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Generation Sipa : –Wojtek Laski

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Starting with the election of John Paul II to the papacy, history in Poland picked up speed. When strikes began in the Gdansk shipyards, being Polish, I suggested to Göksin a picture of the movement’s leader. I went to Lech Walesa’s home in the Stogi neighborhood. When his wife Danut opened the door she was nursing her baby. I asked her for an interview, and she scribbled on a sheet of paper, “They can hear us. Let’s get out of here.” She was right. It turned out that the house was full of cameras and microphones, including in the couple’s bedroom. I returned once her husband was back. I didn’t know then that I would become the photographer of Lech Walesa. I admire the man—two years my senior—for his inexhaustible militant energy, and soon enough I found myself following him everywhere, even fishing! America wants to look at him and see the fighter, the union leader with a human face, with a loving wife and family. Every time he appears in the international press, the Walesa home literally overflows with mail. A German company even offered them a minibus. That’s a real luxury for so big a family!

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