Interview mit Wiktoria Różańska

Between Poland and Europe

, by Leon Schwalbe

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]

Between Poland and Europe
Viktoria Różańska in Ropczyce, Poland. Foto: Leon Schwalbe

Wiktoria Różańska, born in Rzeszów, is 17 years old. She is a student of the Liceum Ogólnoksz-tałcące, a polish high school, in Ropczyce. In her freetime, she reads a lot and listens to different kinds of music. After her final matura exams next year, she wants to become a lawyer.

Leon Schwalbe: Wiktoria, what does Polish culture mean to you?

Wiktoria: I think, Polish culture is very rich.All these traditions we have are a beautiful heritage. I like that.

Leon Schwalbe: Does this mean that you are also proud of your country?

Wiktoria: Right now, not exactly. Our country has a deep history. That’s what I’m proud of. But I’m not proud of our politics. I think they make Poland look very bad. We are not as progressive as other countries –especially when it comes to people from other nations. Our government is not very open to that.

Leon Schwalbe: What do you think about the Polish government?

Wiktoria: I’m not happy about it. They don’t listen to young people, they don’t listen to scientists, they don’t listen to anyone, actually. So, nothing is happening here. There is no change going on in Poland.

Leon Schwalbe: So, do you think, there is a need of this change?

Wiktoria: Yes! I think lots of young people want this change. Not only people that are involved in parties or similar, but people like me. There are so many who would like to change something, especially in the education system.

Leon Schwalbe: Why? What do you mean?

Wiktoria: I was born in 2004 – my year is like a whole experiment to them. They literally just threw out stuff like: “Hey, this and this is new. And now you have to deal with it.” They don’t listen to us or what we are thinking.

Leon Schwalbe: But not everyone at our age is as political interested as you or me. When did it start for you?

Wiktoria: I had the mindset “politics doesn’t affect me, so I’m not interested in it” for a long time. But then I got into high school and chose a profile with lots of lessons about that. And it really changed my mindset. That is why my opinion is that more people should have these lessons.

Leon Schwalbe: I bet you are learning some things about the European Union in these lessons – what do you think about it?

Wiktoria: It was one of the best decisions we made as a country to join the European Union. I really support it.

Leon Schwalbe: Would you identify yourself as a Pole or a European?

Wiktoria: I would definitely say I’m more a European than a Pole. Because lots of people still live with their minds in the war. I know, of course, a lot about the war. But it doesn’t make me very Polish. There are not many things that could make you feel Polish, in my opinion.

Leon Schwalbe: Right now, there is another war going on – not in Poland, but just about houndred kilometers away from Ropczyce. How do you feel about that?

Wiktoria: I feel very, very sorry for the people in Ukraine. And I try to help them as much as I can, because I can’t even imagine to be in this situation. I know that it is very serious for me, too, because I life close to the border, but I try to not think about it and not to be scared.

Leon Schwalbe: Did something change in your region since the beginning of the war in Ukraine?

Wiktoria: In our school, the prinicipal told us to wear student ID cards. Because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to come into the school building. But that didn’t happen. Nobody wears it and actually no one cares. She also told us that there could be security searches at school. But it also didn’t happen yet. It’s not that much change.

Leon Schwalbe: But something that did change– compared to the last refugee crisis in 2015 – is the way, Poland welcomes refugees. What could be reasons for that change of mind?

Wiktoria: I think most Polish people know how it is to live in a war. Lots of them emigrated during WWII and may think about this now, when war is only a few kilometers away.

Leon Schwalbe: Do you think that could be a permanent mind change?

Wiktoria: It would change for sure if goverment changes. And I hope that it is changing very soon.

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