( life in Tesin ) “There was hostility, because historically it’s a territory similar to that in the south border of Slovakia, with Hungarians. That territory was belonging to one side or the other. Silesians, who sympathized with Czechs, those were harassing us. Throwed stones at us on our way to school, I remember. Those relationships weren’t nice. But we managed somehow. But the longer after the uprising, the better.”
11:22 – 12:34 There was hostility between Czechs and Polish on the border.
“When I was still living in Czech Tesin, they persuaded me at work to join the Party. I had a good excuse, tat a foreigner can’t join the communist party. But I engaged in the Union. Although I was a foreigner, I could maintain the position in residence and social area. For a long time, I was the head of the industrial committee. I helped a lot of people to get a flat or a loan. We made investigations in Slovakia in Kysuce as well. A lot of people from there worked in the ironworks. They were glad when we came for flat inspections. More then 20 years I had this position. There they persuaded me to join the Party, that I could achieve more, I could be foreman. But I refused.”
15:18 – 16:44 Zbigniew was persuaded to join the Party but refused.
“Here, after I got to Slovakia, was a totally different situation. Because here they didn’t have any issues with the Polish. No nothing. When I came to Dubnica, I appreciate it very much. They didn’t harass us, they helped us. When I came to Dubnica, I was lacking connections so I started to integrate the Polish in Slovakia in our region, so we could form some association. Because I heard before in Orava , that in Slovakia there is Polish minority organization, Polish club.
17:10 – 18:14 Life in Slovakia and founding of the Polish Club in Dubnica nad Vahom
When the Warsaw pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, I wanted to give up my Polish citizenship
Zbigniew Marian Podlesny was born 22nd May 1939 in Katowice, Poland. He spent his childhood in Tesin, which after WW2 became part of Czechoslovakia. His family was of Polish nationality, so they received an immigration order. Later they received status of foreigners. Zbigniew attended secondary technical school and worked simultaneously. He got married at 27 and had 2 kids with his wife. In August 1968 he lived in Czech Tesin and was saddened by the fact polish soldiers are part of the Warsaw pact invasion into Czechoslovakia. After his divorce he stayed in Czech Tesin and was persuaded to join the Party, but he refused. He had some medical issues, went through therapy, and moved to Dolny Kubin in Slovakia. He started a new life and he looked for the Polish minority. Here, he witnessed November 1989 and the division of Czechoslovakia. In 1993 he moved to Dubnica nad Vahom because of his girlfriend, where he founded Polish club Central Povazie – Society of Poles and friends in Slovakia. He takes care of culture and the building of Polish-Slovakian friendship and received various awards for his work in the field of integration