Peacefully

In August 1980, the workers did not leave their workplaces. Ten years earlier, in December 1970, they protested in the streets. It ended tragically for them: their blood was shed, 41 people died.

Peaceful action was made possible by the VALUES & ATTITUDES adopted by the strikers, which built the ethos of the Solidarity movement and became its brand, recognisable all over the world.

The striking workers acted with a sense of FREEDOM.

Human beings are born and live free, says a slogan on the roof of Gdańsk Lenin Shipyard, in reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

They were convinced that all people are EQUAL.

Justice and equality for the whole nation, says the banner that hung on the wall of the striking Gdańsk Lenin Shipyard.

They KNEW THEIR OWN VALUE.

Citizens began to feel empowered not only to protest against the communist system but also to act in line with what they believed was right. It was a very high-stakes game. This was evident to both the striking workers and journalists from Western countries reporting on the events in Poland that electrified the whole world.

Many HAD FAITH IN A HIGHER POWER.

Masses and daily prayers brought together people on both sides of the Shipyard gate. The ceremonies lifted the strikers’ spirits and cemented the new community. Non-believers also attended.

They were PATRIOTS, they REMEMBERED THE PAST.

Love of the homeland, concern for its continuity and sovereignty strongly motivated the strikers, although no demands to change the political system were made directly.

The cross at Gate No. 2 of Gdańsk Lenin Shipyard, standing where the shipyard workers had died 10 years before during the 1970 December revolt. It was put up as an announcement that the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970 would be built. The Monument was unveiled already in December 1980.

WITH HOPE, they took matters into their own hands.

The desire for change was immense, inspired, among others, by the support that Pope John Paul II gave to his compatriots during his pastoral visit to his homeland in 1979, reminding them of their inalienable right to a dignified life.

We’ll tell you about those events
About those days full of hope
. . .
About those people who felt
That they now had a home
In solidarity fighting for today
And for tomorrow, for you too

Krzysztof Kasprzyk wrote in Piosenka dla córki (Song for My Daughter), which became one of the strike ballads.