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Under Communism, all were equal but some more equal than others. There were some really nice flats built as well as a lot of cruddy ones.
A lot depended on which housing association built them and who they were for.
I realise that not all Poles live in communist-style blocks. But most of the population of Polish towns and cities do. This is fact.
Poles rented their flats. They did not buy go on waiting lists to buy them under communism as Ania states. The waiting list was to rent.
I will see these blocks for myself shortly as we are visiting my son's future in-laws at Christmas.
Angela the "spoldzielka" was a type of cooperative where you paid towards the ownership of a particular type of apartment in the same way as a mortgage. After a certain amount of time the apartment was yours. However, you still had to pay regularly towards maintenance and communal charges. You would still go on the waiting list and had to meet certain criteria just to be able to buy. Generally if you were part of certain professions you would get a discount through your employment.
There were other apartments a bit like council flats in the UK where you would pay rent. This was different. Not sure how many of the cooperative apartments were available but the nicer blocks in my mum's home town were part of this arrangement. There is another area in the town called "osiedle" which I think means settlement. That area is not so nice and this is where people were housed en masse. I visited an apartment there in 1980 (my mum's friend who had been disabled in a childhood accident was housed there). I don't remember much about the interior (it was 27 years ago), but do remember the atmosphere around the osiedle was not like the rest of the town (a bit seedy). My aunt and uncle were given an apartment there when they first married and luckily managed to get the cooperative apartment because of their circumstances when the opportunity came up.
I did check the details of all this before posting my original comment.
Ownership of flats in blocks is a recent invention in Poland. Post Communism. Almost all blocks are now under the spoldzielka system as you call it.
My facts are also checked. But with a current source. A 24 year old Polish girl who lived in Poland until 2 years back.
Mine were confirmed by my mum who lived in communist Poland around that time. I specifically asked her whether they owned the flat or rented it. You apparently paid towards it like lease payments on a car. Technically I think it's like a leasehold because the cooperative owns the building. It was separate from the mainstream system in communism.
I will ask my mum for more details.
"Looking at the way people live it is no wonder one million have moved to the UK. I've never seen such narrow rooms. Worse than prison cells."
Thats what they would appear as by the UK standards.
I think Poles who emigrated (Ania's parents) view them with some nostalgia. The truth is that most of these 'blocks' turned to crap during the 90's as many Poles who could afford to built single family homes moved.
Also - many were built next to industrial parks during the 60's and 70's which shut down promptly after commies were toppled. Hence the blocks became dens of drunks and unemployed.
Nowa Huta illustartes this point. Communists decided to built the giant steel work in Krakow because there were too many "educated aristocrats" living there. The blocks (also called the largest socialist city at the time) were built to accomodate the burgeoning working class drafted from the nearby countryside.
It turned to shit very quickly during the 90's and it is, after all, one of the first places in Poland where people took to the streets in the early 80's...
Many Brits don't realize that Poland was a communist country where nearly EVERYONE got paid same salaries and the government did everything it could to make sure that any signs of wealth were quickly dismantled or investigated. Those blocks are just a remnant of the old system.
I have seen similar style blocks for the working class in France and Italy btw.
"Ownership of flats in blocks is a recent invention in Poland. Post Communism"
Not quite. Beginning in early 80’s people could purchase them and then homeowner’s associations (spoldzielnias) were formed.
Prior to that they were leased for very low sums of money and assigned on the need basis where the working masses (factory workers) were always given priority and first picks.
I was the second stormtrooper on the right.
Interesting footage, but it must have been a friendly, because Groclin are in the top league and Stilon (are they still called that?) are inthe third division, I thik.
Either that, or it was filmed about 5 or six years ago.
I DID, in fact, use to go to Stilon matches quite regularly and once ended up in that section by accident. The police kept us there for 3 hours after the match and everyo- now and again would come in and give someone a pasting for no discernable reason.
"Not quite. Beginning in early 80’s people could purchase them and then homeowner’s associations (spoldzielnias) were formed.
Prior to that they were leased for very low sums of money and assigned on the need basis where the working masses (factory workers) were always given priority and first picks. "
They were first discussed in my mum's area in the mid 50's and the spoldzielnia blocks were already being settled with new ones being built in 65 when my mum left. The cooperative blocks were owned by the cooperative rather than the state and it was responsible for maintenance etc. The rents were higher than for the state owned blocks. In the 80s people were allowed to buy out of the cooperative and turn it into a freehold because my aunt did this at some point in the late 80s. I guess a UK comparison these days would be a hybrid of housing association flats and shared ownership.
People did not earn the same wage. Some jobs had higher or lower wages. e.g. a director would get paid more, someone on a simple production line less. However, wages were very low across the board.
It may be that the ex-cooperative flats seemed nicer because they were maintained in a different way and built using different planning.
My parents did not have any nostalgia about blocks or communism. I have nostalgia because I lived in a block in the summer of 1980 and it was very well maintained, not seedy at all and was very much a novelty for me having never lived in a flat or in a purpose built block. When I was growing up in the 70s such modern housing was desirable in the UK too.
I'm not so nostalgic now as although the flats can be very nice inside, the once pristine gardens outside are now overgrown and in need of a prune, the car park is overflowing, and the grass never gets cut. It was at one point a great place to live. I did go to Poland during what was dubbed "the golden age of communism" (late 70s early 80s). It was the summer solidarity kicked off so you can imagine what the atmosphere was like.
By the way Mike, my dad didn't emigrate and didn't view commie Poland with any nostalgia. He was in a siberian gulag for four years and ended up in the Polish contingent of the american army in 45. He was nostalgic about pre 1939 Poland. However, the class structure then was hardly desirable either.
I was the second stormtrooper on the right.
Bizarrely one of our ex-students identified you as the guy speaking near the end of this section. That's how I came across the film .
You have to admit that he does look like a fatter version of you
The sound doesn't work on this PC.
The guy at the end has obviously not been laid for the best part of a decade....
The resemblance is uncanny So, come on - cough.Which of our soon to be EX-ex students made this oh-so-humourous connection?
I just hope it wasn't one that I sweated blood and tears to help pass FCE
Awhile back a friend (an Algerian currently living in the UK and someone who has never been to Poland) watched the programme. He wrote asking me how I could possibly live in such a shithole! Put out slightly, I sought out and downloaded the full version as a torrent, and I have to admit that Poland does look a complete cesspit - at least in this film!!!
If you get the chance do seek out and watch the whole programme.
"So, come on - cough.Which of our soon to be EX-ex students made this oh-so-humourous connection?"
One of mine. She remembers you from an interview at the start of her studies and seeing you up on the first floor. Her excuse was that she too had no sound. But insists on the spitting image bit!
You have to admit that if you'd piled on 20kgs there might be some ever so slight resemblance