Decalogue 08 1988
Are you going away or coming back so early?
I'm coming back.
I took the night train from Szczecin
Ah, I see you've made a good deal.
Showing the German flight to the North Pole
of 1931. The Polarfahrt.
A Zeppelin, I guess?
Three of them. They're great.
You must show them to me one day.
Well, good... bye.
I'll be glad to show them to you.
Good morning, professor.
The dean would like to speak to you.
Come on in, please.
This is Mrs. Elzbieta Loranz from New York.
We've already met. In the states.
Do I remember well?
You translated my works didn't you?
Hearty all of them.
Your Polish is perfect! And to think I've been breaking my
You did very well.
Yes. Mrs. Lorans is here on scientific exchange.
She's interested in your works professor.
If I got her right
she'd like to attend your classes.
That will be a pleasure for me.
Do you want to come today?
If I may.
Will you excuse me?
Mrs. Elzbieta Loranz
works at the American institute
for investigation of the fates of Jews rescued from the
Well, let's continue our subject The moral inferno.
Who'd like speak first?
We already have two political stories to consider
And one related to the customs,
To simplify matters. Yes?
Let's imagine the following situation.
A man is dying of cancer. This is the third case of cancer
He is tread by an excellent specialist
who's a believing Christian by the way.
Well, the doctor happened to live in the same house
as the patient and his wife
The wife starts pestering the doctor
She wants to know whether her husband will die.
But the doctor can't tell her that.
To him, it's like passing a death sentence.
As a believer he can't do it.
But the patient's wife grows more and more intrusive.
The doctor suspects her of having special reasons
that make her insist on his answer.
It appears he's right
the woman is pregnant.
It's another man's baby.
The husband doesn't know.
What's more, she couldn't get pregnant before.
She loves her unborn baby
but she also loves her husband.
If he's going to live she'll have a abortion.
If he dies, she can have her baby
The doctor is to decide that baby's life whether he likes
He's aware of that.
I know how the story ended.
Warsaw's a small town.
To make things more difficult for you,
I might add the baby's alive.
Which is perhaps the most important element of the story
Excuse me, I can't make the recording from that distance.
I said the baby was alive.
And that I considered that fact the most important element...
I'd like you to define
the characters and motives of the hero of that story.
It's going to be the more interesting
as we both know the archetypes
Though actually, I believe you
know different archetypes than I do
Anybody else wants to say something?
No? Let us therefore analyse the previous stories.
You said the baby's life was paramount, didn't you?
It just occurred to me...
If I'm allowed to take an active part in the class, that
But of course, all those present have equal rights
I'd like to tell you about an event
We'll be glad to hear you.
I'm afraid it has a week point for you...
it happened in the pass.
But then, it also has an advantage: It's true
Does what I said about the baby's life
matter to you specially?
Yes, it does. To some extent.
It's the year 1943. February.
The heroine is a girl of six A Jewish girl
kept in a basement of a house in the neighborhood.
But she can't stay there any longer
The girl's father is in the ghetto.
His friends try to find a new place for her.
The place is found,
but her future guardians pose a condition:
The girl must have an official certificate of baptism
It's a cold evening The girl visits a married couple
who have agreed to be her godparents.
They are Catholics, and young.
The girl's frozen,
she has spent all day getting through the city
with her guardian to reach this flat
Well, she now goes in,
accompanied by that guardian.
The husband seems nervous The wife is calm.
They serve hot tea The girl wants that tea very much
but there isn't time.
The priest's waiting and the Curfew's near.
But the woman who should start getting dressed
asks them to sit down inside.
Get out of here.
Please go out.
You said it was in 1943?
Yes. In february.
Yes. In the distant parts on Mokotow district. In Odynoa
Yes? What happened next?
Next? Ah, yes.
They sat at the table.
The man kept walking round the table
They looked at one another
And at last the woman made up her mind
to say things that were so very difficult to say.
They can't keep their promise
Having considered everything
They cannot lie to the one they believe in.
He does demand them to be charitable,
but forbids to give false testimony.
The lie they had planned to commit
knowing what cause it serve proved reconcilable
with their moral principles after all.
Then, the guardian and the girl rise from the table.
"Have some more tea" the woman says.
The girl takes a sip
But then she glances at her guardian
and puts the glass down.
And then, downstairs at gateway
the girl notices her guardian
"it's Curfew soon", she says
But the guardian doesn't move
Was there any body else in that flat?
Yes. An elderly gentleman
He was sitting with his back to the rest
in a wheelchair, I believe
Do you know any details?
The tea cups were good quality china
But didn't match one another
There was a green kerosene lamp on the table but it was out.
The man never took his hand out of his trouser pocket
during the two or three minutes of the conversation.
These are all the detail
The motivation seems improbable to me
if that married couple were really Catholics.
That false testimony wouldn't be directed against their
This is the only motivation I know.
It seemed quite genuine that evening.
What other motives were possible?
How do you think?
I don't know I can't understand that.
I don't know motives which would justify a decision like
Imagine another Jewish child had been discovered in the
Just an hour before
and his head smashed against the railing,
And the family that had kept him
executed in the backyard It could have been fear.
Yes. Fear, yes.
Is fear a justification to you?
I've just suggested a possible motive
I haven't said...
We're going too far.
Please consider the moral problems
that emerge from that story as your homework.
As for you, try and present
an acceptable point of view that woman.
Try and understand her.
That's all, thank you.
It wasn't in Mokotow district.
It happened down town.
In Noakowskiego street.
So it's you
Yes. It's me
And you're alive.
I kept thinking, all those years
Whenever I saw anybody playing with a golden chalet
I said to myself
oh God. You're alive.
A chance family in Praga district agreed to give me shelter.
Some relatives of the person who brought me to you
They were moonshiners,
I spent two years next to a mash tub.
They're with me in America now
The man's already dead, actually
And you've come here to look at my face
while you tell your story?
I wanted to tell you who I was back in the states
I tried to write you a letter
And to come here
If it hadn't been for those few words about that baby
I'd never have...
Yes. I see.
You know, some say a person who rescues another person
has special features...
The same concerns the one who has to be rescued
Yes. I believe there are such special features
And you have them.
I have them?
Yes. The things you did afterwards are well known.
Several of my nationals owe their lives to you
Funny, The girl sensed
the falsity of that ostensibly catholic reasoning straight
The ash... tray's over there.
You don't smoke.
But I see things.
Where are you staying? Shall I give you a lift?
I remember you once drove me all through New York.
I have a room in "Victoria" About 300 meters from here
Not too good for return service.
Perhaps you'd like to have supper with me?
Is this where you live?
But this is the house.
It's in this very gateway that you said,
"let's go, it's Curfew soon"
What's all this stir about?
I didn't hear it ring
Sorry. I'm looking for a woman.
There hasn't been one here for ages
But there are several families living in this flat?
Five of them.
You must ring the bell for each of them separately.
We don't like one another too much
Is this about the advertisement? Come in, please.
No. I'm looking for my friend
She entered this staircase.
A tall woman, black hair
I'm looking for my friend...
Come on, stop it Come in.
Excuse me Is there another entrance?
Is it about the advertisement? No
There's no other entrance It's a respectable house.
My friend went it through this gateway.
About the advertisement? No. And she never came back.
This means she didn't go in after all.
But she did.
Oh god. I've been looking for you
I was frightened for a moment
I thought you'd never been here at all.
But I am.
It's a horrible place.
I went to my former flat.
That right my father's friend could not think what to do
Is was then that I decided I'd never be afraid again.
Why didn't you come here all those forty years?
Didn't you want to see this place?
No. It's humiliating.
Being helped by others?
Yes. One doesn't like to meet the witnesses of one's own
Even if those witnesses are only houses.
All right, we investigate analyse and describe...
but how could this injustice be abolished?
Why can some be rescuers while others are the rescued only?
Do you know why?
No. I don't.
A nice flat.
I'm on a diet, you see
I didn't expect anybody to supper.
The woman I remember
couldn't have changed into a person like you.
But it did happen.
You frightened me
Back there in Noakowskiego street.
If you made all this trip of several thousand kilometers
hoping for a mystery
You're going to be disappointed.
The reasons why I had to Get rid of you
That night are arrived.
The impact that night had on my life is quite another problem
But let's forget it
The man who walk round the room
with a hand in his pocket was my husband
He died in 1952
He was a home army officer in those days.
We had been informed that
the family who were to take you were agents of the Gestapo
Through yourself your guardian and the priest
the Gestapo would then get to us
To the underground organization
That could have been a possible give... away channel
And that's the whole mystery.
Yes. It's very simple.
Later it appeared that the information about
that family was false
But they were nearly executed by the underground.
Are you believed.
That's only natural
And you lived forty years with that certainty,
and I didn't ever know you were alive.
I left you all along
I sent you to what was a nearly certain death
And I knew what I was doing
Yes, you're right.
No idea, no thought, nothing
can be more important that the life of a child
What do you tell your students?
About how they should live.
I don't tell them anything.
I'm there to help them reach their own conclusions.
It's the right that matters.
It does exist
I believe it exist in all man
A situation can release either the right or the wrong
That evening released no right in myself.
Who's the one to evaluate it?
The one who's inside all of us.
I never noticed a mention about God in your works.
I'm not a church... goes
I don't use the word "God"
But you don't need words to be sure
Men is free
Free to choose.
He can leave god behind
if he likes.
And what can then replace God?
Loneliness, in this world.
And afterwards. Try to get to the bottom of this problem
If there's nothing but emptiness afterwards
In that case
Yes. I know that.
May I? Come in, please.
Oh, I thought you were alone.
God evening, madam.
I just wanted to show you...
Beautiful. Really beautiful.
Sorry to trouble you
If you happen to see your son please tell him about them.
He was always most interested in such things.
Polarfahrt. Three Zeppelins. 1931
Right. Well, good night.
And thank you.
A stamp... collector?
More than that, I think
You know, he sometimes shows those stamps to me
like others show their grandchildren
or pictures of their children
He was wearing a sweater Looked alike a neighbor
A neighbor, yes. Know what?
That doctor and patient we talked about during the class
also live in this house.
Well, an interesting house.
Like any other one.
In all houses, in all flats,
some people. And so on, and so on.
Do those people The ones I was to go to.
Do you know them?
Yes, if that's what you want to know.
Could I meet them?
Would you like to?
All right I'll take you there tomorrow
It's a small tailor's shop in Praga district.
But I'm not going in.
I only saw them once after the war.
I said, "I'm sorry".
That was all I could say.
But it wasn't enough.
Would you like to stay here for the night?
I have another room.
Very few people like to stay there nowadays.
Do you like it, madam?
Do you like it?
What are you doing?
They've got a favorite on TV.
I want to show them I'm even better
See? That was rubber stand He can't do that.
How do you do it?
Anybody can do it It's a matter of practice.
A bit more. No, you can't.
It's too late now.
You won't learn it. I'm sorry.
Will you have breakfast with me?
Something more than just 50 grams of cottage cheese
on the fifteenth days of the diet
Coffee without sugar.
I get up early, just like you.
But he doesn't live here, does he?
No. He doesn't want to stay with me
Did you buy these flowers?
Yes. I noticed you put fresh flowers on the table.
Where is he?
To be brief. He's far away from me.
It's here. I'll do some shopping
and come back here to fetch you.
I'd like to talk to you.
I'm Elzbieta Loranz.
I don't know you, madam.
I know we never actually met.
But we were to meet during the war I was to live...
No, wait a minute.
I don't want to talk about the war.
Or about what happened after the war.
Not even about today.
I can make you a nice dress coat, or maybe a suit.
Just decide on that cut.
Here you are
You were to save my life
I'd like to thank you for being prepared to do it
Got your own length of cloth?
You see, it's so difficult to buy anything nowadays
I was six years old then I was in February of 1943
Yes, I was twenty-two
Well? A coat?
These fashion magazines are very old
Would you be offended if I send you something more recent
No, I got this one from abroad, too But it was many years
Afterwards, there was no opportunity
And you aren't going to talk with me?
I didn't to away just in case
Well, he wanted to make a coat for me
Just what I thought
He was in great trouble Too great a trouble perhaps
Isn't this a strange country
Did you pray yesterday?
DC Sniper 23 Days of Fear
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