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Author: Piotr Leszczyński

The fleeting memory of December 1970

In December 1970 violent riots broke out in the Polish cities of Szczecin and Gdynia, while in Gdańsk strikers surrounded the seat of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Clashes with militia erupted and the central committee of the communist party decided to brutally quell the rebellion. These events became an important founding myth for the struggle against the communist authorities. Fifty years later, how are these events remembered?

In December 1970, 14 years had passed since Wiesław Gomułka became the first secretary of the communist party in the People’s Republic of Poland. At that time, both the thaw of 1956, which allowed Gomułka to return to power, and hope for reforms that he promised (the so-called Polish way to socialism) were already a fading memory. It was not the right moment for a nostalgic journey to the past. And with Christmas just around the corner, everyone was busy stockpiling goods that were hard to come by.

November 16, 2020 - Piotr Leszczyński

The memory and experience of 1980

An interview with Cezary Obracht-Prądzyński, sociologist and professor at Gdańsk University. Interviewer: Piotr Leszczyński

PIOTR LESZCZYŃSKI: What was the phenomenon of August 1989 in Poland? What took place at that time in the Gdańsk Shipyard, and what can this experience tell us now about Polish society of that time?

CEZARY OBRACHT-PRĄDZYŃSKI: It is not easy to talk about Solidarity. We do not have one position that would allow us to interpret the events, the causes and effects of the strike – both the experience and the memory of Solidarity have been very diverse. Solidarity was a very heterogenous movement from the beginning. It is remembered differently by people who worked and lived in Gdańsk and witnessed these events, who got to see what was taking place in the shipyard. Their perspective was unlike those who lived in other parts of the country and were forced to rely on information broadcasted by state media.

August 31, 2020 - Cezary Obracht-Prondzyński Piotr Leszczyński

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