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A Radio Feature by

Agnieszka Czyewska Jacquemet

Mariusz Kamiski

Polish Radio Lublin 2015


In 1920, near the village of Komarw, Polish cavalry crushed the numerically superior
Konarmia [Horse Army - cavalry] under command of Semyon Budyonny. After the
World War 2, communist Polish authorities did whatever they could so that the
memory of the battled which had sealed the crushing defeat of the Bolsheviks sink
into oblivion. After the end of communist rule in 1989, a several hundred of devotees
and descendants of participants in the battle began their efforts to bring the memory
of the battle back to life. They began to organise battle reconstructions and
remembrance ceremonies on the Komarw hills.
In 2011, it turned out that the battlefield has not only historical values, but also
monetary ones. In 2014, the Municipal Office of Komarw saw another battle, this
time over the wind turbines that were to be located on the former battlefield. The
supporters talk about technical advancement, development, and business. The
opponents remind about the history and symbols which are not for sale. Neither party
is willing to budge an inch.
The feature poses questions about historical processes, about social responsibility
for memory about the past, and the pasts impact on subsequent generations. To
what degree should the events that took place over a century ago affect our actions
today and our plans for tomorrow?

Hubbub of voices in the conference room of the Komarw Municipal Office.
Simultaneous voices, showing anxiety: At the moment there is Calm
down..., At the moment there is. calm down, please Gentlemen

Male voice I coming to the foreground, nervous

It's a lie that the turbines are not harmful to people. Who has signed that??

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

That's the third time I am reprimanding you. You'll have your say during the
discussion. The Municipality Governor has the floor now. Madam.

Male voice I interrupting in mi-sentence

My land will be worth next to nothing because of the turbines. And so will be
my neighbours'

Municipality Governor
We can assure you that the planned investment project will not affect the
battle reconstruction site. We can choose the area where from the wind
turbines will not be visible.

Male voice II
That is not true. Please, don't say things that are not true

Male voice III

Rejecting the wind farm project offer is like locking the doors in our firms away
from customers.

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

I want to make it plain and clear to the media and everyone. We are not
fighting against the turbines. We are fighting to protect the battlefield of the
Battle of Komarw.

Hubbub of voices in the conference room, commotion; in the background echoing shouts: "For freedom!", "Hurray!", whistling of air.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

In 2011, we were informed that we had a great gift from nature - wind that
could earn us money. A company came to us, interested in locating a wind farm
in our municipality. All Municipality Councillors, unanimously, agreed that we
should give it a try, for the benefit of the municipality and our residents. We
have commenced relevant procedures. We have kept the people informed.
There have been special meetings organised in the villages. People supported
the idea... they thought, we should take the chance. Draft land use plan was
made available for consultations. No one was at that time interested in
analysing the amendments or taking part in the discussion. After the land use

plan was approved, we have initiated the procedure for amending the master
Gaggling of geese, clucking of hens in the courtyard, a traditional, oldfashioned village

Yet, the people see the procedures differently. To them, the decisions made by
the Municipality Governor and the Council came as a complete surprise.

Resident I astonished
Nobody knew anything about it. Really. Had the Municipality Governor only
spoken a word

Reporter I interrupting in mid-sentence

Perhaps no one was interested?

Reporter I
I think that if we have a community centre in every village, which Municipality
Governor keep boasting about, she should have said to us - there are village
leaders, after all ... There will be a meeting held... there is an issue to discuss.
That's how it should have been done, not secretly.
Resident II
I don't feel I have been informed. I've only heard people talking, that there will
be wind turbines here.

Resident I speaking with strong local accent

There was a meeting at Antoniwka... another village. It's 4 kilometres away
from here... People have agreed there, because the turbines are to be installed
on their fields and they'll get some money for it.

Reporter I
Has anyone asked you?

Resident I speaking with strong local accent

No one.

Reporter I
How far from the first turbine do you live?

Resident I speaking with strong local accent

About a kilometre.

Resident II
So, that's how it's gonna be

Reporter I
Have you been informed how these turbines can affect you and your health?

Resident II
If you mean reliable information, then no

Reporter I
Aren't you cross with the authorities?

Resident II
What can we do about it? Who's gonna listen to us?

Turbine blades whistling. Municipal Office.

Female voice
I'd like to say a few words about health of the residents and about treating
people like myself, who don't have money, who don't run a business, who have
no one to stand up for them. How people like myself are treated by public

Stanisaw Siek, Chairman of the Municipal Council from the background,

trying to interrupt
Please, don't waste our time.

Female voice, with anger

Wait, I have to say

Stanisaw Siek Chairman of the Municipal Council from the background,

No, you don't .

Male voice I interrupting in mid-sentence

This concerns the turbines..

Female voice, peevishly

Why cant' we have a referendum on the issue of wind turbines

Stanisaw Siek Chairman of the Municipal Council from the background,

We've had enough of referendums and rows here.

Male voice I
You are forgetting, you're supposed to represent people here

Whistling of wind, voices intermingle: What do you want to talk about? You
don't care about human health. You have no right to speak... You only
count the money and that is not right... But this is for the benefit of us all
Sound of a steel cord hitting against the metal flagpole and a popular soldiers'
song of WW1 and Bolshevik War times, played on panpipes.

Not everything can be counted in zlotys. The landscape of the Battle of
Komarw battlefield has remained unchanged for 90 years. This is the only
such site, apart from Grunwald. [The site of the the Battle of Grunwald fought
during the PolishLithuanianTeutonic War, one of the largest battles in
Medieval Europe] Just like the defeat at Grunwald marked the beginning of the
twilight of the Teutonic Knights, the Battle of Komarw stopped the Bolsheviks'
march towards the west of Europe, saving Poland's independence and Europe
from the spread of the Bolshevik revolution.

The wind and music stop

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association
This is something we should be proud of. This place saw not only the defeat of
the Bolshevik cavalry, but - most importantly - of Stalin himself, because he was
responsible for Budyonny's operation and the southern front (in 1920). In
Communist Poland, after the World War 2, for 50 years it was forbidden to
even mention the battle. No one was allowed to speak or so anything . Now,
we are gradually bringing this history back. It takes time. And today, in the
present geopolitical situation, we don't want to remember. We will erect wind
turbines. But we all know that the project owner is a German company; it has
subsidiaries which are owned in twenty four to fifty something percent by
[Russian] Gazprom. This is what we have managed to find out. And so, we will
have German-Russian wind turbines here on the land that witnessed the
greatest glory of Polish cavalry. Their glory will become Don Quixote tilting at

windmills, as it is already often presented in press and other media. This is not
the right place for wind turbines. The central element of this place should be a
monument commemorating the glory of Polish cavalry. We can even see here...
we can go out and drive to
Opening the door, going out, starting a car engine, driving

On our way, in the valley, we are passing by a small area enclosed by a
brickwork fence. Two marble plaques with names of the killed in action and a
cross. This is a remembrance site. Before Word War II, the battle veterans
gathered here and used to sing patriotic songs, sitting by bonfires.

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

This is the tiny piece of land listed as heritage site.

Reporter I
This is not more than ... I don't know, 100 ares...

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

Yes, tiny little piece of land. And the size of the battlefield was enormous.

Reporter I
So, the rest can be used for any purpose, right?

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association


Getting off the car, wind


Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

This is the farm bought to organise a museum here and cavalrymen training
centre, to expand it. Here, where this walnut tree grows...

Reporter I

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

There was a house... Here were the Budyonny's Headquarters. Because it is the
closets to the highest point of 255 hill. The heaviest fights were at this hill. It
was a strategic place. It was very important.
Sounds of battlefield, shooting.

Reporter I
The fights were 500 m from here, where the first wind turbine is to be erected,

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

Yes, this is the area where the first turbine is planed.

The sounds of battle move to the foreground. Shouts in Russian: Death to the
Poles!, Hurray!, Forward!.

It was a fierce battle.

Shout in Polish: For Poland!


17 thousand-strong Konarmia was faced by 1500 Polish lancers.

Shout in Polish: Charge!

The battle started before dawn and ended after dusk.

Shout in Polish: Fire!, shooting

Decisive for the ultimate victory was the charge of 8th Regiment which
galloped into the enemy's formation. The 255 hill and Budyonny's car were

Shouts in Polish: Kill the Bolsheviks!; clanging or arms, groans.

Dispersed Cossacks fled to the woods. Panic broke out.

Shouts in Russian: Retreat!, Retreat!.

300 Polish cavalrymen and approximately 4000 Russian Konarmia soldiers fell
in the field; Konarmia had never regained its combat capabilities.
Echoing whistling

Resident II
I had lived in Austria for 15 years. The Siege of Vienna battlefield is officially
protected as heritage site, as far as I know. Even an observation deck has been

constructed recently at the Kahlenberg church. As far as I know, it had been

four years of consultations before it was decided that anything could be
actually built on the Kahlenberg hill. And here, the wind turbines Any highrise structure and similar object are prohibited there. What is happening here is
a tragedy to me. .

Sound of a steel cord hitting against the metal flagpole and a popular soldiers'
song of WW1 and Bolshevik War times, played on panpipes.

For over ten years municipal authorities and "The Battle of Komarw"
Association have jointly organised memorial celebrations and battle
reconstructions. The wind turbines are to be located precisely on the former
battlefield. A little more than 1100 metres from the remembrance site and
nearly 2 kilometres from peoples homes. Yet, the wind blows the same in the
whole municipality, so maybe the turbines could be relocated a few kilometers
Wind stops.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

Today, the terms are dictated by those who are interested in the project
concerned. You can't say to them: Do it 5 or 10 kilometres away from here.
They may no longer be interested. I don't think there will be any problem with
holding remembrance ceremonies and commemorating the 1920 battle as we
have so far. You can always take a shot in such a way, so that the turbines will
not be visible in the picture. If you direct the camera towards the east, the
turbines will surely get in the frame. But if you take pictures looking towards
the west, south, or east, you won't see them. It is not true that the municipal
authorities want to forget about it. We want to develop, but we also want to
remember abut the past. Nearly 40 various permits and approvals are required
here. We have approvals of regional authorities, of Roztocze Complex of Areas
of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Regional Office for Protection of Heritage
Monuments and Sites.

Reporter I
Didnt the Regional Office for Protection of Heritage Monuments and Sites raise
any objections?

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

No, they didnt. "Consultations on the proposed amendments in the master
plan of the Komarw Osada Municipality"

Reporter I
But this document pertains to the remembrance site and not to the whole
battlefield. It's dated March 2014. (Rustling of paper)

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

(Rustling of paper) Yes, right

Reporter I
And there is another one... (rustling of paper) dated September 2014.
(rustling of paper) Conservation Officer recommends that the proposed
amendments in the master plan be reconsidered due to historical and nonmaterial values - this opinion pertains to the battlefield as a whole.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

This is not the opinion. This is only a recommendation. The opinion is
favourable to us. We have positive opinion required to amend the master plan.
And simply people have the right to draw benefits from the fact that they own
land there.

Hubbub of voices in the conference room of the Municipal Office.


Stanisaw Siek, Chairman of the Municipal Council, reading the conclusion of

the Heritage Conservation Officer
In view of the above, it is recommended that the Municipal Council
reconsiders the proposed amendments concerning the development of the
area with respect to their potential impact and influence on the spatial
arrangement, also taking into account the historical and non-material values of
the area. Signed: Lublin Region Heritage Conservation Officer.

Applause in the meeting room, one of the attendees wants to speak

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

You know, I don't really care about your opinion, because the whole turbine
issue has been on the agenda for a long time

Female voice II
Two years ago I had some string beans growing... unfortunately, it all got
trampled. Because you, lancers, ride wherever you please. Listen to people
living actually here, and not visiting once a year for two or three days... Look,
people, this is our decision. Thank you.

Applause in the room

Resident II speaking with strong local accent

Why do they want to decide for me. I am the owner and I have a right to decide
what is going on my land. This is my decision. And everybody just wants to get
some more money. If you get 600 or 800 zlotys a month ... Isn't it good money?
Sure, it is! One can always do with some extra money.

Reporter II
What about the battle? After all, it is a heritage site.

Resident II speaking with strong local accent

The battle, you say.... What about the Warsaw Uprising. They were fighting all
over the city... so they shouldn't have built anything there, right? No houses, no
theatres... When something needs to be built, you just do it.

Female Resident III speaking with strong local accent

And we need this money... our children go to school

Reporter I
You would get some extra money for education of your children, right?

Female Resident III speaking with strong local accent

Well, yes.

I have learnt about it at school, too. I know it was the greatest cavalry battle
and it deserves respect, but the municipality needs to develop, too. There are
no enterprises, no businesses, where people could find jobs. There are only
farmers here

Reporter I
And what do the young people do here?

There is no future here. Most young people go to big cities to study and that's


Reporter I
And how about you

I'll go away to study, too. I won't stay here...

Wind blowing, rattling of the steel cable...

Owners of the plots where the turbines will be located will benefit the most.
But none of them wanted to tell us the actual amount. For the remaining
several hundred people living in close vicinity of the planned wind farm, the
consequences will be rather detrimental than beneficial.
Turbine whistling, echoing sounds of the battlefield, shout; "Fire!" ...

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

If we ignore the historical aspect, there is also the issue of the landscape which
will be damaged - obviously damaged. These are giants, colossuses, nearly 200
m high, including blades. This is more or less the height of the Warsaw's Palace
of Culture. So, you will be able to see them practically from any place within 20
km range. In the long run, I would never want to live near anything like that.
Never ever. With this noise, vibrations - because it must generate vibrations...

Reporter I
But these people have nowhere to go to. They have their homes here...

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

No, nowhere to go And they will have problems with leaving, because they
will not be willing to sell their properties for next to nothing and no one will

give them a good price. You must be aware that such turbines are planned to
operate for some 25 years. The poles and the turbines will be dismantled, but
the concrete slabs will remain in the ground. No one will remove it. There is not
a word in the agreements about that. And we are talking about thousands of
tons here. These are really huge amounts and these people will be left with this
concrete. Another issue is the taxes. Naturally, today these people will earn
something on it, but they do not realise that the time will come when they or
their children will have to pay taxes on these plots, not at rates applicable to
farmland, but to industrial properties. So, at the end of the day, I don't think its
a good deal for these people.

A popular soldiers' song of WW1 and Bolshevik War times, played on panpipes.

Instead of windfarm, "Battle of Komarw" Association proposes initiation of
history-based collaboration with Austrian and Hungarian municipalities.
Citizens of these countries fought in the first Battle of Komarw in 1914. The
project would cover construction of educational pathways, observation decks,
museum, and tourist infrastructure which the municipality lacks. At present,
there is no accommodation or catering facilities whatsoever, but this does not
seem to bother the local authorities.

Music ends, conference room, Municipal Council meeting

Tomasz Dudek, chairman of the "Battle of Komarw" Association

(Rustling of paper) There is this letter with proposals addressed to you in the
today's documents

Speaking at the same time


Councillor I speaking with strong local accent

And who's gonna pay for that...

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

Calm down, gentlemen. Calm down

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

We are holding the Council's meeting here. After the meeting.

Councillor I speaking with strong local accent

Mr Dudek has presented the proposal, suggesting how much the municipality
could but on what? On showing people around... selling tickets for guided
tours... I hope the Council will not get fooled into doing it.


Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

We have already thought about that and even could get EU funds, but there
have been so many more important things, that we have decided to put the
educational pathways of for later....

Reporter I
But it may be too late, then. When the turbines are erected, there will be no
prospects for tourism.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

The municipality will benefit from this investment project that is to be located
here, because 2% on each structure, the tax I mean, will be paid to the

municipal budget. If there are 16 turbines erected, then it would be... about a
million zlotys revenues from the tax on structures and buildings.

Reporter I
But this million of revenues means actually a loss for the municipality. Because
today, as a poor municipality, you get the subsidy of 2.2 million per year. When
you get a million from the tax, the subsidy will be reduced to 600.000. So, it's
still 600 000 missing. This means you won't get more, but less.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

We get subsidies today, but we can't be sure if we get them tomorrow. It all
depends on the situation of the state budget. We can only count on what we
have here.

Reporter I
But it's still 600 000 less.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

You are all wrong. There will be hard surface access roads built, leading to the
turbines and to the fields as well, which is very important in our typically
agricultural area. This is an advantage. Moreover, if any such investment
project is implemented, it means jobs for people. I believe that the people from
Komarw Osada municipality will get these jobs. Because when people have
when they have more money, they can go to a shop and buy something and
then the shops will also get better. So, at the end of the day, we all can benefit
from it.

Reporter I
The municipality will get this million zlotys only in the first year, because the
turbines are subject to depreciation. So, the revenues from the tax will
gradually decrease, until, one year they will be zero.

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

That is correct. Everything is subject to depreciation, but the revenues will be
significant, anyway

Reporter I
I think I don't quite get it. If you lose a part of the subsidy already in the first
year, and then the revenues from the tax will be gradually decreasing year after
year, where do you see these significant benefits?

Ms. Wiesawa Siekowska, Governor of Komarw Municipality

Please, really, nothing you can say can convince me otherwise. We are trying to
follow the best examples...

Narrator (butting in)

The Municipality Governor was not able to explain where she saw these
significant benefits... or where she would get the missing 600 000 zlotys from
to balance the budget. The same questions and objections were raised during
the Council meeting by one of the Councillors who withdrew his initial support
for the wind farm.

Council meeting in the conference room.

Councillor II speaking with local accent

I have not signed it and I don't regret it. I don't. You're talking about revenues...
You're selling this land for thirty pieces of silver...


Male voice I
A million zlotys of revenue is nothing compared to the sale of 10 or 15
recreational plots... And here you have your million...


Wiesawa Siekowska Governor of Komarw Municipality and Stanisaw Siek

Chairman of the Municipal Council speaking at the same time
But you, but you... No one has given you the floor.

Male voice I
Within a 50 kilometre radius no one will sell a plot here.

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

I don't know why you are presenting your opinions here. No one has given you
the floor and you... And it is my power as a chairman not to give the floor to
anyone from the audience. And I will exercise this power. And the discussion
will be over. We will vote the matter through and the game is over. Game

Opposition among the audience is getting stronger. The voices intermingle

Male voice I
It is for people to decide, not for the chairman

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

But I am granted such power


Male voice I
Hitler and Stalin were the ones who decided on their own

Stanisaw Siek, chairman of the Municipal Council

And the Councillors will decide, so please calm down

Battlefield shouts echoing in the background: "For Poland!", "Charge!", .

sound of taking out the sabre