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    Poland commemorates the 39th anniversary of the introduction of martial law by the communists

    Today, Poles commemorate the 39th anniversary of the introduction of Martial Law on December 13th 1981. More than 100 political dissidents were killed during martial law, which lasted to the summer of 1983 and more than 10.000 were interned by the communist regime.


    On the night from December 12th to December 13th, martial law was introduced in Poland by the communist government. The announcement was made by the Polish Radio at 6 am.

    “It was Sunday, just as today. I woke up in the morning, turned on the radio to see what time it was and then walked to the clerics. Suddenly I heard a weird speech, president Jaruzelski was saying something about martial law, I had no idea what he meant.” stated father Jan Sikorski from the St. Joesph parish in Warsaw. 

    Poles were mortified to hear the speech by communist president Wojciech Jaruzelski, who announced the state of war in the country. 


    “I declare that today, the army council of national salvation has been constituted. The council of state, obeying the constitution, declared a state of war, at midnight, on the territory of Poland.” were the words general Jaruzelski used in his speech.

    The day prior, the communist authorities had already begun arresting members of the “Solidarity” movement and other opposition activists. Tanks rolled out to the streets, curfew was introduced and strikes were brutally dispersed with batons and water cannons. Demonstrations took place in Warsaw, Cracow and Gdańsk, as well as other major Polish cities. Andrzej Rozpłochowski, a legendary “Solidarity” activist who was imprisoned during martial law, disproves the theories that the communist authorities wanted to protect the country from a Soviet intervention.

    “It was Jaruzelski and Kiszczak who asked the Kremlin to intervene and help them; they said they wouldn’t handle it on their own.” said Rozpłochowski. 

    The spirit of the Polish nation during this difficult time was held up to a large extent by the Catholic Church. The disobedient priests were often silenced by the communist authorities. Among them was the beatified father Jerzy Popiełuszko, priests Stanisław Suchowolec, Sylwester Zych or Stefan Niedzielak. Their deaths haven’t been explained to this day. Historian Tadeusz Płużański told us about the investigation regarding father Popiełuszko.

    “It is worth remembering the investigation led by prosecutor Andrzej Witkowski, who tried to establish what had happened for decades. He managed to uncover a criminal scheme at the top of the communist government which led to deaths of freedom activists. He was removed from the investigation twice. The blocking of this case says a lot about the Third Republic of Poland.” commented Płużański. 

    70 thousand soldiers, 30 thousand officers of the Citizens’ Militia and nearly 2 thousand tanks were used during martial law. The state of war was suspended a year later, on December 1st, and recalled in the summer of 1983. It is estimated that several dozen to several hundred people lost their lives as a result of the brutal actions of the officers of the Security Services.  


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