DiscoverStories From The Eastern West
Stories From The Eastern West

Stories From The Eastern West

Author: Culture.pl

Subscribed: 199Played: 2,729
Share

Description

Little-known histories from Central & Eastern Europe that changed our world...

Heard of how The Rolling Stones played for the Communist Party? The bear who fought in WWII? Or the man who single-handedly created an entire language?

Each episode of our narrative podcast tells incredible stories that all have one thing in common: the Eastern West.

#SFTEW
51 Episodes
Reverse
PURE

PURE

2020-07-1631:25

Chernobyl had cast a shadow over our childhoods. It was reportedly the cause of all the chronic diseases we’d struggled with. In the summer of 2018, we went there.  We wanted to walk into the belly of the beast, to debunk any nonsense around it. To hear about the doom, catastrophes, and everyday struggles.  But what we came back with was something else entirely – a beautiful and uplifting tale about love. Love for home, love for nature, love for people. Something stronger than the biggest nuclear accident in the history of humankind.  With uncertain times ahead of us all… it has given us the hope that we can overcome a whole lot, if only we care. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! If you happen to be a Russian speaker, you can listen to the original (Russian) version of this episode. Time stamps [00:00] Why we went to Chernobyl [05:50] We find Evgeny, a former teacher [07:57] ‘In 1986, nobody expected it...‘ [09:11] People weren’t informed about the disaster [10:11] The evacuation of Chernobyl [11:55] Evgeny returns to Chernobyl for the first time [14:19] Evacuation centre dilemmas [16:45] Chernobyl clean up [20:45] Evgeny returns for good (and bad) [24:40] Did other people try to come back? [25:49] Living in Chernobyl in 2018 More about Chernobyl 4 rooms // a sound art project showing you what the empty spaces of Chernobyl sound like Drone fly-by // see Chernobyl’s abandoned places for yourself from a bird’s-eye perspective Haunting Images // a photo gallery with photos taken by Lasse Damgaard The Babushkas of Chernobyl // a documentary movie about a group of older ladies living in a distant corner of the exclusion zone Credits Written & produced by Żenia Klimakin & Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Nick White & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner, Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Guitars by Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer Special thanks: State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, Ygor Egorov, Serhyi Dmytriyev, Julia Kononenko
Announcing Season III

Announcing Season III

2020-07-0801:15

This year, we've travelled to the far reaches of the globe for you: we went deep down into the Chernobyl Exclusion zone, visited New Zealand, and went back in time and space to deliver yet another set of stories that changed our world. Stay tuned: the first episode drops July 16th! Like our show? Get our newsletter!
PUPPETS

PUPPETS

2021-03-0124:20

In 1938, Hitler's forces marched into Czechoslovakia, a country that had only gained its independence two decades earlier. A puppeteer named Josef Skupa was ready to fight back with the help of Spejbl and Hurvínek – a father son duo of wooden puppets. Because the Nazi German occupiers didn't seem to take puppets very seriously, Skupa's theatre in Pilsen was able to put on satirical performances that directly referred to the occupation and gave ordinary Czechs hope that one day things would be better. Eventually Skupa's luck would run out – the Gestapo even arrested his puppet duo. But all three were destined to become household names in the Czech Republic, a country that takes its puppets seriously... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps 00:48] Imagine if Kermit the frog took on the Third Reich [02:12] Josef Skupa and Kašpárek farewell the Austrio-Hungarian Empire [04:36] A modern kind of puppet theatre [07:25] Spejbl and Hurvínek battle Nazi insects [08:30] Munich Conference and Carousel over Three Floors [11:44] Voničky and Long Live the Future [14:50] Death threats and a final anti-fascist play [16:28] Arrest of Skupa and his puppets [17:58] Escape from prison, Spejbl and Hurvínek rescued from the trash [20:51] Legacy of Josef Skupa and his puppets [21:43] Puppet-making workshop with Mirek and Leah [23:21] Credits Further reading Josef Skupa // on World Encyclopedia of Puppet Arts Jan Malik // on World Encyclopedia of Puppet Arts Sjebl and Hurvinek // on Wikipedia Quay Brothers' Puppetry Prescription in New York // on Culture.pl Puppets, Birds & Wycinanki // on Culture.pl The Bug Trainer – The Story of Władysław Starewicz // on Culture.pl Further watching Spejbl goes Mushroom Hunting // short episode from the 1974 bedtime series Return of Spejbl and Hurvinek, voiced by Josef Skupa's protege Miloś Kirchner. On Ceskatelevize.cz (Czech only) Further visiting Spejbl and Hurvinek Theatre // Puppet theatre in Prague opened by Josef Skupa in 1945 as a continuation of his theatre in Pilsen. They hold regular shows for kids and families. Plzeň Puppet Museum // Puppet museum located in the historic centre of Plzeň (Pilsen), the town where Josef Skupa opened his first theatre and the birthplace of Spejbl and Hurvínek. Puppets in Prague // Puppet-making workshop in Prague run by Mirek Trejtner and Leah Gaffen. Temporarily being run online. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks We’d like to thank Denisa Kirchnerova from the Spejbl and Hurvinek theatre in Prague, Tomáš Pfejfer, curator at the Puppet Museum in Pilsen, and Nina Malikowa for sharing their knowledge about Josef Skupa and his performances during WWII. Thanks also to Leah Gaffen and Mirek Trejtner from Puppets in Prague for talking to us and inviting Piotr to their skeleton-making workshop.  Lastly, a special thanks to Jitka Rohanova from the Polish Institute in Prague for her help in making the episode.
WITNESS

WITNESS

2021-01-2725:05

Back in 2019, we got the chance to interview Anastasija Gulej. She was 95 at the time, living a happy life in one of Kyiv's suburbs. If you didn’t know her, you’d never tell be able to tell that she wakes up every day with the horrors of her past. Her past as an Auschwitz-Birkenau inmate.  Anastasija was already 18 years old when she was taken there, which makes her memories especially valuable. She remembers things perfectly clearly, she understood what was going around her, she knew what it was.  We strongly believe that keeping the memories of such events in mind is our duty, even more so now, when most of the people who could remember it are gone. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:29] Beginning of the war [05:22] The first time Anastasija was afraid [07:31] Auschwitz-Birkenau [15:56] The Death March [20:17] Liberation. Bergen-Belsen Camp [22:25] Post scriptum [24:19] Credits Further reading There Was Love in the Ghetto: A Conversation with Paula Sawicka // on Culture.pl The Holocaust in Polish Literature: 7 Key Books // on Culture.pl You Never Know How Fate Will Play Out: An Interview With Józef Hen // on Culture.pl Further watching Zofia Posmysz: Memory That Will Save Us // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Conservation of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Barracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Preserving Memory: The Art of Auschwitz-Birkenau // on Culture.pl Credits Written and produced by Wojciech Oleksiak & Żenia Klimakin Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
WITCHES

WITCHES

2020-12-3124:15

‘Romania today is possibly the only European country where you can bump into a witch at the supermarket.’ The history of witches in Europe is a tumultuous and violent one. Always on the margins of society and in opposition to any form of hierarchy, their presence sparked fear and prejudice which led to prosecutions and witch hunts. But unbeknownst to many, their traditions have outlasted all of this. In Romania, the 21st century has turned out to be a surprisingly good time for witches. As a child, Clara learned that they could make anything happen. As a grown up, she had a few questions about it all and decided to knock on a witch’s door. But interviewing a witch turned out not to be so simple... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:08] The spell [02:09] Ball lightning [07:14] Clara & her grandmother try to interview a witch [12:51] Clara & Monika team up [13:51] The most powerful witch in southeastern Europe [15:21] What a witch can do [16:30] Back to square one [23:00] Credits Further reading Romania's Modern Witches // on CNN Style Lucia Sekerková: A Peculiar Look at 21st-Century Witchcraft // photography on The Calvert Journal Beneath the Surface: The Occult Inspirations of Poland's Legendary Naive Artist Coal Miners // on Culture.pl 9 Supernatural Beings & Places of Polish Folklore // on Culture.pl Slavic Daemons: Fearsome & Formidable Females // on Culture.pl Séances, Dragons & Chakras: Kraków's Magical Past // on Culture.pl Further watching Witchcraft in Romania // video on VICE Asia Youtube channel Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba & Clara Kleininger Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks A huge thanks to Mrs. Ardelanca and her daughter for foreseeing only good events.
LUNAR

LUNAR

2020-11-3035:25

In the summer of 1976, the late Polish film director Andrzej Żuławski, responsible for infamous cult classics such as The Devil (1972) and Possession (1981), was given a green light to shoot the most expensive film ever made in Poland. On the Silver Globe was meant to be a massively ambitious science-fiction epic set on the Moon, showing the birth of a new civilisation, and produced without the benefit of modern special effects. But things didn't quite go to plan. The huge ambitions of a temperamental and demanding director combined with the financial and technological realities of 1970s Poland meant that the production faced an uphill battle from the first day of shooting. But with over 70% of the film already shot, and the end almost in sight, On the Silver Globe unexpectedly fell victim to the whims of a Communist Party hardliner and was relegated to cinematic history. How do you make a space opera without Hollywood special effects in a state-run economy? What were the crew doing in Mongolia? Who was Janusz Wilhelmi and why did he shut down the production? And does the story ultimately have a happy ending? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:24] Intro [02:56] Flying to the Moon [05:10] Economic strife & a controversial director [07:20] Making a space opera without special effects [10:09] The Gobi Desert as the Moon [12:10] Production delays & cost overruns [16:15] Script changes & Hamlet monologues [18:37] A burning Shern [22:03] Wilhelmi arrives on the scene [25:55] ‘It’s over, lads.’ [29:38] Is this how the story ends? [33:54] Credits Further reading On the Silver Globe // film description on Culture.pl Andrzej Żulawski // bio on Culture.pl The Origins of Polish Sci-Fi & The Legacy of Jerzy Żuławski // feature article on Culture.pl about the origins of The Lunar Trilogy books and their far-reaching influence Jerzy Żuławski // bio on Culture.pl On the Silver Globe // on RogerEbert.com Further watching On The Silver Globe // fragment of the film after digital restoration, on Kadr Film Studio’s Youtube channel. Further visiting CETA Audiovisual Technology Centre// If you happen to be in the beautiful South-West city of Wrocław, you can visit the building that used to house the Wrocław film studio, which served as a base for the film, as well as such classics as The Saragossa Manuscript by Wojciech Jerzy Has. These days it houses a state-of the art special effects studio, but remains the home of the surviving costumes and props from On the Silver Globe. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks We'd like to thank Andrzej Jaroszewicz, Andrzej Seweryn, Stefan Kurzyp, and Jerzy Śnieżawski for talking to us. Many thanks also to Daniel Bird for guiding us through the strange world that is On the Silver Globe. And lastly, a special thanks to Maria Duffek, costume designer at the CETA audiovisual technology centre in Wrocław for her help and extensive knowledge.
ORPHANS

ORPHANS

2020-10-3133:50

After the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east in 1939, many thousands of Polish families were deported to Siberian forced labour camps. There they not only faced bitter cold but constant hunger. Then Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and the families that were now allowed to leave tried to get as far south as possible. In many cases, only their children made it all the way to safety in Iran. Some Polish orphans were resettled in places like South Africa and Mexico, but a group of 700 would end up travelling on a US Navy ship to the small island nation of New Zealand, on the other side of the world. How did the children survive their perilous journey from Siberia to Iran, and end up in a place called Pahiatua in the New Zealand countryside? How did they adjust to a new life surrounded by sheep and cattle, and what happened when the camp they had begun to call home was finally shut down for good? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [02:10] Deportation from Eastern Poland to Siberia [06:15] Everyday life in the Labour Camps [09:30] The USSR joins the allies, amnesty, and getting out of Russia [12:08] The Polish Army gathers orphans from the countryside [14:30] Arrival in Pahlavi and Isfahan [16:25] Iran becomes dangerous and the children need to be resettled [17:05] Leaving for New Zealand on a US Navy Transporter [18:45] Arrival in Wellington and the camp in Pahiatua [21:21] Life in the countryside [23:49] The NZ government takes over caring for the children [25:18] Settling down, finding careers and getting married [28:03] Living the two cultures side by side [28:50] The arrival of Stefania's parents [30:30] Finding your place in the world Further reading / watching Polish Children of Pahiatua // on the Wellington City Council website Dzieci z Pahiatua // on ArchiwumEmigranta.pl (Polish) The Story of 700 Polish Children // Documentary (1966) on NZOnScreen.com The arrival of the Polish Children in Wellington // Newsreel (1944) on NZOnScreen.com Credits Written, produced & presented by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Thanks This episode was produced with help from the Embassy of Poland in Wellington. We'd like to extend many thanks to Ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski and Anna Gołębicka-Buchanan for helping us get in touch with the protagonists of our episode. We'd also like to say thank you to Stanisław Manterys, Malwina Zofia Rubisz Schwieters and Jozef and Stefania Zawada for telling us their story, and to Karolina Palej for her assistance.
NAM

NAM

2020-09-3028:21

As much as The People’s Republic of Poland may seem a distant country hidden behind the Iron Curtain, it was an open and welcoming one... towards other socialist states. Student exchange programmes were one of the many ways of building international socialist partnerships. The Vietnam War was just ending when Hai ‘Nam’ Bui Ngoc had reached university. He was one of the few lucky ones given a chance to travel to the other side of the world to study ship building. After a few weeks spent travelling by train from Hanoi to Warsaw, he saw everything other than what he had imagined. But this was only the beginning of his incredible journey... Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:08] What does Nam mean? [02:09] The end of the world: growing up during the Vietnam War [07:14] Moving to Poland to study shipbuilding [12:51] Vietnamese secret agents appear [13:51] Becoming a guru [15:21] Love [16:30] Escape [20:44] 'What saved me was a hand' [23:22] Asylum in France [24:13] Problems in heaven & a difficult return to Poland ​​​​​​​[25:36] Where home is Further reading & watching Nam’s martial arts school // official website June 1976 and the Workers’ Defence Committee // an article on the Workers Defence Committee on Poland.pl Polska PRL 1974 r // Polish news chronicle from 1974 on Youtube Polska 1975, Polska Kronika Filmowa // Polish news chronicle from 1975 on Youtube ( Life In Gdansk ) (1971) // British Pathé footage of Gdańsk in 1971 on Youtube Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Wojciech Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak
SHIPYARD

SHIPYARD

2020-08-3129:01

In August 1980, after the firing of popular shipyard worker, Anna Walentynowicz, a strike broke out at the Vladimir Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk. Suddenly this massive complex on the Polish coast, with 16,000 employees and of huge strategic importance for the Polish economy, was under worker occupation, and every day other workplaces in Gdańsk and around the country started joining in. Very soon the communist leadership in Warsaw realised that this wasn't just another strike they could snuff out with promised pay rises, or indeed by force. As for the shipyard workers, they realised that this was a chance to force the government to accept something they had long been fighting for… trade unions that were independent from the state, and run by the workers themselves… So who exactly was Anna Walentynowicz and how did her firing provoke a strike that took hold of the country? Why did Henryka Krzywonos stop her tram on a busy intersection in Gdańsk? How did a shipyard become a focal point for the battle for freedom and democracy? Did the strikers ultimately get what they were fighting for? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter!  Time stamps [01:02] 1980s Poland: a country on the verge of a revolution [05:09] The strike starts at the shipyard... [07:19] ...and spreads to other workplaces in Gdańsk [12:10] How it looked from the other side of the fence [13:39] The strike becomes a country-wide protest [17:05] The protesters meet with the government delegation [22:00] The Gdańsk Agreement is signed [23:45] 'Solidarity' is founded by members of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee [27:40] Credits Further reading Poland's Walk To Freedom in 13 Iconic Photos // photo reportage on Culture.pl When the Stars Came Out for Solidarność // article on Culture.pl The European Solidarity Centre // the building's launch, on Culture.pl The Gdansk Agreement // on Wikipedia.org Further watching Who is Anna Walentynowicz? // an hour-long documentary about Anna Walentynowicz and the 1980 strikes (Polish/German with English subtitles) Robotnicy 1980 // a documentary about the strikes and negotiations at the Gdańsk shipyard (Polish only) Further visiting Stocznia jest kobietą - Shipyard is (a) female // a mobile app and audio tour that lets you discover the history of the Gdańsk shipyards through the eyes of the women who worked there. Android phone users can find it here. European Solidarity Centre // a museum in Gdańsk dedicated to the shipyard and the history of the Solidarity movement. Anna Walentynowicz Exhibition // a special exhibit on the grounds of the shipyard dedicated to the work and activism of Anna Walentynowicz. Presented in the shed she used to work in. The Institute of Urban Culture in Gdansk // free walking tours of the shipyard and other historic areas in Gdańsk. Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Wojtek Oleksiak & Adam Zulawski Hosted by Nitzan Reisner, Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Many thanks to Joanna Duda-Gwiazda and Andrzej Gwiazda, Henryka Krzywonos, Aleksander Maślankiewicz, Halina Lewna and everybody else we spoke to along the way during the making of this episode. And a special thanks to Anna Miller from the Arteria Association and Metropolitanka Group in Gdańsk, for her knowledge and assistance. Also be sure to check out our special mini-series on the democratic revolutions of 1989: The Final Curtain. You can also find it in our feed.
EWA & LENA

EWA & LENA

2019-11-0114:06

How a teen's letter to a stranger in the Soviet Union led to a long-distance friendship that has lasted decades. Like many teens growing up in the People’s Republic of Poland, Ewa decided to send a letter to a stranger in the Soviet Union. Lena from Moscow wrote back to her, and they quickly found they had a lot in common, including a love of both dogs and Vysotsky records. They continued writing as they entered new phases in their lives. They began careers, started families, and of course there were the revolutions that changed everything around them from communist to capitalist. And they're still writing today... forty years later. How did Ewa find her penpal? Did the 1989 revolutions affect their friendship? And why have they never met? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Click here to listen to the Polish version of this episode! Time stamps [01:35] How Ewa found Lena [03:48] Instant friends [06:38] Exchanging gifts by post [08:49] The fall of communism [11:58] Still writing, but will they ever meet? Further reading / watching Poland's Walk to Freedom in 13 Iconic Photos // on Culture.pl Solidarność: Poland, Word by Word // on Culture.pl Posters of Solidarity from 1980 to 1989 // on Culture.pl A Pen Pal's Tales of Life in the Former Soviet Union // on FEE.org Postcrossing.com // a community that exchanges postcards with random people around the world Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
KAIE

KAIE

2019-10-2518:55

How a giant communal song festival helped Estonians regain independence from the USSR. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain. In the Estonia Kaie Tanner grew up in, learning Russian at school was compulsory, and her mother and her friends often sang 'forbidden songs' at home – Estonian folk songs that the Soviet authorities disapproved of. Music was a huge part of her life, but she didn't expect that it could help her country win independence. But in 1987, when Kaie Tanner attended the massive Estonian Singing festival as a teenager, something unexpected happened. After the officially sanctioned event had finished, the hundreds of thousands of Estonians stayed and kept singing their own Estonian folk songs all through the night – and the Soviet authorities were powerless to stop them.  What was the Singing Revolution? How did it lead to the independence of Estonia and the other Baltic states? Was it possible for Estonia's Russian- and Estonian-speaking citizens to finally move on from past resentments? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [02:07] A childhood in Soviet-dominated Estonia [06:27] How Estonians tried to sing their country into independence  [10:01] Was the USSR military intervention successful? [12:38] Independence! Kaie becomes a music teacher [14:53] A country comprised of two peoples [18:24] Credits Further reading / watching The Singing Revolution // on Wikipedia.org The Sound of Freedom // on Local-life.com The Baltic Way // on Wikipedia.org Thanks This episode was produced with help from the Embassy of Poland in Tallinn. We'd like to extend many thanks to Ambassador Grzegorz Kozłowski, who kindly greenlighted our co-operation, and to Sławomira Borowska-Peterson, who helped us understand Estonian history, society and reality much better. Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
PETRILA

PETRILA

2019-10-1821:13

How a Romanian mining town that lost its mine fought to turn its remains into a cultural hub.  In our second and final episode on Ion Barbu and the town of Petrila, we learn how the mine, the town's main employer, was unable to achieve profitability in the new era of capitalism and was closed down for good. Ion had spent 15 years of his life at the mine, and for him and many others it was more than just a place of work. So when the mine's crumbling buildings were in line for demolition, Ion decided to try and save them by using art to revitalise the town. What happened to the town once the mine closed? Did Ion manage to save the buildings of the former mine? What happened next? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:23] Why the mine was closed? [03:07] Meeting another miner: Cenusa Catalin [09:55] Ion gives us a tour around a gallery in Deva [11:30] What does the process of closing a mine look like? [16:26] Ion gives us a tour around the Plumber's Museum [19:05] The many more museums that Ion wants to open [20:38] Credits Further reading / watching Ion Barbu // on BeyondCoal.eu Photo gallery from our trip to Petrila // on Culture.pl Beneath the Surface: The Occult Inspirations of Poland’s Legendary Naive Artist Coal Miners // on Culture.pl Author Małgorzata Rejmer on Romania & Albania // interview on Culture.pl Planet Petrila: Documentary Feature Trailer // on Youtube Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Clara Kleininger was our associate producer for this story Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
ION

ION

2019-10-1119:21

How a Romanian miner made political caricatures at a time when making fun of the country's leadership could mean a visit from the secret police.  After finishing university in 1978, Ion Barbu was assigned to the Petrila mine as a topographer. He only intended to be there briefly, but despite attempting other jobs such as local reporter and museum curator, he ended up staying at the mine for the next 15 years... How did Ion balance being both a miner and a political caricaturist? What happened when the secret police arrested him for mocking the Romanian president? How does he recall the sudden and violent fall of the Ceaușescu regime? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [02:04] How Ion became a miner... [05:04] ... and a caricaturist [09:50] The Securitate, the dreaded secret police of communist Romania [12:34] How did the political changes look from inside the Petrila mine?  [16:47] Ion explains why 'We should say goodbye to the past laughing'  [18:42] Credits Further reading & watching 'Islands of culture' shape the future of the Jiu Valley, Romania // on Just-Transition.info Beneath the Surface: The Occult Inspirations of Poland’s Legendary Naive Artist Coal Miners // on Culture.pl Author Małgorzata Rejmer on Romania & Albania // interview on Culture.pl Planet Petrila: Documentary Feature Trailer // on Youtube Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Clara Kleininger was our associate producer for this story Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski The last song was performed by Fanfara Minerilor din Cavnic
IRYNA

IRYNA

2019-10-0419:44

How a single mother in Kyiv experienced the end of the USSR and survived the harsh economic realities of life in post-communist Ukraine in the early 1990s. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain. Iryna Tkachenko is a music conservatory graduate and journalist who became a single mother just a couple of years before the demise of the Soviet Union and the political and economic turbulence that followed the fall of the Iron Curtain. Her wage as a radio journalist wasn't really enough to survive, but after the complete collapse of the Ukrainian economy,  you were considered lucky to have a job at all. She bought clothes at second-hand shops and travelled to Moscow to buy things that you couldn't get in the mostly empty stores of Kyiv. She took on extra jobs and did whatever she could to survive but never lost her positive outlook on life. How did Iryna end up selling toy cars on the streets of Kyiv? How did she and her friends react to the putsch of August 1991? How did she cope with the early days of capitalism? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:10] An unusual single mom [06:00] How Iryna became a businesswoman... for one day only [07:50] The August Coup & the uncertainty it brought on [11:17] Why didn't she go to work abroad? [14:15] And what was she doing instead?  [19:10] Credits Further reading Photos of Everyday Life in Ukraine in the 1990s // on Slate.com Wearing Adibas & Fuma: Memories from Growing up in the 1990s  // on Culture.pl Anne Applebaum Recalls Poland's Food Revolution // on Culture.pl Coup of August 1991 // on Wikipedia.org Andrei Sakharov // on Wikipedia.org Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak & Żenia Klimakin Edited by Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
EDGAR & MICHAEL

EDGAR & MICHAEL

2019-09-2722:29

How East Berlin's leading political cabaret tried to get their message through despite strict state censorship... and what happened when the system they were laughing at ceased to exist.  For the citizens of the GDR, laughter was often the best medicine when dealing with the absurdities of the political system they lived under. And if you were a resident of East Berlin, there was no better place than Kabarett Distel (meaning 'thorn' in German). The content of Kabarett Distel shows was strictly censored, so performers had to find clever ways to fully communicate with their audience – who would be focussed on every word and facial expression. Even if it was likely that the Stasi secret police was watching. As the regime began to crumble, late 1980s members of the cabaret joined other East Germans on the streets to demand democratic reforms. How did the cabaret respond to the tumultuous events of 1989 and the opening of the Berlin Wall? How did Kabarett Distel adapt to the new democratic reality, where you were suddenly free to say what you like? Find out in this episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:01] Laughing at the system [06:00] Testing the boundaries of censorship [10:13] The final years of the GDR [12:43] The fall of the Berlin Wall and what it meant for Kabarett Distel [14:32] Unification, scandal & the Stasi [18:22] Staying relevant & funny in a free system [19:59] Almost time to pack our suitcases Further reading History of German Kabarett // on Wikipedia.org Polish Cabaret under the Communist Regime // on Culture.pl Kabarett Distel // official website (German only) Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
TYMON

TYMON

2019-09-2018:34

Meet the headstrong musician who's been viciously rebelling against both of the systems he lived under... and created some truly worthwhile art along the way.  Tymon Tymanski came of age in the 1980s, probably the bleakest years of the communist regime. Much like teenagers in the West, he turned to punk rock and artistic rebellion as a way of protesting the stagnation of the society he lived in. He met like-minded young people at the University of Gdańsk, played in various bands, and formed the avant-garde art group Totart, whose absurd, and often obscene, performances and happenings aimed to provoke disorder and outrage. Then, in 1989, the whole system came tumbling down. Like other artists, Tymon had to adapt to the new reality of total artistic freedom and economic uncertainty. How did Tymon and his band Miłość (Love) end up creating a whole new musical genre? What did the arrival of free-market capitalism in the 1990s mean for artists and musicians? Is it possible to remain uncompromising as an artist and still pay the bills? Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:25] Coming of age in the 1980s [04:08] The origins of Totart [06:12] Absurdity & transgression [08:43] 1989 & the end of censorship [10:48] A new band & a new music genre [13:29] Disillusionment & surviving as an artist Further reading Tymon Tymanski // biography on Culture.pl Yass: The Jazz, The Filth & The Fury // on Culture.pl 9 Politically Influential Singer-Songwriters from Europe under Communism // on Culture.pl Rock Music and the Fall of Communism // on Wikipedia.org The Walls Must Tumble: 10 Polish Songs about Freedom // on Culture.pl Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Music by Tymon Tymański, Sni Sredstvom Za Uklanianie, Tymon Tymański & The Transistors, and Totart Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
JACEK

JACEK

2019-09-1324:04

How a banned singer-songwriter became an unwilling musical hero through his home-copied cassettes.  Jacek Kleyff was an increasingly popular topical songwriter in 1970s Poland. But he was unwilling to bend to the demands of the communist state's censorship, so the authorities reacted by banning him from appearing in public, including radio and TV. But he didn't stop recording, and his songs, circulated through the underground on home-made cassettes, became anthems for the Polish democratic opposition.  What did Jacek do when he was blacklisted by the communist authorities? How did he become a cult figure within the Polish opposition? What did he do when the regime fell? Find out in the latest episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Click here to listen to the Polish version of this episode! Time stamps [01:25] Coming of age during the grim 1970s in Poland [03:56] Jacek founds the Salon of Independents and becomes an oppositionist [06:23] Salon gets banned, Jacek goes on to play solo [09:57] Jacek writes a song which... starts a revolution [15:22] Jacek gets banned for life and casts himself away... [18:15] ... but still makes some noise from the underground [20:35] The system's gone. What does it mean for Jacek? Further reading Jacek Kleyff // biography on Culture.pl 9 Politically Influential Singer-Songwriters from Europe under Communism // on Culture.pl Solidarność: Poland, Word by Word // on Culture.pl A Long Way To Freedom: Banned Photos From Poland's 1980s // on Culture.pl Rock Music and the Fall of Communism // on Wikipedia.org The Walls Must Tumble: 10 Polish Songs about Freedom // on Culture.pl Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Special thanks to Lauren Dubowski for her brilliant translation of 'Sejm'
SIEGBERT

SIEGBERT

2019-09-0624:21

How an East German cameraman filmed the first major demonstrations in the GDR from the top of a church steeple in Leipzig. A month later, East Germany would effectively cease to exist. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain. Siegbert Schefke was officially unemployed after being fired from his job as a building engineer. Unofficially, he began to arrange for diplomats to smuggle videotapes from East Germany to be broadcast on West German TV stations. As it happens, most East Germans could also pick up Western TV on their receivers. Siegbert didn't really know how to use a video camera, but that didn't really matter, what mattered was that the world could see what was really going on behind the Wall. How did Siegbert and his friend Aram Radomski end up filming the first major protest in the GDR on 9th October 1989?  How did they outfox the Stasi and get the footage to the West? Find out in the newest episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Time stamps [01:08] Born in the GDR [03:50] From part-time revolutionary to full-time revolutionary [06:22] Smuggling videotapes to the West [08:40] Foreign diplomats & secret codes [11:11] The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig [14:27] Making history [18:22] The day the Berlin Wall fell [21:12] What next? Further reading Siegbert Schefke // short biography on Revolution89.de The Monday Demonstrations in East Germany // on Wikipedia A Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig // on Spiegel.de 'I was very angry for 30 years' // interview on AlJazeera.com Sex, Karate & Videotapes: The VHS Craze of the 1989 Transformation // on Culture.pl Credits Written & produced by Piotr Wołodźko Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
WOJCIECH

WOJCIECH

2019-08-2923:44

How Polish opposition activists began transmitting their own pirate radio and 'hacked' communist-run state TV. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain. Wojciech Stawiszyński was an opposition activist, who suddenly found himself in charge of running Radio Solidarność, a mobile radio station that would be the voice of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement. Their success depended on a sophisticated game of cat and mouse with the authorities, with each broadcast taking place at a new location. In the darkest period of martial law, they had to resort to incredibly complicated ways of operating, funding, broadcasting and even communicating with each other. Did they make it through? Did they manage to outmaneuver the communist secret services? What happened when communism was gone? Find out in the latest episode of The Final Curtain. Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter! Click here to listen to the Polish version of this episode! Time stamps [01:08] How Wojciech found himself in charge of the outlawed Radio Solidarność [03:50] How do you reach listeners when the secret police is on your back? [05:55] Radio Solidarność programme content [09:05] Outsmarting the communist regime with technology [14:35] Hardships and low points [16:42] How to live a dangerous dual life [20:36] Adjusting to capitalism after 1989 Further reading Radio Solidarity, On The Air, Defies Polish Regime // on NYT.com Poland's Walk to Freedom in 13 Iconic Photos // on Culture.pl Solidarność: Poland, Word by Word // on Culture.pl Posters of Solidarity from 1980 to 1989 // on Culture.pl Credits Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Music by Blue Note Sessions Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski
CHRIS

CHRIS

2019-08-2319:47

How a photographer from London gave the rest of the world a glimpse of everyday life behind the Iron Curtain. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain. The Polish-British photographer Chris Niedenthal found himself in the heart of Communist Poland in the 1970s and 80s, documenting both how ordinary people lived, as well as the major political events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet-backed regime. His photographs ended up in major Western periodicals, such as Newsweek, Time, Der Spiegel and Forbes. Through his camera, he created a window into the Polish People's Republic for the rest of the world to peer through.  His iconic photograph of an armoured vehicle in front of a poster for the film ‘Apocalypse Now’, taken after martial law was declared in Poland, remains one of the defining images of the period – but how did he end up taking it, and what happened next?  Like our show? Sign up for our newsletter. Time stamps [01:07] How he came to Poland [04:15] The election of John Paul II and how it changed Chris’ life [05:30] Martial law and Chris’ most iconic photo [10:04] Other revolutions Chris witnessed and photographed [12:59] How he happened to be the first photographer to shoot the fall of the Berlin Wall [16:00] What did Chris do after communism had ended? Further reading Chris Niedenthal // biography on Culture.pl The Communist Regime in Poland in 10 Astonishing Pictures // on Culture.pl Solidarność: Poland, Word by Word // on Culture.pl Capturing a Country's History in One Single Picture // on Culture.pl ChrisNiedenthal.com // Chris's official website Credits Written & produced by Monika Proba Edited by Adam Zulawski & Wojciech Oleksiak Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski Music by Blue Dot Sessions & SIR HARDLY NOBODY (Chris Niedenthal's band) 
loading
Comments (2)

daisy

interesting podcast in light of current east west relationships

Nov 15th
Reply

snvhd

that is right

Oct 29th
Reply
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store