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1980 Solidarity demands on display

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 01.09.2011 08:27
President Komorowski opened an exhibition, Wednesday, featuring two wooden tablets containing the handwritten list of 21 demands of the 1980 striking shipyard workers in Gdańsk at the Kordegarda Gallery in Warsaw.

In his address during the opening ceremony, President Bronisław Komorowski described the tablets as an important relic of Poland’s history, highlighting the nation’s pride in Solidarity, a movement which to this day remains a trademark of a free Poland.

The 21 postulates included trade union independent, the right to strike, the release of political prisoners, an end to censorship and religious freedoms including a nationwide radio broadcast of a Sunday mass.

In 2003, the Solidarity tablets were included in the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ Register of mankind’s most important documentary heritage, alongside the Declaration of Human Rights, documents from the French Revolution, manuscript scores by Brahms, Chopin, and Beethoven, and the Gutenberg Bible.

In 1981 the tablets were handed over to the Central Maritime Museum in Gdańsk. Fortunately, its management arranged for their replicas to be made.

After the introduction of martial law in December 1981 the communist authorities decided to confiscate the tablets but when the police came to the museum, they were given the replicas.

The original tablets were hidden at the attic of a museum employee’s house and were returned to the museum collection in 1996. (mk/pg)

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