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  • 14 August 2019

    August 14th marks the anniversary of the strike in Gdańsk Shipyard. The immediate reason for the strike was the disciplinary dismissal of Anna Walentynowicz, an activist of Free Trade Unions. Thursday, August 15 marks 90th anniversary of birth of Anna Walentynowicz.

    Anna Walentynowicz would be celebrating her 90th birthday in 2019, had fate not decided otherwise. In the 1950s, she got herself a job at the Gdańsk Lenin Shipyard, first as a welder and later as a crane operator, where she soon gained model-worker status. Nonetheless, she soon became disillusioned by socialism and the Communist regime in Poland. She got involved in workers’ protests, violently supressed in the 1970s, and later became a key member the Free Trade Unions of the Coast. It was her firing in August 1980 that inspired the strike at the Lenin Shipyard, which in turn ignited a wave of strikes that eventually gave birth to the Independent Self-governing Labour Union “Solidarność”, the first trade union in a Warsaw Pact country that was not state-controlled and the world’s largest to date. After the strike, she became a member of the founding committee of “Solidarność” but was later removed on false accusations as the conflict within the union deepened. She largely stayed away from politics after 1989. Walentynowicz died in the tragic plane crash near Smolensk on April 10, 2010. (



    photo source: European Solidarity Centre [CC BY-SA 3.0 pl (]

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