09 | 12 | 2022

"Paradoks o konduktorze" [The Conductor’s Paradox]

Poznań, June 28th, 1956. Zdzisiek Wardejn, 16, ran out of the house at 7:30. He had plenty of time; summer vacation had started already. At 8:00, tram operators of the Municipal Transportation Company left their workplace. Among them, a 25-year-old tram conductor, Kazimierz Wieczorek. As a result of the dramatic events of this day, the boy and the young man were to meet for the first time.

Zdzisiek is wandering around the city. He enters the Poznan Trade Fair Area with a group of demonstrators. In the meantime, Kazimierz Wieczorek goes to the building of the Provincial Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party with another group. It is ten o’clock. The army and militia enter the Trade Fair Area. Zdzisiek is caught and transported to the militia station on Matejki Street.

It is 12:30. At this time, Kazimierz Wieczorek is approaching the building of the Social Insurance Office; someone is shooting at the demonstrators from the window. At 13:30, those who had been caught leave the militia station and get into trucks. A little while later, someone shoots at the conductor. He falls to the ground. He has sustained a head wound, but he is alive; they bring him to Raszei Hospital. It is 15:00. At the same time, Zdzisiek is kneeling on the ground at Ławica airport near Poznan.

The wounded Kazimierz Wieczorek is approached by a stranger. The conductor gives him a piece of paper. The man goes to the house of Kazimierz. He takes his documents. He returns to the hospital to inform the patient that he is a Security Service officer. He and other officers take Wieczorek and several other men, only slightly wounded, from the hospital. It is 21:00. Zdzisiek’s mother returns home from work to find out her son is not there. At 23:00, a car approaches the Strusia hospital. A young man, wearing only his underwear, is carried out. He is entered in the hospital record book as N.N. 5092/56.

Zdzisiek’s mother waits all night. On June 29th, at 6:00, she goes out to look for her son in the hospitals of Poznan. She recognizes him among the bodies in the morgue of Strusia hospital. She demands her son’s body. She receives permission. She collects the funeral benefit from her workplace, she buys a coffin and she takes her son’s clothes. She definitely refuses to have a state funeral at the suggested date. She takes the body to a chapel in Junikowo and she orders a funeral mass. Several people come. On June 30th, after 21:00, to their surprise, Zdzisiek arrives as well. So, on July 2nd, the entire family attends a mass, not to celebrate a funeral, but to thank God. Zdzisiek’s mother goes to the cemetery to bury the stranger like her own son. In the spring of 1957, it turns out it was Kazimierz Wieczorek; his family had been searching for him for almost a year.

The film depicts these events. The narrator is one of the main characters – an actor and director, Zdzisław Wardejn. Following in his own footsteps of 40 years before, he gives the audience a detailed account of the events that he witnessed. At the same time, he attempts to recreate the tragic fate of Kazimierz Wieczorek and reveal the secret of his death. He asks questions that remain unanswered: why did the conductor and the others die? And Zdzisiek – was he saved because of someone’s negligence or was it simply fate?

Based on: PAT

"Paradoks o konduktorze" [The Conductor’s Paradox]
Directing: Michał J. Dudziewicz
Assistant Director: Dorota Sachar
Script: Michał J. Dudziewicz
Narrator: Zdzisław Wardejn
Director of Photography: Jacek Knopp
Artistic design: Natasza Wróblewska
Music: Marta Dudziewicz
Sound: Iwona Klimek, Iwo Klimek, Przemysław Kretkowski, Włodzimierz Niklasiewicz
Music management: Małgorzata Przedpełska-Bieniek
Editing: Karol Karpiński, Jan Mikołaj Mironowicz
Production management: Janusz Skwarek, Janusz Marzec
Production cooperation: Tadeusz Roszczak, Paweł Roszczak, Roch Witkowski
Producer: Krzysztof Kopczyński
Production: Prasa & Film Ltd., Polish Television (TVP) – Department of Documentary Forms
Year of production: 1997