January 19, 2022

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Because people must be saved.  A movie about a taxi driver was shot in Lublin, a silent hero

Because people must be saved. A movie about a taxi driver was shot in Lublin, a silent hero

Next Monday, on the 40th anniversary of the tragic events, when thousands of people were arrested or detained, Lublin director Grzegorz Linkowski will screen his latest fantasy documentary Taxi Driver: The Silent December Hero. This is the story of Andrzej Nowacki, who traveled for several hours around Lublin with students from the Independent Students League to warn of the arrest of Solidarity activists.

Students will help

– The first hours after the imposition of martial law was media chaos, people were panicked, confused, they didn’t know what was going on, there were police and army in the streets – says Grzegorz Linkowski. – That is why I would like to mention the story of Mr. Nowacki, who, in such tragic circumstances, decided to take part in this strange gathering around the city.

This is how Andrzej Nowacki remembers those events in the document: – It was night, dark, and a little nerve-wracking, I happened to have had the moment when they were tearing up these slabs, and banging on the door (to the “S” district council – ed.). Something like this at this time is not normal, you have to tell someone. I thought if the students didn’t do it, no one would.

Leszyk Gürgül, one of the film’s heroes and the “passenger” of the taxi, was active in the NZS UMCS in 1981: – The student strike ended, I went back to the residence on Saturday, December 12, and we had to go back to the university on December 14 for lectures – He tells in the film . Right after midnight, a friend of the year broke into my room knowing that a man is knocking on the door of the dormitory “Femina”, and he wants to meet someone from the NZS because he has very important information. He was driving a taxi around Lublin and said that while driving along Krułowska Street, he noticed that large militia forces were entering the headquarters of the MEA “Solidarity” and taking people from there. He stated that something had to be done about it, people had to be saved.

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Luminous driving

But the task was not easy. The taxi driver and the students navigate around the most important points of the city. At the headquarters of the citizens’ militia in the Mujahideen. Narutowicz lights are all lit. The major forces are concentrated on the Mujahideen. Królewska, directed to pacify the headquarters of the Regional Council “S”. The men feel a little dark, the phones are dead, they do not know all the addresses of the opposition activists, now and then a patrol or a military column passes in the street. They agreed that if the taxi driver is arrested, he will tell the police that he will take the students to the dormitory.

– First of all, I wanted to reflect the feelings of the heroes, the state of constant danger – adds Linkovsky. Let us remember the drama of the situation and the emotions of that night: no phone calls, no information, no night to get people out of their homes, no disturbing rumors of Soviet intervention.

important issue

One of those who warned in time was Andrei Sokochovsky, an opposition activist, although the error was significant in his case. The students just knocked on his apartment, even though they were about to go upstairs. He heard from the door: You are getting dressed, you must come with us. I gently opened the door and got out. Something said to me, do not go out, I went downstairs and closed the door – says Sokogovsky. The police then entered the block and the opposition activist escaped through the basement on the second staircase.

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Adam Bozic, president of NZS UMCS, already has information about the impending danger. – I decided that the stations had not yet started, and that I would somehow be able to sneak in – as he says in “Taxi Driver”. – Through the snowy fields, I came to my family’s house on the night of December 13-14, knowing that my parents would help me find a place to hide.

That same night, he already had a home for the next few months with people whom no one could suspect might be hiding someone.

– The taxi driver was giving us advice the whole time – say the heroes of the document. – He took it very seriously. With the thought that you have to save people. Then, that night, we trusted him, but he trusted us, too. It had nothing to do with, say, that he was burning gasoline. What he cared about was the matter. He was a humble man: as soon as he appeared he quickly disappeared.

He found himself only 25 years later, when Radio Lublin broadcast the message that he was looking for a silent hero in those days. And now we can get to know his story thanks to the movie.

Premiere of the document “Taxi Driver: December’s Silent Champion” on December 13 at 17.00 at ACKiM Chatka Żaka. After the film, a discussion with the participants in the events from 40 years ago and a concert entitled “Songs of Martial Law Geniuses”.