Exhibition “586 Days of Martial Law” in Warsaw

Posted on 14. Dec, 2011 by in Culture, Current News, History, Places to visit, Politics, Regulations

Yesterday I reminded you about the 30th anniversary of marital law in Poland.

Today some more news.  Due to the 30th anniversary of introduction of martial law in Poland, IPN’s Public Education Office and the Warsaw Branch of the Public Education Office prepared the exhibition “586 Days of Martial Law”. The opening took place on 13 December 2011.

The exhibition will be on display until 29 December at Plac Zamkowy in Warsaw.

The Warsaw exhibition is part of nationwide series, during which the anniversary exhibitions are presented simultaneously in several cities in Poland, including Białystok, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Łódź, Szczecin, and Toruń. In each of the local presentations the regional aspects are expanded.

Exhibition panels, stylized to look like an old calendar, describe major events while maintaining the effect through suggestive pictures and documents, bringing closer the portrait of years 1981-1983. The exhibition commemorates personal dramas of the victims, individual acts of resistance of Poles, as well as the diversity of attitudes of a divided society.

Images from prisons, ad hoc meetings of the courts and funerals, are interwoven with grand politics – spectacular military and “Milicja” operations, mass demonstrations of the opposition, street fighting – as well as images of everyday life in socialist reality.

One of the themes of the exhibition also presents the reactions of the world, divided by the Iron Curtain, toward the dramatic events in Poland.

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

30th Anniversary of the Martial Law in Poland

Posted on 13. Dec, 2011 by in Culture, Current News, History, Politics, Regulations

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the Martial Law in Poland.
Martial law in Poland (Polish: Stan wojenny, “the state of war”) refers to the period of time from December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983, when the authoritarian government of the People’s Republic of Poland drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition to it.

Thousands of opposition activists were interned without charge and as many as 100 people were killed. Although martial law was lifted in 1983, many of the political prisoners were not released until the general amnesty in 1986.

Pro-democracy movements such as Solidarity and other, smaller organisations were banned and their leaders, including Lech Wałęsa, detained overnight.

In the morning, thousands of soldiers in military vehicles patrolled streets of every major city. A curfew was imposed, the national borders were sealed, airports were closed, and road access to main cities was restricted. Telephone lines were disconnected, mail was subject to postal censorship, all independent organizations were delegalized, and classes in schools and at universities were suspended.

During the initial imposition of martial law, several dozen people were killed. Commanders during the crackdown claim about a dozen fatalities, while a Polish parliamentary commission in the years 1989-1991 arrived at a figure of over 90 deaths.

In the deadliest incident, nine people were killed by ZOMO paramilitary police whilst breaking a strike action in Wujek Coal Mine on December 16, 1981. People were also killed and wounded during a massive wave of demonstrations which took place on August 31, 1982.

A six-day working week was re-imposed and the mass media, public administration, health services, power stations, coal mines, sea ports, train stations, and most of the key factories were placed under military management (the employees had to follow military orders or face a court martial).

As part of the crackdown, media and educational institutions underwent “verification”, a process that tested each employee’s attitude towards the regime and to the Solidarity movement; in the result, thousands of journalists and teachers were banned from exercising their profession.

Military courts were established to bypass the normal court system, and e.g. imprison those spreading so-called “false information”. In attempt to prevent resistance, civilian phone conversations were regularly monitored by appointed operators.

The Poles actively resisted the Martial Law by organizing strikes and street marches, but any resistance to the Martial Law was brutally crushed.  The Poles continued to oppose the WRON (Military Council of National Salvation – Wojskowa Rada Ocalenia Narodowego, WRON) – many Solidarity members worked underground. They established, the so called, Revolutionary Solidarity and were involved in publishing independent newspapers, organization of street protests, broadcasting radio programs usually cut off by the government jammers). Thousands were arrested and prosecuted.

Martial Law was suspended on December 31, 1982 and terminated on July 22, 1983. Some of the restrictive legislation introduced during the martial law remained in force through the end of the eighties. The failure of the WRON and the ruling Communist Party became clear in 1989 when the Solidarity won by a land-slide in the first free election after World War II.

YouTube Preview Image

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)

Cicha noc, święta noc

Posted on 13. Dec, 2011 by in Culture, Holidays, music, Religion

I love Polish kolędy! Here is my favorite one:

Cicha noc, święta noc

Cicha noc, święta noc,
Pokój niesie ludziom wszem
A u żłobka Matka Święta
Czuwa sama uśmiechnięta
Nad Dzieciątka snem,
Nad Dzieciątka snem.

Cicha noc, święta noc,
Pastuszkowie od swych trzód
Biegną wielce zadziwieni,
Za anielskim głosem pieni
Gdzie się spełnił cud,
Gdzie się spełnił cud.

Cicha noc, święta noc,
Narodzony Boży Syn,
Pan wielkiego majestatu
Niesie dziś całemu światu
Odkupienie win,
Odkupienie win.

Silent Night, holy night

Silent Night, holy night
Brings peace to people everywhere
And at the manger, the Holy Mother
Watches alone, smiling,
Over the Child’s sleep,
Over the Child’s sleep.

Silent night, holy night,
The shepherds from their flocks
Run greatly surprised
After the angel’s voice announcing
Where the miracle has been fulfilled,
Where the miracle has been fulfilled.

Silent night, holy night,
God’s (new)born Son,
The Lord of great majesty
Brings today to the entire world
The redemption of sin,
The redemption of sin.

Here are 2 different versions of this carol:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)