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retired forester




June 1999


Not one of the most interesting interviews but the narrator is clearly passionate about forestry: “if it weren’t for the legs, I would still be working. I will not allow anyone to say a bad word against the forestry”. He believes that the “changes taking place in the forests nowadays are tremendous. Trees are tended differently, the work is different. Nowadays, the forester has little work to do. They go to the forest to receive the work done by others, they sit in the office…”. Being a forester was much more hands-on in his day. Changes have occurred in land-use and tree species too: “under the Germans, it was the spruce and the beech from time to time. Now, when we came here, you couldn’t see a single pine tree”. He emphasises the importance of maintaining a diversified forest: “I planted some six hectares of untilled farming land, I planted it with a chequer pattern – spruce, pine, larch, beech. When the forestry director came here from Wroclaw, director Fila, he said he would hang me if it didn’t work. And you know it did work. Now these trees are so big and healthy.”

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Early history: grew up in this area. “There were no factories or anything, so people worked in the forest .” He “was so attached to the job…” and “if I didn’t have this sclerosis, I would still stay in the forest”. Describes some changes.
Section 2-3  His hobby was beekeeping: “To this day, I’ve never been stung be a bee”. Talks about changes in the local environment, forest and climate. Less snow in the winters, but spring often brings more frost than before. Talks about the destruction caused by the flood: “it will take more than 10 years now to reach the condition in which the ground will be similar to what it was before the flood”.
Section 4-6  Enjoyed his job greatly, and “had good relationships with the forest workers, it was like a family”. Details of family life and health: had TB. Hobbies: hunting and beekeeping.
Section 7-8  Discusses the recent advent of tourism in the area and how “they littered the forest … [but] they didn’t cause any serious damage to the trees or anything”. Worked for five years on a farm in Kielce, Germany – “flatlands”. It was hard work and there was “no freedom”. Perhaps “if there had been a bit more freedom, maybe I would have stayed”.