Title: POLSKA Sierpień 1980 sierpień 1989
Photographer(s): Erazm Ciołek
Writer(s): Łukasz Kaminski, Stefan Bratkowski, Andrej Oseka
Designer(s): Tadeusz Kazubek
Publisher(s): Editions Spotkania, Warszawa, Poland
Language(s): Polish, English
Size: 21 x 29 cm
Print: IPS, Warszawa, Poland
Nation(s) and year(s) of Protest: Poland, 1980 -1989
Over 250 photos were used in the album, illustrating the history of Poland from the strikes in the Gdansk shipyards in August 1980 to the parliamentary elections of 4 June 1989.
The first strikes in the summer of 1980 were a reaction to the meat and sausage price increases introduced by Edward Gierek's then ruling team.The strike in the Gdansk shipyards was organised by activists of the Free Trade Unions of the Coast, established in 1978. Bogdan Borusewicz, Andrzej Gwiazda, Bogdan Lis, Anna Walentynowicz, Lech Wałęsa and Krzysztof Wyszkowski.
It was in defence of Walentynowicz, a crane operator dismissed from his job for opposition activities, that a strike broke out in several shipyard departments on 14 August 1980. It was planned and prepared by Borusewicz and initiated by workers associated with WZZ: Jerzy Borowczak, Bogdan Felski and Ludwik Prądzyński. Soon Lech Wałęsa, dismissed from his job in 1976, also turned up at the site. He led the strike.
The wave of strikes in August 1980 led to the creation of NSZZ "Solidarity" - the first legal trade union organisation in the communist countries, independent of the authorities. The signing of agreements in Gdansk on 31 August 1980 between the government commission and the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee and the rise of Solidarity marked the beginning of the transformations of 1989: the overthrow of communism and the end of the Yalta system.