Repressions of the
communist regime in Poland
Our Way to Freedom: from totalitarianism
REPRESSIONS OF THE COMMUNIST REGIME IN
After 1944 the communist government in Poland began to
victimize the society. Repressions were different, depending
on the times when they were carried out .
From 1944 to 1956 there were mass arrests and cruel
investigations, frequently ending with a death sentence.
Later on censorship was used as a form of repression as well
as wiretapping or creating obstacles in getting a job.
In 1968 Polish citizens of Jewish descent were taken under
repressions and forced to emigrate.
The culmination in the repressions system was the Martial
Law, implemented on the 13th of December 1981. Poles were
deprived of their civil rights, there was a limited possibility of
travelling inside the country, a few thousand people were
Internet and a curfew was implemented. Such a state of being
lasted for two years.
Poles for the whole period of PRL (Peoples Republic of
Poland) had to sustain heavier or lighter repressions.
Censorship in People’s Republic of Poland – the control of the authorities of the PRP
over information (the press, scientific and cultural publications) meant for distribution.
Censorship in PRP lasted from 1944 to 1990.
After the foundation of the Solidarity movement, a few newspapers appeared that
contained empty spaces blanked by the censorship. Then a bill was passed ordering that
those changes must be marked with four dots or dashes in square brackets,
e.g. [– – – –]. In spite of the introduction of the martial law in December 1981, the
regulation was generally followed until the end of the censorship in Poland in 1990.
Another aspect of censorship was jamming of foreign radio stations, thought to be
against the communist ideology, e.g. Radio Free Europe and Voice
The development of television and satellite television (in the 1980) significantly
influenced the decline of censorship and jamming.
This term was created in 1993. It was used for the first time in the title of the
exhibition "Cursed soldiers - anti-communist underground forces after 1944”
organized by the Republicans League at the Warsaw University.
They were Polish independent soldiers and members of underground anti-
communist forces. They fought with the communist regime, in order to bring
back freedom and independence for Poland.
Members of those Polish resistance movements actively operated on the pre-
war Polish territory (especially on the ground Grodno, Nowogrodek and
In the years 1944-1956 nearly 20,000 soldiers were killed and 200,000 were
The last known “cursed soldier”, Józef Franczak, was killed in an ambush as
late as 1963, almost 20 years after the Soviet take-over of Poland.
June 1947, (soldiers fighting against the communist regime) From left to right: Henry
Wybranowski "Tarzan" († 6 November 1948), Edward Taraszkiewicz "Żelazny" († 6 X 1951),
Mieczyslaw Malecki "Sokół" († 11 November 1947), Stanislaw Pakula "Krzewina" (sentenced to
many years in prison) .
SECURITY SERVICE (SB)
Security Service (SB) was entrusted by the communist
government to provide public order and safety in the
People's Republic of Poland. In fact, SB was the secret
police of the totalitarian system, it was confined to the
protection of the communist regime by controlling all
aspects of social life, breaking the rule of law and the fight
against the opposition.
EXPULSION OF STUDENTS
After the manifestations in March 68 communist officials arrested more
than 2,700 people, including 359 students. Many students were expelled
from university. On February 22 the leaders of the student movement
decided to organize a rally in defense of the students removed from
school. The authorities did not think about concessions and decided to
preventively arrest the leaders of the student protest. Despite that the
demonstrations took place. The protesters demanded the restoration of
the rights to the students and the exemption from prosecution for other
students. The rally was held in a peaceful atmosphere. That did not
prevent ZOMO (the riot police) from brutal pacification. In a few days the
protest spread to other Polish cities. Not only students fought but also
professors. Those who helped students were soon sacked from
universities they worked in.
Anti-Semitic campaign in 1968-72
Already in the mid-60s the leadership of the communist party began to build up
anti-Semitic tendencies. The situation was exacerbated by the so called The
Six Day War in which Israel defeated a coalition of Arab states. Poland,
following the Soviet Union supported the Arab states, and broke off diplomatic
relations with Israel. A campaign against the Jewish community began, which
was apparently detrimental to the interests of Polish citizens with Jewish origin.
The resulting situation was used by a group of the “guerrillas” centered around
their leader, Mieczyslaw Moczar. Proclaiming nationalist slogans and
particularly aggressively attacking people of Jewish origin (their actions were
compared to the former Nazi deeds), they wanted to take power at the expense
of the First Secretary at that time, Wladyslaw Gomulka.
After the party dealt with the students and scientists, there were further
persecutions of the Jewish people. More than 8000 members were expelled
from the Communist Party. As a result of the anti-Semitic campaign in the
years 1968-1972 20 000 people left Poland. However, it did not stop
nationalistic and anti-democratic tendencies in the country.
Martial Law in Poland 1981-1983 was a state of emergency introduced on December
, 1981 in the whole area of the Polish People's Republic (PRL), by virtue of the
resolution of the state on December 12th,
It was suspended on December 31st
, 1982 and abolished on July 22nd
, 1983. The
official reason of the Martial Law was the deteriorating economic situation, for
example the deficiency of supply in stores and the rationing (once again, from April to
October the system of the nutritional cards for meat, butter, fats, flour, rice, mild etc.
was valid) as well as the threat to energy security in the country.
The real reason was the fact that the communist regime feared losing its authority,
related to the loss of control of the independent trade unions movements, especially
‘the Solidarity’ movement.
On December 13th
at 00.00 am, branches of riot police (ZOMO) started a nationwide
arrests’ operation of opposition activists.
The communist government used 25% percent of the whole Polish military power to
concentrate in and around Warsaw. 70,000 Polish army soldiers attended the
introduction of the Martial Law as well as 30,000 officers of the Ministry of the Interior
together with 1750 tanks and 1400 armored vehicles, 500 infantry combat vehicles,
9000 vehicles and several squadrons of helicopters and transport planes.
Internment - the act of confining foreign citizens and foreign
troops in special internment camps. In Europe Polish troops, who
had escaped from Poland after they were defeated in September
1939, were interned in Romania, which was neutral in those
But the internment would also concern political opponents in
dictatorship, like in Poland in December 1981. After that when the
communist regime had put martial law, all leaders of the
Solidarity movement, like Lech Walesa, Władysław Frasyniuk or
Stefan Niesiołowski were confined in internment camps, which in
most cases were regular prisons.