Anniversary of 13th December 1981 – Declaration of martial law in Poland

The leader of the authoritarian communist government General Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in Poland on 13th December 1981.

On December 13, 1981 troops and armoured vehicles poured onto Poland’s streets, the country’s borders were sealed and thousands of Solidarity activists arrested as the communist authorities reasserted control after facing the prospect of revolution in Poland. Some 10,000 people were rounded up and about 100 died during martial law.

On December 16, 1981 the miners in the coal mine “Wujek” in Katowice, striking against the martial law, were attacked by the special units of security police and army (ZOMO, NOMO). They opened “the shoot to kill” fire at the strikers, killing nine of them and wounding 21 others. Their strike was suppressed. It was one of many similar anti-Solidarity and anti-Polish actions undertaken by the then communist regime. The communist repressions did not break the soul of the Polish nation. It took more than 10 years to get rid of the communist regimes not only in Poland but in other countries of the then Eastern Bloc. But the process of collapsing of communist power was begun in Poland.

We commemorate this important event which marks a crucial moment in modern Polish history.