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Sophia
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Joined: 05 Oct 2014
Replies: 862

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2022 6:19 am      Post subject: Today is an anniversary
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For all of you who are interested in the history of Poland, please note that today is an anniversary.
Poland is remembering the difficult period of martial law, which was declared 41 years ago today, on the 13th of December, 1981. It was an attempt by the former communist government to stifle the opposition of the Solidarity movement. Thousands were arrested on the first night. Martial law was in effect until July 1983, and close to a hundred people were killed during this time.
If anyone has personal memories of that period that they would like to share, I would be most interested to read them.
Poles are being encouraged to put a lighted candle in a window this evening. I plan to do this, also.
All best wishes to everyone at Polish Origins and to all contributors to this forum,
Sophia
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Zenon
PolishOrigins Team Leader


Joined: 28 Apr 2007
Replies: 1509
Location: Poland

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Post Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2022 11:17 am      Post subject:
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Sophia,

Thank you very much for reminding about this important date in our recent history. If not the Solidarity movement and protest in 1980 and 1981 there wouldn't be 1989 and the first indepedent parliment elections in June 1989 in Poland, the first country in the old Soviet block. After Poland, a few months later, there started the Autumn of Nations. It was a wave of revolutions swept across the Eastern Bloc in Europe. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, which occurred on November 9, 1989, was a defining moment of this period. After that the democracy and freedom spread of throughout the old Soviet Bloc.

I was only seven when the martial law was introduced by communists. My memories are limited to my level of comprehension back then. I remember it was Sunday morning. Together with my younger brother we were eagerly waiting, as every Sunday morning, for the weekly best children's TV Program called "Teleranek" (it can be loosely translated as "a morning tv show") and a very popular among children (especially boys) a G-Crew cartoon following it Smile. Instead of Teleranek we had a General Jaruzelski making his speech about regaining order in the country by introducing the martial law. I found on youtube the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MHPrdAbse0 .

My parents were scared and didn't know what to do. I don't remember much more from that day but I have vivid memories of what happened next. Soldiers and tanks on the streets. Men from our family drafted to the army. TV journalists in soldiers uniforms. Empty shelves in the stores. Long lines for basic goods like bread. Sad people. Grey life and gloomy atmosphere.

I hope we will never return to that.
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Sophia
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Joined: 05 Oct 2014
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Post Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2022 5:47 am      Post subject:
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Zenon wrote:
Sophia,

Thank you very much for reminding about this important date in our recent history. If not the Solidarity movement and protest in 1980 and 1981 there wouldn't be 1989 and the first indepedent parliment elections in June 1989 in Poland, the first country in the old Soviet block. After Poland, a few months later, there started the Autumn of Nations. It was a wave of revolutions swept across the Eastern Bloc in Europe. The collapse of the Berlin Wall, which occurred on November 9, 1989, was a defining moment of this period. After that the democracy and freedom spread of throughout the old Soviet Bloc.

I was only seven when the martial law was introduced by communists. My memories are limited to my level of comprehension back then. I remember it was Sunday morning. Together with my younger brother we were eagerly waiting, as every Sunday morning, for the weekly best children's TV Program called "Teleranek" (it can be loosely translated as "a morning tv show") and a very popular among children (especially boys) a G-Crew cartoon following it Smile. Instead of Teleranek we had a General Jaruzelski making his speech about regaining order in the country by introducing the martial law. I found on youtube the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MHPrdAbse0 .

My parents were scared and didn't know what to do. I don't remember much more from that day but I have vivid memories of what happened next. Soldiers and tanks on the streets. Men from our family drafted to the army. TV journalists in soldiers uniforms. Empty shelves in the stores. Long lines for basic goods like bread. Sad people. Grey life and gloomy atmosphere.

I hope we will never return to that.


Hi Zenon,
Thank you for writing about your memories of being a child during that scary time. Historical events which we live through are very different experiences than merely reading about long-ago historical events. When you are in the middle of an event, you do not know what will come next and you do not know when (or how) it will end. As you pointed out, so many good things happened afterwards, both in Poland and throughout the old Soviet Bloc.
One of the elements of 1981's martial law was a curfew. Would this have meant that Poles were prevented from going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve?
Sophia
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Zenon
PolishOrigins Team Leader


Joined: 28 Apr 2007
Replies: 1509
Location: Poland

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Post Posted: Wed Dec 14, 2022 6:01 am      Post subject:
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Sophia wrote:

One of the elements of 1981's martial law was a curfew. Would this have meant that Poles were prevented from going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve?
Sophia


Yes, but most of them didn't obey Smile. And militia didn't dare to prevent that.

But normally the curfew was observed and people had to stay in their homes in the evenings..
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Trish



Joined: 23 Sep 2020
Replies: 167

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Post Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2022 11:07 am      Post subject: Re: Today is an anniversary
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Sophia wrote:
For all of you who are interested in the history of Poland, please note that today is an anniversary.
Poland is remembering the difficult period of martial law, which was declared 41 years ago today, on the 13th of December, 1981. It was an attempt by the former communist government to stifle the opposition of the Solidarity movement. Thousands were arrested on the first night. Martial law was in effect until July 1983, and close to a hundred people were killed during this time.
If anyone has personal memories of that period that they would like to share, I would be most interested to read them.
Poles are being encouraged to put a lighted candle in a window this evening. I plan to do this, also.
All best wishes to everyone at Polish Origins and to all contributors to this forum,
Sophia


Hi Sophia and Zenon and the Forum,

I just want to say thank you for sharing stories and infomation about Poland and it's history. I am learning something new everyday from the Forum.

Thank you!
Trish
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