and they knew that it was not it. I also do not belong to any organisation and I will not. I prefer to be myself. It is no important to me who represents what option, what is important is who is somebody and for example how he or she rules Bystrzyca. This is the most important, because one is not satisfied with everything. I do not take part in local life, because even if one wants to do his or her best, it is not always welcomed by the others, so I think that taking care of own business is the best solution in my case.
Section 14
Did you belong to any other organisation except of Solidarity? I do not mean communistic party, since I know, you did not belong to it.
During studies everyone had to belong to SZSP (Socialist Union of Polish Students). If it were not for this “s” (socialist), everyone would join it with pleasure. I was taught patriotism at home. Since my father was an AK soldier, he was taught not to trust in anything what is told in TV. We knew, that we had to be particularly alarmed if anything about communistic party have been mentioned. My father was not able to tell me much about it, because he had been imprisoned in Vilnius.

And what did he say?
I liked to listen to father’s story much, I would ask him to tell me something. He told me how he was arrested. Soon after the war he was arrested by NKWD and they used to do such hearings that one was undressed in the middle of the winter and taken to Trockie Lake. They were kept tight there as long as they fainted. And then they were listened to, to get who took part in AK. He spent some months in Vilnius and they could get anything new from him, he was sent to prison camp in Akstakhan. So he visited Akstrakhan, the Caspian Sea.

Did you lean all about your father’s past from him?
Unfortunately not. I tried, but parents: “I am busy, perhaps some other day”. One is sorry for it. The same is when my sons want me to tell them something from my childhood. But, what am I supposed to tell? If there is a particular topic mentioned I can relate it to something and tell few words. I know that they want it and they carefully listen to it. If there is only a chance I start: “In my days...”. I can see myself from my childhood, I also liked it. Such story was always a noble one.

What is the most important in your life?
Family, work and nature – without additional complications. You have asked about a membership of various organisations, so I worked with local society. But since I considered it to be a waste of time, I quit. All those meetings used to be a small talk. I would prefer to take some particular cases into consideration. I know that it is hard to force people to do it. I know that many of them, councillors I mean, come only to get their wages. It should not be like that. Perhaps, in future I will come back to it, provided that I am sure that I can do something. But not at the moment. There is this infirmity in all those organisations that they cannot work properly. The people that got there are probably not right. I regret it. We often talk with our friends that if we got to a city council, things would have been different, one could expect more. And the people who got there think only about their career. There is a need of some more years for people to understand that such councillors should not be chosen. They are not prepared to anything. Anybody can decide about really important matters. I wish the people in the council were different, because there is a number of the right ones from the area, but they are not interested in making a career. I think that they have the same reasons as mine.
Section 15
It is a pity, since areas round Bystrzyca need a great deal of expenditures...
One have to manage it properly. If somebody decided to work on the post, he or she should feel responsible for it, should really take care. I am still developing here. My activity absorbs me a lot, I spend much time on it. Perhaps in few years, when I get certain stability. But I often change jobs, because commercial and political situation keeps changing. I try to adopt to it, otherwise I would have been lost.

You would have had lots of free time then. By the way, how do you spend it?
I do not have much of it. I try to read something professional, at the moment something about building. I am particularly interested in biographies. A book is a good cure against insomnia. I start reading after my work and I fall asleep with a book or a paper in my hand. It goes much better in the morning. I get up early and I read.

And what with TV, do you have time for it?
There is time for it, I am disappointed with it, total chaos. At the moment one can only watch one film a week – Ally McBeal. It is good entertainment for me. The children spend time at a computer, but they are not allowed to play games. They try it sometimes, but in this particular case I am a real terrorist. Wife tries to defend them, telling that they have their free time. And I answer that they can read some history.

Is there anything else that you would like to add to add to finish our conversation?
I wish the local authorities would not disturb anyone, especially people like me. They do not know that we do the right things for the region. I might offend some, but are they so primitive people that when somebody wants to do something not only for themselves, they obstruct it. It does not seem to be a normal situation. It would be a help to the whole community, because if I convince some people to come and they would settle down, the community will gain new taxes. They will build their houses, and they will bring money to local shops buying things that they would need for their buildings. And now the ground remains untilled, here in the mountains one basically does not pay any taxes.
At the moment I have some problems with the Central Court of Administration as I am running an activity which is not in line with the buildings’ original purpose. These are farming buildings, so I cannot run a sawmill here. Last year, I was summoned to minor offences court because of that. I presented a heap of letters certifying that since 1995 I have been trying to change the legal status of these buildings. However, the Bystrzyca officials do not know how to go about it. Before the war, there was one sawmill in Nowa Bystrzyca, one in Wójtowice, one in Bystrzyca, obviously, and two in Mloty. At the moment, there is just one sawmill in Bystrzyca and that is all. There was a mill in every village, each farm did some additional hand work. Here, two farms away, there was a ski manufacture, further on, they were making some sort of boxes. I once read the history of this area from 1989 you have to know where you live. It was a PhD thesis written by a German, translated into Polish. Nowadays, my fields get overgrown with trees, in a few more years, there will be a forest.
Section 16
Perhaps then you could start collecting forest fruits...
Who knows. When I first came here, there were potatoes growing in front of my house, now it is a deep forest.

Thank you for the conversation, and I wish your plans come true one day, despite the local authorities.