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  • #347362

    Anonymous
    Everything below is a translation of
    this interesting article, same as images: 
    http://ciekawostkihistoryczne.pl/2017/06/24/jak-polacy-w-prl-u-migali-sie-od-wojska-poznaj-pomysly-w-ktore-az-trudno-uwierzyc/

    * PRL is a name for Polska Republika
    Ludowa (Polish People’s Republic)

    Suicide declaration, overproduction of
    medical excuses, and even limbs breaking. Potential recruits were
    ready for anything, just to cop out from being enlisted to the army.
    What was the best idea, and what could not be successful… but they
    still tried?

    The recruit service in the Polish
    People’s Republic was associated with a coercion, silliness and
    ideological brainwashing. It began with the oath, which consisted of
    i.a. promising to keep brotherly relations with the Soviet Army. Of
    course, there was “the wave” too. As a result two years of
    service in the infantry and three years in the navy looked – to many
    young people – as a completely wasted time. They came up with plenty
    of ideas to not go to the army, sometimes quite desperate.

    1. The best solution – to “get
    sick”.

    The most popular method to avoid the
    service in the Polish People’s Army was simulating a serious disease.
    Fantasy of the recruits was huge. It was supported by befriended
    doctors, who signed the necessary excuses. Sometimes it was enough to
    say: “Doctor, I’m quite normal, I just don’t want to go the
    army. I’m very scared, I can’t sleep at night”. The request was
    obviously aided by the adequate gift.

    The leader of Czerwone Gitary band,
    Krzysztof Klenczon, have avoided the military service in this way. As
    his wife, Alicja Klenczon, says in the book, his father managed to
    use his contacts in WKU [Wojskowa Komenda Uzupełnień; Army
    Recruiting Command] to get the deferment. The doctor assigned to him
    category D [category D means he’s able to serve militarily during
    times of war if necessary]. Everything because Krzysztof blackmailed
    his father, that if he’ll be taken to the army he’ll commit a
    suicide.

    2. Better mental institute than the
    army

    People wanted the documents which said
    that patient had problems with heart, kidneys, spine, or neurological
    problems. Most appreciated – because of the difficulty in
    verification – were mental diseases. So called “yellow papers”
    in most of cases guaranteed avoidance of military service.
    48-year-old Piotr says:

    I went to a psychologist, and the
    woman started to enlist some phobias that I never heard about. I took
    the papers, she made for me some history of treatment for few years
    back, I left a good alcohol and went to the WKU. In my environment no
    one even imagined wearing the uniform and attending the combined
    exercises with the Russians. So I was meddling as much as I could.

    Piotr managed to avoid the
    conscription. The others were even ready to go a step forward,
    accepting the stay in mental institutes. In 1984 Andrzej “Kobra”
    Kraiński (who later became the leader of Kobranocka band) had to
    stay in such institute in Toruń, as he tried to avoid the
    conscription. It’s there where he met the head of the ward, Andrzej
    Michorzewski. Together they created the band Latający Pisuar [Flying
    Urinal], from which Kobranocka have been created later.

    3. I can’t go to the army, because I
    have bedwetting

    There were also half measures, which
    did not helped to avoid the service in general, but did guaranteed
    the deferment – for example documentations of attendance to the
    meetings of anonymous alcoholics or presence in the sobering
    chambers. Appreciated were also documents mentioning problems with
    sight and hearing. As a last resort men were showing the medical
    excuse of bedwetting.

    Sometimes the amount of documentation
    was enough. One member of a discussion forum “Czy byłeś w
    wojsku?” (Were you in the army?) mentions that he managed to
    avoid the service due to medical excuses. That’s what he says about
    the meeting the recruitment commission:

    I was not in the army. I got the
    category E [which means being unable to serve in the army even in
    times of war] on the first commission during commie times. I didn’t
    had it much complicated, thanks to kidney problems in the childhood.
    Well, I don’t have any problems anymore, but having the documentation
    large for 20 centimeters made a great impression (they didn’t even
    looked anywhere beside the top page)…

    4. Syringes, razors and car doors

    When there were no medical excuses, it
    was necessary to try shaper methods. The desperate ones chose
    self-mutilation. At first it was relatively soft, for instance they
    used a syringe to make marks on their arms, typical for the drug
    addicts.

    Those who practised that method say
    that for a while military doctors were buying it. Later they figured
    it out, so people picked more radical ways. They were cutting
    themselves with razors and even breaking their limbs. The results
    were sometimes tragical. At the end of the 80s one young man decided
    to break his hand/arm, by putting it in the door of Fiat 125p. His
    friends slammed it too hard, which led to the open fracture and
    serious compliations during the fusion of bone.

    5. The influence of the conscription on
    society’s education

    Second most popular method to avoid the
    military service was… getting a degree. Continuing the education
    after high school provided a deferral for three, four or even five
    years. No wonder that in PRL young men were deciding to attend
    post-secondary schools, colleges and so on.

    Having a magister degree [master’s
    degree] was granting the right for a shorter compulsory service and
    receiving the rank of podchorąży [officer cadet’s equivalent] (or
    potentially podporucznik [second lieutenant’s equivalent]). The
    anegdote with some truth in it says that compulsory service in PRL
    have given the country many educated people. A lot of them ended up
    in the university only to avoid the army.

    The presence in the academy was
    prolonged as much as possible. The eternal students were frequently
    functioning there, who were educating themselves for seven, eight
    years, and sometimes even longer. After getting the degree they were
    starting another grad schools, everything to only wait out this
    sensitive time. The most determined were studying long enough to be
    too old to be conscripted, as says the current Minister of Science
    and Higher Education, Jarosław Gowin. “We were doing
    everything, we stood on our heads to only avoid the military
    service”.

    6. In a box during the concert, in the
    army after the concert

    Young citizens of the PRL were trying
    out also more creative solutions. Often they were doing anything to
    not receive the call up to the WKU. “Befriended lady in the post
    office was writing <<not delivered>> in a necessary
    place” – says one of would-be recruits. Sometimes men were
    literally hiding from the Wojskowa Służba Wewnętrzna [Internal
    Military Service], which was supposed to deliver the stubborn
    recruits to the units. They were spending the night with families or
    friends, sometimes in a park or bloc’s roofs.

    Some were changing the appearance.
    “After coming back to Kraków, I shaved my beard” – says
    Karol Życzkowski, the authour of “Notatki szeregowca”
    [Private’s notes]. Some were travelling to the other cities or using
    different identities. This way was used to hide from the army by
    another member of Czerwone Gitary, Henryk Zomerski.

    The musician was appearing under a fake
    name, Janusz Horski. He attended the concerts not by bus with his
    colleagues, but by his own car. On the stage he played on a bass
    guitar hidden in the large box. Eventually he wasn’t successful,
    everything because he was in love with a girl, who was not accepted
    by his mother. Zomerski’s parent informed the WKU where the son can
    be found, and the musician was took from the concert in Warsaw.

    7. To the army instead of Italy

    Another practices method was travelling
    abroad. “I had a friend who passed to the University of Warsaw,
    just because he wanted to deliver the request for a passport after
    passing first exams and escape to the States” – says one of the
    veterans of avoiding the military service in PRL.

    Życzkowski, who is now a physician in
    the Jagiellonian Univeristy, tried this method. The army called him
    at the end of the 80s, when he just became a doktor [Ph.D. degree].
    That’s how he describes his plans in “Notatki szeregowca”:

    The colleagues […] were
    convincing me to go with them to Italy for skiing. […] To get the
    passport in Poland I had to get a permission from the army first.
    With an elegant application and the copy of the invitation to Italy I
    went to the WKU. Maybe I should not have remind about my existence to
    the military authorities, but I thought my papers haven’t came back
    yet from Zgierz to Kraków. I got really disappointed. A week after
    delivering the application for a permission to visit Italy, I went to
    the WKU. The warrant officer, whom I got to know, have said that
    there’s no permission for me to go to Italy, but to consolate me he
    gives me a free ticket to the SPR [Szkoła Podchorążych Rezerwy;
    the Academy of Officer Cadets Reserve (or something like that)] for
    the soonest conscription in May…

    8. To leave at all costs

    Those unlucky ones who were not able to
    avoid the conscription, tried to leave at any price. Even here there
    were various methods. Some were described by Antoni Pawlak in his, in
    the past quite known, “Książeczka wojskowa” [Military
    service book]:

    The escape. Trying all the
    methods they try to escape. Starting with the most primitive attempts
    of crossing the wall, ending with more creative solutions. Usually
    through the mental institute.

    MAREK Half year of service. For some
    reasons they don’t want to give him a pass to home. At night, in the
    common room, he theatrically cuts himself with the razor. He cuts the
    wrists, the chest, the stomach and the cheeks. We participate in a
    very mad battle with him to get this razor, as he starts to have an
    urge to cut the others as well. An observation for a month and sent
    home.

    ANDRZEJ II He cut his wrists a week
    before the oath. Prior to that he was writing some applications for
    changing his military service to five years of imprisonement. He was
    a typical “goodie” assured that imprisonement, despite of
    making him look noble, will be easier.


    RYSZARD All year of bedwetting, which
    in reality he didn’t had. At the end he managed to get one year of
    deferment. This guy have caused in me some kind of honest amusement.
    He was trying for the whole year to systematically pee under him at
    night. He was laughed at and beaten by the colleagues, but never gave
    up.

    Today, when we have a professional
    army, the compulsory conscription doesn’t threaten us. Well, unless
    Prawo i Sprawiedliwość [Law and Justice party] will decide to get
    the conscription back.









    #439531

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus You people really didn’t like the Soviets, huh? I’ve heard of such cases here, that is in SFRY, but they were rare, nothing so extreme. No one in my family tried to avoid it.
    Interesting thing, our current (new) minister of defense Aleksandar Vulin didn’t serve then mandatory military service, due to his poor sight. How convenient to have such a medical condition in the 90s Yugoslavia… Today (that is yesterday) he said that he envies young men and women who are serving voluntarily and that he wanted to serve with all of his heart, but he couldn’t… sad story, indeed, not being able to serve all those wars.

    #439532

    Anonymous

    @Dušan yeah, we didn’t like the Soviets. Personally, I haven’t been in this army, nor after the change the system, the compulsory conscription have ended in 2009 I think. My father was in the Polish People’s Army in the 70s though. Older brother could have been in the army after changing the system, but he avoided it. I only attended the commission in the WKU to be registered and I got category A, which means I fit for service. But they wouldn’t take me anyway.

    #439533

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus Same here, compulsory service ended in 2009. We don’t even have a commission or a medical exam. You just have to report to the local army department when you turn 18 and that’s it. By our Constitution we are still obligated to defend our country’s independence, sovereignty, constitutional order and territorial integrity. The later being stressed the most because of whole Kosovo situation.
    The older I am getting the further I am from volunteering, if it was compulsory I would serve without hesitation, but like this no. My parents still remember who did what in last few wars and trust them on this one. You know, here in Serbia we measure time with wars, anything happening we put in timeline in it’s relation to a certain war. Everything happens before and after a war. We’ve been in peace for 19 years now, that’s a long period here.

    #439535

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus there has been canadians training in Poland since 2015,  what is the opinion of the people there of the canadians if you have heard anything? 

    #439536

    Anonymous

    Looks like we have quite similar approach to the military service. But I think if my trust and sympathy toward the government would be on higher level, I’d be more willing to join the army if I’d be accepted. But nowadays I don’t have that trust and sympathy. The biggest problem however is not being acquainted with the firearms, which would not be a problem if the compulsory service existed – but nothing will probably change on that matter, it would require paying salary to a lot of people :D Recently the government created the Territorial Defense Forces. 

    Indeed Serbia had a lot of conflicts in the 90s. Quite recent. 

    #439538

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus We had territorial defense in SFRY, one could say it was well organized, since Slovenian territorial defense units manged to hold JNA, although it wasn’t full scale operation. Every municipality in SFRY had it’s territorial defense, all the factories could be transformed to support the military efforts in three days, every adult had ONO (opšte-narodna odbrana) in high school where they learnt basics of firearm handling and military operations. The motto was “Work like there’s going to peace for 100 years, be prepared like tomorrow is going to be a war” -Tito’s quote. You could say that all that militaristic policies were successful in training and preparing the population, since the wars were so bloody. I feel like I’m high jacking the thread with all of this.
    There’s talk about restoring compulsory service in some form from time to time, but I don’t think anything will happen.
    How do you feel about American NATO troops in your country?

    #439539

    Anonymous

    @zasiedko, I think the opinion about the Canadian soldiers is similar to the opinion about the American ones – it’s generally positive, mainly due to the reasons why they’re here. I can’t find anything about Poles’ opinions on Canadian soldiers in particular, but mostly they’re fine with the presence of NATO forces here. According to some recent research, 65% of asked Poles supports the idea of NATO forces presence in Poland, while 25% is opposed.

    #439540

    Anonymous

    @Dušan, so you had a good subject in school ;) We had something similar but no firearms involved, while in other schools I think some visited shooting range. But I’m not sure about it.

    Personally, I am positive about the NATO troops in here, but I also have some mixed feelings. Generally it’s great that NATO troops decided to be present in NATO member countries, but I have a feeling that they’d disappear as soon as war would come, hypothetically speaking. But generally I’m fine with them being here.

    #439541

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus for the record units such as grom have a very good reputation in canada. What is poles opinion on the polish military in general? 

    #439542

    Anonymous

    @zasiedko on Polish military Poles have a good opinion. It’s ours after all ;) And surely such formations as GROM, Formoza or JWK are making many Poles proud of the army and its special forces. And it’s not an easy thing to join the army here. 

    #439543

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus woa I’m not that old :D I wasn’t even born in SFRY, but in FRY (1992-2003) and I went to school in briefly in FRY and then Serbia and Montenegro and Serbia, so I had nothing close to that subject. Closest thing to that were air rifle competitions I participated in (pretty amateurish). You see how much fun we have here, you can live in four (or three) different countries without ever moving.

    #439544

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus so you see them as a peace keeping factor of stability?

    #439545

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus ah some of the western Europeans  (French) borderline despises their military and Germany having a weird relation to it, stark contrast to canada. It’s always nice to see a country’s pride in its military. 

    #439546

    Anonymous

    @GaiusCoriolanus you familiar with general anders army? 

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