Gdansk – 8

The next room moves on to 1980. An economic crisis led to the Communist government authorizing an increase in food prices in the summer. Disturbances erupted throughout Poland. Workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk went on strike in mid-August, sparked by the firing of a crane operator, Anna Walentynowicz, who was regarded as a troublemaker by the shipyard management. 

Led by electrician Lech Wałęsa, the workers took control of the shipyard and demanded labour reform and greater civil rights including the freedom of expression and religion, and the release of political prisoners. The original 21 demands of the Interfactory Strike Committee written on plywood were hung on Gate 2 of the Gdansk Shipyard (this gate appears further along in the museum as it was destroyed by a T55 tank during a later period of Martial Law). In 2003, these demands were placed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. 

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