30 years ago today, on December 13, 1981, Martial Law was imposed on Poland. We had just fled Poland a couple of short weeks before.
I cannot imagine what my parents must have been going through. I was born in June of 1980. The following month, general strikes began to ripple their way across Poland. Wroclaw was an important center of this movement.
I know in the textbooks in Amerika, Gdansk is the city mentioned in regards to Poland's Solidarity movement. But the textbooks like to sum things up in a neat one to two sentence note about anything having to do with Poland and that summary really doesn't do the movement, that historical movement, or Poland for that manner, any justice.
Perhaps you have never heard of the Orange Alternative or Pomarańczowa Alternatywa. Let me give you a brief tidbit about it.
The Orange Alternative was a new option that made it easier and safer for more people to peacefully protest the Communist regime. Basically, they drew graffiti art and slogans referring to dwarfs (krasnoludki) and wore orange hats like dwarfs in mass gatherings and other such activity. None of it was illegal and if they were arrested, it made the arresting officers look like ridiculous because they would be arresting people for wearing dwarf hats. It was a brilliant idea...
I cannot imagine how my parents must have felt, watching events unfolding around them with a brand new baby girl.
I plan to share some photos tomorrow that I found which were sent to us by family and which I believe have to do with that movement.
Links You Might Find Useful:
New York Times Article: "Dec. 13, 1981 | Poland Cracks Down on Solidarity Movement"
Poland Cultural Institute of New York article about film "The Orange Alternative"
Not An Alternative
Wikipedia's Orange Alternative
Wikimedia's Dwarves in Wroclaw (photos)