Gdansk – 11

Another shocking event which placed the authorities in a bad light was the murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a staunch anti-Communist Catholic priest. After completing secondary education, Jerzy Popieluszko attended a seminary in Warsaw. He served his army duties in a special force designed to dissuade young men from becoming priests. This had no effect, as Popiełuszko continued his studies after leaving the army. In 1981, Jerzy Popiełuszko took part in demonstrations with strikers in the Warsaw Steelworks. His sermons criticized the Communist system and motivated people to protest. 

During martial law Catholic Churches were the only places where protests could be voiced openly. Popiełuszko’s sermons were broadcast by Radio Free Europe and became famous throughout Poland for their uncompromising stance against the regime. The Służba Bezpieczeństwa, or Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, tried to silence or intimidate him. When this didn’t work, they fabricated evidence against him; he was arrested in 1983, but soon released on intervention of the clergy and pardoned by an amnesty.

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