From the rooftop of his family home in Warsaw, Zbygniew, a senior medical student, had witnessed the Red Army invasion of Poland from the East. At the Polish government’s request, the Soviets had raided his motherland, determined to crush the anticommunist demonstrations. Caught in the middle of an uprising on the Warsaw University campus, he helped two female colleagues escape unharmed through the Old City catacombs. Shortly thereafter, he fell in love with one of them, Alina, who later became his wife. Living conditions in Poland were deteriorating year by year, with severe food shortages, overcrowded living conditions and skyrocketing inflation. The communist Red Market’s failings, caused by inferior quality consumer goods and shoddy industrial products, were a mirror image of the centralized economy.
Dr. Zbygniew’s mother, Mrs. Stanislawa, a Second World War widow, had instilled invaluable attributes in her son, especially those needed for succeeding in that world of oppression. Together they financed a private medical facility in the heart of Warsaw named the Premier Polyclinic, which thrived from day one. When the collusion among the private sector, nicknamed the Black Market, and the central economy evolved, Dr. Zbygniew jumped onboard. From auto shops to the importation of office supplies, his dealings were the envy of the competition.
To manage his financial affairs, he appointed his best friend Marek as his administrator. The ex-musician and drama actor became a beacon of inspiration with his instincts for profitable investments. Whether it was an overland import of American cars, or trading in US dollars and gold, he always turned out a good profit. Later on, Marek married Dr. Zbygniew’s cousin Yolanda, the head nurse of the private clinic. Their too-brief marriage ended in tragedy, leading to Marek’s departure to Israel.
In the hospital environment, Dr. Zbygniew befriended a young immigrant from Bucharest, Dr. Victor, who was married to a famous Polish singing star. As a dissident and a staunch anticommunist, he was blacklisted by the Romanian dictator and had a large price on his head. Fearless, and determined to succeed in the symbiotic Red Black Market of Poland, he helped Dr. Zbygniew establish a French Connection for trades, and a Swiss bank account in Paris.
After a number of unfortunate events, beginning with his mother’s death, Dr. Zbygniew’s wealth creation came to a full stop. Unjustly accused of murder in a kangaroo court, he spent a few years in prison until his release due to international political pressure from the United States. When the Iron Curtain came down, expedited by the rise of the Solidarity Movement and the election of Pope John Paul II, Dr. Zbygniew became a free man again.
Let Freedom Ring!