Seattle Solidarność collection, approximately 1980-1990  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Seattle Solidarność
Title
Seattle Solidarność collection
Dates
approximately 1980-1990 (inclusive)
Quantity
5 cubic feet (7 boxes plus 2 oversize folders)
Collection Number
6143 (Accession No. 6143-001)
Summary
Ephemera and documents on the Seattle and Puget Sound Polish American community and the Polish Solidarność union
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

During the 1980s, members of the Seattle and Puget Sound Polish American community joined together to provide support for the Polish Solidarność (Solidarity) union and its members through fund-raising, lobbying, and educational outreach activities in the Pacific Northwest.

Solidarność (Solidarity) was a Polish trade union that in the early 1980s became the first independent labor union in a country belonging to the Soviet bloc. Solidarity was founded in September 1980, was forcibly suppressed by the Polish government in December 1981, and reemerged in 1989 to become the first opposition movement to participate in free elections in a Soviet-bloc nation since the 1940s.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Pre-Solidarity

At the end of the 1970s the Polish People’s Republic (Polska Rzeczospolita Ludowa) was racked by crisis as it experienced the largest collapse of production seen in any postwar industrial country. Along with this collapse public corruption had become endemic. Popular belief was that the regime was at an all-time low. Food supplies were a constant source of difficulty; Poland was at the time the most polluted country in Europe; the women of Lodz suffered from the highest still birth rates in Europe. On 1 July 1980 a government spokesman announced that better cuts of meat would in the future be available only in the ‘free price’ shops. The announcement was the signal for a wave of strikes that rolled across most of Polish industry for the next six weeks, to reach its climax in the coastal cities of Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin in mid-August.

Early period (1980)

The Polish government enforced censorship, and official media said little about the "sporadic labor disturbances in Gdańsk"; as a further precaution, all phone connections between the coast and the rest of Poland were soon cut. Nevertheless, the government failed to contain the information: a spreading wave of samizdats (bibuła), including Robotnik (The Worker), and along with Radio Free Europe broadcasts that penetrated the Iron Curtain, ensured that the ideas of the emerging Solidarity movement quickly spread.

First Solidarity (1980-81)

Independent Self-governing Labor Union "Solidarity" formally was founded on September 22, 1980, when delegates of 36 regional trade unions met in Gdańsk and united under the name Solidarność (Solidarity). By early 1981 Solidarity had a membership of about 10 million people and represented most of the work force of Poland.

Martial law (1981-83)

On December 13, 1981, Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland in a bid to crush the Solidarity movement. Solidarity was declared illegal, and its leaders were arrested. The union was formally dissolved by the Sejm (Parliament) on October 8, 1982, but it nevertheless continued as an underground organization.

Underground Solidarity (1982-88)

Throughout the mid-1980s, Solidarity persevered as an exclusively underground organization. On May 1, 1982, a series of anti-government protests brought out thousands of participants—several dozen thousand in Kraków, Warsaw and Gdańsk. On December 9, 1982 the Security Service (Służba Bezpieczeństwa) carried out a large anti-Solidarity operation, arresting over 10,000 activists. On December 27 Solidarity's assets were transferred by the authorities to a pro-government trade union, the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions (Ogólnopolskie Porozumienie Związków Zawodowych, or OPZZ). On July 22, 1983, martial law was lifted, and amnesty was granted to many imprisoned Solidarity members, who were released. On October 5, Wałęsa (an active member of Solidarity and Polititian) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Polish government, however, refused to issue him a passport to travel to Oslo; Wałęsa's prize was accepted on his behalf by his wife.

Second Solidarity (1988-89)

In March of 1985, power in the Soviet Union was assumed by Mikhail Gorbachev. The worsening economic situation in the entire Eastern Bloc, including the Soviet Union, together with other factors, forced Gorbachev to carry out a number of reforms, not only in the field of economics but in the political and social realms. Solidarity members and activists continued to be persecuted and discriminated, if less so than during the early 1980s. In the late 1980s, a rift between Wałęsa's faction and a more radical Fighting Solidarity grew as the former wanted to negotiate with the government, while the latter planned for an anti-communist revolution. On April 17, 1989, Solidarity was legalized, and its membership soon reached 1.5 million. The Solidarity Citizens' Committee (Komitet Obywatelski "Solidarność") was given permission to field candidates in the upcoming elections. Election law allowed Solidarity to put forward candidates for only 35% of the seats in the Sejm, but there were no restrictions in regard to Senate candidates.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of newsletters, flyers, posters, bulletins, and service information from many regions in Poland as well as correspondence from those in the U.S. (even Seattle) who supported the Poles and the movement Solidaronść. The collection also contains artifacts by Martha Golubiec for the purpose of preserving the involvement and the activities of the Solidarity movement both in Poland and in the Seattle/Puget sound area.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

 

Series 1:  Political bulletinsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1-2
Greater Poland
1/3-19
Masovia
1981-1989
2/1
Masovia
1989
2/2-5
Pomerania
1983-1989
2/6-10
Silesia
1982-1989
2/11
Kuyavia
1983-1984
2/12-15
Lesser Poland
1987-1989
2/16
Lodz
1983; 1987-1988

Series 2:  KOSReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/17-24
KOS (Committee for Resistance)
Includes issues 7-8, 17, 21-27, 35-38, 41-54, 56-59, 74-78, 80-82, 84-89, 90-101, 105-113, 122, 127, 129-159
1982-1989

Series 3:  Informational ServiceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/25
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Independence (niepodlegosc), Free voice (Wolny glos), Worker (Robotnik)
1983
2/26
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Baza, War weekly (tygodnik wojenny), Smis
1983
2/27
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Letter of Solidarity, Independent Information Agency
1984
3/1
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Polish politics
1984
3/2
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Metrum
1985
3/3
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Note, Our news, Information Service
1986
3/4
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Nurt, SIS, Horizon
1987-1988
3/5
SIS (Service info of Solidarity), other monthlies/weeklies etc
Includes: Freedom (Wolnosc), Smis
1988-1989
4/6-8
Declarations
1989-1993

Series 4:  NewspaperReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/6
Here and Now
1985-1986

Series 5:  CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/7
Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian Relations
1984
3/8
Notes, letters and correspondences on the Polish-Lithuanian border situation, Yalta agreement
1984
3/9-11
Correspondence with Algimantas Gurecka
1984-1988
3/12-14
Correspondence with Krys Turlejski
1983-1987

Series 6:  Journal ArticlesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/15
Polish language Ukrainian Journal "Modernity" issues #3-4
Includes: Suczasnist\Сучасність
1988

Series 7:  ReportsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/16
Helsinki Committee in Poland
1984

Series 8:  InterviewsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/17
Interview with Stefan Staszewski
1981
3/18
Interview with Jakkub Berman
1981
3/19
Interview with Edward Ochab
1981

Series 9:  LiteratureReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
3/20-22
Poems, Prose and other cultural literature
Includes: Youth as it relates to different areas within the social, educational and political movements; Via gossip; Culture; New record (Nowy zapis); Solidarity (poems)
1981-1982

Series 10:  PublicationsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/1
Foreign publications
1982; 1987-1988
4/2
Polish Ukranian
Includes: Свічадо, Самостійник, Смолоскип
1985; 1988
4/3-5
English
approximately 1980-1999

Series 11:  Election bulletinsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/9
Election and other political law and referendums
1989-1991

Series 12:  PostersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/10
Election fliers for different statuets and candidates
Includes: List 2, 3, 7-9, 12, 17, 22, 23, 30, 32, 39, 41-43, 53-55, 57, 60, 61
1990-1991
4/11
Small posters and fliers
Includes: Elections '91, Easter Peace March, Europe without borders
undated
OS folder 1
Posters and flyers
33 items
Includes: Notice of the municipal electoral commission, Candidate for Senator, Christain Democratic Party, Underground publishing in communist Poland, and Mayor of the District South Prague in Warsaw
OS folder 2
Posters and flyers
15 items
Includes: Candidates for Senate, Elections '91, Confederation of workers

Series 13:  ArtifactsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
4/12
Stamps
undated
Box
6
Tea set
undated
7
Small artifacts
Includes: 25th anniversary coin, name tags, phone cards, lighter, pens, bottle opener, shirt, prison garb, postcard
undated

Series 14:  Music and filmReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
5
Record and DVDs
Includes: Friends of Solidarity Monthly "Dispatches from Solidarity", Songs from the Polish Labor Movement
1985

Series 15:  PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
6
A Solidarity rally in Seattle, Washington, Polish ambassador in Seattle
1983

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top