Adam Gryniewicz

Interlocutor name:
Interlocutor surname:
Interlocutor alias:
Abram Gryniewice
Joanna Król
Przemysław Jaczewski
Catalogue number:
Recording date:
28th November 2014
Recording location:
Recording duration:
Recording language:
Recording copyright:
Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN
March’68 Participants and Witnesses

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Interlocutor biogram

Adam Gryniewicz (real name and surname: Abram Gryniewice) was born in 1941 in Perm, a town in the Ural Mountains, Soviet Union. In 1939, Gryniewicz’s parents decide to escape to the USSR, where they stay until 1946. Prior to World War II, both of them are involved in the Communist League of Polish Youth (KZMP). For her involvement with KZMP, Gryniewicz’s mother, who was eighteen at the time, served two years in a penitentiary in Sieradz. Having returned to the Soviet Union, the Gryniewiczes first live in Łódź but in 1948 move to Warsaw, where Adam’s mother finds employment with “Folks-sztyme” (The Jewish Voice), a Jewish newspaper, and his father obtains the position of a diplomatic courier at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 1954-56, Adam Gryniewicz’s parents live in China, where his father is offered the position of intendant at the embassy of the Polish People’s Republic. At that time, Adam Gryniewicz stays at the dormitory of the Foreign Service Staff Children Home.

In 1957, Adam Gryniewicz becomes involved in the cultural and organisational operations of Warsaw’s branch of the Social and Cultural Society of Jews (TSKŻ) in Poland. He is actively involved in the organisation of TSKŻ camps in Poronin. In 1967, he becomes the manager of the last camp before the camps are discontinued as a result of the events of March ‘68. He was also the manager of the Babel Club. Concurrently, Adam Gryniewicz graduates from the Department of Machinery and Vehicles at the Warsaw University of Technology, and finds employment at the Ursus Factory.

On 12 July 1969, he gets married and on 1 October he emigrates from Poland. Together with his wife, he settles in Belgium, Brussels, where he has lived ever since. The Interviewee’s sister emigrates to Israel in the autumn of 1968. His mother stays in Poland, but, disappointed with the introduction of communism in Poland, leaves the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). From 2011, Adam Gryniewicz has organised Reunion ‘68 rallies. These meetings have been convened regularly, every three years, in Sweden, Israel or the USA.

Recording circumstances description

The interview was recorded at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN.

Recording summary

  1. Details concerning the establishment of Reunion ‘68; informal nature of the initiative, 0:00:00
  2. Interviewee’s birthplace; political involvement of interviewee’s parents during the pre-War period; parents’ journey east, 0:04:00
  3. When he comes back to Poland in 1946, the interviewee changes his name and surname (from Abracham Gryniewice to Adam Gryniewicz) to make it sound more Polish, 0:06:00
  4. Professional life of the interviewee’s parents after their return to Poland; diplomatic work of interviewee’s father; parents’ two-year stay in China, 0:07:00
  5. The Interviewee’s stay at the dormitory of the Foreign Service Staff Children Home, 0:07:30
  6. The first encounter with the Social and Cultural Society of Jews (TSKŻ) in Poland; participation in TSKŻ camps in Poronin as participant, camp counsellor and manager of the last camp in 1967, 0:08:00
  7. The events of March ‘68; social involvement; social responsiveness of the interviewee and his friends – a characteristic trait of Jewish teenagers, 0:10:30
  8. Ideological and political views of the interviewee in the 1970s; distance from political activities, as maintained by the interviewee: each subsequent action in Poland, in one way or another, focused on Jews, 0:13:00
  9. The difference between Polish Jews and Poles of Jewish descent in the context of Poland and the events of March ‘68, 0:14:12
  10. The Interviewee’s thoughts on the predictability of the government’s playing the Jewish card against the opposition, 0:16:15
  11. The beliefs and ideological choices of interviewee’s parents; the transformative nature of the communist ideology; the appeal of the communist ideology for Jewish teenagers – as an idea that can bridge gaps between nations through its internationalism, 0:19:20
  12. Disappointment with communism in the Soviet Union felt by the evacuated Jews and faith in building communism in Poland; the Kielce pogrom as the first disappointment with post-War Poland, 0:21:00
  13. The life of the interviewee’s relatives from Belgium, 0:23:00
  14. Slogans used in the fight with Zionism – the perspectives of Polish communists and Jewish communists: the fight with Zionism in Poland was a mistake. It was a Jewish thing – the fight with Zionism; Jewish communists fought Zionist Jews. As regards Polish communists... for them it was nothing to fight against because it was none of their business. That’s why in 1968 this anti-Zionism slogan sounded funny to a Jewish ear. This is a Jewish-only business, 0:24:50
  15. The waves of Jewish emigration from Poland: the 1940s, late 1950s; late 1960s, 0:25:50
  16. Description of the individual waves of emigration; anti-Semitism as a tool to influence economic conditions; reasons why Jews stayed in Poland, 0:26:00
  17. Description of the emigration of March ‘68: the ultimate disillusionment with the future prospects for the Jewish community in Poland; emigration of Jewish teenagers, 0:27:00
  18. Resentment towards Poland, as felt by the Jewish emigrants of March ‘68; rotation among the Jewish community in Poland, 0:28:00
  19. The indifference of the Polish society to the emigration of Jews following March ‘68, 0:30:40
  20. Description of the generation of March Emigrants: the generation of the post-War population boom of 1946-50; a generation of students or recent graduates; a group with higher education, 0:32:20
  21. The experience of the interviewee in the organisation of “Reunion 68” rallies since 2011; lack of relatives and grandparents: Only Jews had no living grandmothers or grandfathers, 0:34:00
  22. Interviewee’s thoughts on different aspects of Jewish identity; being Jewish as a stigma; nationality as language and culture, 0:38:15
  23. Interviewee’s thoughts on the relationship between citizenship and nationality: Only in Poland being Jewish is indelible, 0:44:00
  24. The importance of the events of March ‘68 for the individuals unaware of the Jewish aspects of their own identity, 0:46:00
  25. Jewish and non-Jewish audience of the Babel Club; entertainment and cultural activities of the Club; Rakowski’s visit to the Club on 8 June 1967, 0:48:40
  26. Media reports about the Six-Day War; meeting with Rakowski at the Babel Club; the disbanding Club in March 1968, 0:51:48
  27. Ideological views of the members of the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland: support for communist ideology, “anti-emigration” propaganda, the life of Jews in Poland, 0:54:00
  28. Family situation in the first half of 1968, 0:56:20
  29. The Interviewee’s two-month stay in Belgium in the summer of 1968; a “proposal” from the Security Offfice (UB) that he provide information about the views among the Belgian Jewish community about Poland, 0:59:00
  30. Emigration of interviewee’s sister to Israel in the autumn of 1968; reasons for her choice of destination, 01:03:30
  31. Reasons why the interviewee’s mother stayed in Poland, 01:05:00
  32. The “Folks-Sztyme” newspaper – language proportions, 01:06:48
  33. The interviewee’s language skills, 01:08:20
  34. Last year in Poland – interviewee’s memories; interviewee’s wedding; description of his wife’s family, 01:09:00
  35. Making the decision about emigration during the return from Belgium, 01:10:00
  36. The dramatic nature of the emigration of young people and mixed marriages, 01:14:00
  37. The nature of education and adaptation possibilities in the destination country, 01:16:00
  38. The definitive nature of emigration from Poland and the possibility of coming back; transit visits; first visit of the interviewee to Poland in 1978; contacts between the interviewee and his mother and mother-in-law, 01:17:30
  39. The Interviewee’s thoughts on his attitude towards Poland; current reasons for coming to Poland; the interviewee’s thoughts on the transformation Poland has undergone recently, 01:06:00
  40. The Interviewee’s plans to move to Israel, 01:23:00
  41. The Interviewee’s attitude to Judaism – renewed religious practice; conversion of his second wife to Judaism, 01:26:00
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