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retired forestry engineer


Bystrzyca Klodzka


July 1999


The interviewer noted that “it was a difficult interview to hold because my narrator was all the time tense”. He was suspicious of foreign organisations and fearful that “the information is later used against us”. As a result, he preferred to limit the interview to the changing natural environment. He discusses in detail the changes that have occurred in the forest and the impact of acid rain and environmental pollution. And while he does not think that tourism is necessarily a bad thing, it is “now of the consumptionist type” where “everyone would like to get everywhere in a car, no effort, no climbing, no hiking”.

Notes the complexity of forest management and how things have altered with time. In particular, he feels that “the better [the] technology, the less time they have”. And however, much “technology has developed…a horse will never be replaced in the forest. All those technological inventions are harmful to the forest environment, they damage the soil with those wheels, they are so wide, the soil will take years to recover”. He’s happiest in the mountains; he “would never move to the lowlands”. And he prefers “the so-called provincial life, yes, that’s my cup of tea, I’ll leave big cities for someone else”. However, he admits that he “still cannot get used to Bystrzyca [the town], although I’ve been living here since 1973. I miss Stronie”.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Trained as a forestry engineer and has been living in Bystrzyca Klodzka since 1960, and retired in 1981.
Section 2  Notes the changes in the forest as a result of acid rain, mainly from Czech and German industry. Up to “13,000 hectares of forest had to be cut down entirely” but “things are changing for the better”, with “a programme of fir re-introduction under way”. Pests have been a problem too.
Section 3  Notes that there are now fewer wild animals in the forest. Emphasizes the importance of having a mixed selection of trees in the lower parts of the mountains.
Section 4  Thinks that “untamed” tourism has a negative effect on the environment, but that “the qualified tourism, moving along the marked routes is not harmful at all”. But nowadays people don’t want to hike and get mountain badges etc. Says water quality is good in the higher streams, but rivers are more polluted.
Section 5  Thinks the flood was due to climate change as well as deforestation. Feels the most significant shift is that winters are no longer so long or heavy and “the sharp differences between the various seasons of the year have been blurred”.
Section 6  Approves of current policies: “to reconstruct the structure of the forest, to introduce new species, deciduous trees – it is a good direction”. However, it will take time for the results to be seen. Misses being in Stronie (where he worked for many years) and his colleagues, his ability “to be active” there - but like an old tree, he’s too old to be “replanted again”.
Section 7  Wouldn’t like to move to a large town or the “monotonous” lowlands. Recalls job satisfaction in the past, especially he got from his job as an engineer and all the innovations he devised and implemented.
Section 8  Talks about the role of Jews in world politics, democracy and Poland. Also discusses globalization and how he would like to see “a Europe of homelands, not the United States of Europe”.
Section 9  Believes globalisation also influences the environment. Interview ends abruptly, as his shift was about to begin.