How a well-known opposition leader evaded capture by the communist authorities for almost five years. Part of our mini-series The Final Curtain.
In the early 1980s, Zbigniew Bujak was the head of Solidarity in the Warsaw region, a pro-democratic labour movement that was gaining in strength. So much so, in fact, that the communist leadership declared martial law in December 1981 in order to stop the opposition dead in its tracks. Hundreds of political activists were arrested, including much of the leadership of Solidarity. But Bujak managed to go into hiding before they had a chance to find him. Making use of an underground oppositionist network as well as methods of masking his movements, he managed to evade capture for five years.
Keeping Zbigniew in hiding became crucial for the underground opposition since not only was he orchestrating anti-regime actions, but his continued freedom remained a symbol of the secret police’s weakness.
How did his hiding end? What was the long-term impact of his activity? What did freedom mean for Bujak himself? How does he remember the shift of power from his own perspective? You’ll find all the answers in the opening episode of Stories From The Eastern West’s new mini-series The Final Curtain.
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[01:45] Life in 1970s Poland [04:51] Zbigniew Bujak starts his anti-regime activities [09:47] Martial law [11:25] Going into hiding [17:17] Arrest. What next? [19:37] Glasnost: what it means, and what it meant for Poles [22:37] Communism is gone. Who takes over now?
Zbigniew Bujak // biography on Wikipedia.com
Poland's Walk to Freedom in 13 Iconic Photos // on Culture.pl
Solidarność: Poland, Word by Word // on Culture.pl
Posters of Solidarity from 1980 to 1989 // on Culture.pl
One Photo, One Story: The Round Table Talks // on Culture.pl
Written & produced by Wojciech Oleksiak Edited by Adam Zulawski Scoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak Hosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam Zulawski