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35th Anniversary of the Anti-communist Uprising in Lubin

As far back as the 1950s, Lubin and its environs were the least developed and populated part of Lower Silesia. The region was modernized, however, after the discovery of copper deposits in the area and the establishment of the Copper Mining and Metallurgical Complex, which funded many infrastructural activities. Residential estates, streets, schools and commercial establishments were built in Lubin. The Communist government was convinced that as it was a model city of that political system, the people of Lubin were also thinking along the accepted lines. All the more so, since the activities of the Solidarity movement in the Copper Basin between 1980 and 1981 did not indicate that the biggest centre of social resistance in this part of Poland, except for Wrocław, would be located here.

However, the scale of the strikes after the introduction of martial law, as well as the determination of the workforces of the mines and the “Głogów” copper works, showed that this region would not be socially passive. Following the pacification of the “Rudna” mine in the early days of martial law and the acts of the planting of small explosives, which were unheard of outside this region, the authorities feared that unrest could erupt here on 31 August 1982 on the 2nd anniversary of the August Agreements.

Indeed, demonstrations swept across all the cities of the Copper Basin. This was also the case in Lubin, although it wasn’t the largest demonstration. The demonstrators chanted the slogans of “Free the internees” and “Lift martial law”. The manifestation was initiated by the Solidarity activist Stanisław Śnieg. He delivered a speech in which he called for the release of all persons imprisoned for political reasons.

The intervention aimed at dispersing the demonstrators was carried out by the Citizens’ Militia (Milicja Obywatelska) and the units of the riot police – ZOMO (Zmotoryzowane Odwody Milicji Obywatelskiej). In the first phase of the riots they fired chemical agents at the demonstrators, and subsequently used firearms with live ammunition. The reasons for these developments still have not been explained. Over twenty people were wounded, including seven seriously. Three people were killed: Andrzej Trajkowski, Mieczysław Poźniak and Michał Adamowicz.

The unrest continued in Lubin for 48 hours – 15,000 residents demonstrated on 1 September, and almost 5,000 people demonstrated the following day. There were riots and unrest. In order to stem the rising tide of protest, more than 1,000 uniformed officers were brought from outside the voivodeship, and the city of Lubin itself was isolated from the rest of the country for seven days.

Until the present day, not all the perpetrators of this massacre have been punished.

The events in Lubin are symbolically represented in a photograph by Krzysztof Raczkowiak, which depicts the dying Michał Adamowicz carried by a group of men. The photograph is a silent witness to those events.

The obverse of the coin depicts a red and white sash against the background of the silhouettes of three men, symbolizing the victims of the events in Lubin.

On the reverse of the coin we see the outlines of three male figures, next to whom there are three symbolic bullet marks, a sash and two carnations lying on the pavement.

Marek Zawadka, PhD