Today marks the 40th anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law in Poland by the communist regime in its attempt to quash the Solidarity movement that by that point had grown to as many as 10 million members.
On December 13th, 1981, Poland’s communist ruler, Wojciech Jaruzelski, deployed the military to clamp down on opposition members that had been calling for democracy and freedom across the country. Dozens were killed, and thousands more faced persecution as political prisoners – some being held in prison for several years.
This state of Martial Law lasted until July of 1983, but Poland’s communist government ultimately failed in its effort to suppress the Solidarity movement and the Polish people’s drive towards liberty. Less than 8 years later, Poland’s communist regime was forced to hold partially free elections, which they subsequently lost to Solidarity candidates, setting the path to freedom.
On this day, we remember the thousands of brave Poles who fought for freedom, especially those who gave their lives and were imprisoned, as well as the many who were forced out of their homeland and found refuge here in Canada.