Janek Wiśniewski

Janek Wiśniewski

Janek Wiśniewski [IPA-pl|'|j|a|n|e|k|-|w|i|ś|'|ń|e|w|s|k|i] is a fictional name given to a real person in the poem "Ballad of Janek Wiśniewski".

The legend and the real person

The name was invented by the author Krzysztof Dowgiałło to symbolize an 18-year worker killed in the Polish city of Gdynia by the military or police on December 17, 1970, during the Polish 1970 protests. The image of an anonymous young man's body carried on doors through the cordons of police and tanks inspired Dowgiałło to write the poem. Not knowing his name at the time, the author decided to give him a name that is typically Polish. Later it was discovered the man was actually named Zbigniew Godlewski and lived in nearby Elbląg. In 1970 he was shot dead along with some 40 other people.

The legend was popularized in the late 1970s by a song by Mieczysław Cholewa, "Pieśń o Janku z Gdyni", and by Jacek Kaczmarski in his "Ballada o Janku Wiśniewskim" (the song which was performed by Krystyna Janda during the closing credits in the Andrzej Wajda's 1981 movie "Man of Iron"). After the fall of communism in Poland, a street was named after Zbigniew Godlewski and another after Janek Wiśniewski.

"Ballada o Janku Wiśniewskim"

Original lyrics

Chłopcy z Grabówka, chłopcy z Chyloni
Dzisiaj milicja użyła broni
Dzielnieśmy stali, celnie rzucali
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Na drzwiach ponieśli go Świętojańską
Naprzeciw glinom, naprzeciw tankom
Chłopcy, stoczniowcy, pomścijcie druha
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Huczą petardy, ścielą się gazy
Na robotników sypią się razy
Padają starcy, dzieci, kobiety
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Jeden raniony, drugi zabity
Krew się polała grudniowym świtem
To Partia strzela do robotników
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Krwawy Kociołek to kat Trójmiasta
Przez niego giną dzieci, niewiasty
Poczekaj draniu, my cię dostaniem
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Stoczniowcy Gdyni, stoczniowcy Gdańska
Idźcie do domu, skończona walka
Świat się dowiedział, nic nie powiedział
Janek Wiśniewski padł

Nie płaczcie matki, to nie na darmo
Nad stocznią sztandar z czarną kokardą
Za chleb i wolność, i nową Polskę
Janek Wiśniewski padł

English translation

Boys from Grabówek, boys from Chylonia
Today the militsiya opened fire
Bravely we stood, accurately we threw
Janek Wiśniewski fell

On a door we carried him along Świętojańska
Against the cops, against the tanks
Boys, shipyard workers, avange your comrade
Janek Wiśniewski fell

The bangers sound, the gas spreads
Blows fall on the workers
Elderly, children, women are falling
Janek Wiśniewski fell

One is wounded, another killed
Blood was spilled at dawn in December
It's the Party shooting at the workers
Janek Wiśniewski fell

Bloody Kociołek is the Tricity's executioner
Because of him the children, ladies are dying
Wait bastard, we're gonna get ya
Janek Wiśniewski fell

Shipyard workers of Gdynia, workers of Gdańsk
Go home, the battle is over
The world heard about this, and said nothing
Janek Wiśniewski fell

Don't cry mothers, it wasn't for naught
There's black banner above the shipyard
For bread and freedom, and a new Poland
Janek Wiśniewski fell

External links

* [http://library.thinkquest.org/C004169/wisniewski.html The famous photo of Godlewski's body carried on the door]
* [http://righeira.wrzuta.pl/aud/file/eHcBc8ge5M/krystyna_janda_-_ballada_o_janku_wisniewskim.mp3 "Ballada o Janku Wiśniewskim" as sung by Krystyna Janda for "Man of Iron"]

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