1968 Polish political crisis

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March events, Poland
Warsaw Uniwersytet tablica marzec 1968.JPG
The commemorative plaque at Warsaw University for 1968 students demanding freedom of speech
Date March 1968
Location Several biggest agglomerations across Poland, including Warsaw, Kraków, Lublin, Gliwice, Wrocław, Gdańsk, Poznań, and Łódź
Cause Pro-democracy protests. Political crisis within the authoritarian regime of PZPR

The Polish 1968 political crisis, also known in Poland as March 1968 or March events (Polish: Marzec 1968; wydarzenia, wypadki marcowe) pertains to the major student and intellectual protest action against the government of the People's Republic of Poland. The crisis resulted in the suppression of student strikes by security forces in all major academic centres across the country and the subsequent repression of the Polish dissident movement. It was also accompanied by a mass emigration following the antisemitic "anti-Zionist" campaign waged by the Minister of Interior, Gen. Mieczysław Moczar, with the approval of First Secretary Władysław Gomułka of the Polish communist party. The protests coincided with the events of the Prague Spring in neighboring Czechoslovakia – raising new hopes of democratic reforms among the intelligentsia. The unrest culminated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on 20 August 1968.[1][2]

The government's anti-Jewish campaign began already in 1967. The policy was carried out in conjunction with the Soviet withdrawal of all diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War – factory workers across Poland were forced to publicly denounce Zionism – and also involved a power struggle within the Polish party itself. The subsequent purges within the party, led by Mieczysław Moczar and his faction, failed to topple Gomułka's government, but resulted in an expulsion from Poland of thousands of individuals of Jewish ancestry, including professionals, party officials and the secret police functionaries blamed for the crimes of the Stalinist period.[3][4][5] Over 15,000 Poles of Jewish origin emigrated in 1968–72 as a result of job losses (being fired from their positions) and various forms of harassment.[6][7]


Protest in 1968 Europe[edit]

Political turmoil of the late 1960s – exemplified in the West by the increasingly violent protests against the Vietnam War – were reflected in the East by the events of the Prague Spring which began on 5 January 1968.[1][2] A growing wave of protests in Czechoslovakia marked the highpoint of a broader series of dissident social mobilization. The protests within the communist framework had a partial precedent in the Polish 1956 worker protests and the Polish October events. Numerous instances of protest and revolt, especially among students, reverberated across the continent in 1968.

A growing crisis of communist party control over universities, the literary community, and intellectuals more generally, marked the mid-1960s. In Poland, among those persecuted for political activism on campus were Jacek Kuron and Adam Michnik.

Polish student and intellectual protest[edit]

Origin of the unrest and theatre event trigger[edit]

The outbreak of the Mach 1968 unrest was seemingly triggered by a series of events in Warsaw, but in reality it was a culmination of trends accumulating in Poland over the several preceding years. The economic situation kept deteriorating and a drastic increase in the prices of meat went into effect in 1967. In 1968 the market was destabilized further by the rumors of an upcoming currency exchange and the ensuing panic. Higher norms were enforced for industrial productivity with wages reduced at the same time. First Secretary Gomułka was afraid of all changes. The increasingly heavy censorship stifled intellectual life, the boredom of stagnation and the mood of hopelessness (lack of career prospects) generated social conflict.[8]

At the end of January 1968, after its poor reception at the Central Committee of the communist Polish United Workers' Party, the government authorities banned the performance of a seminal Romantic play by Adam Mickiewicz called Dziady (written in 1824), directed by Kazimierz Dejmek at the National Theatre in Warsaw, on the grounds that it contained Russophobic and "anti-Soviet" references and represented an unduly pro-religion stance.[9] The play had been staged 14 times, the last time on January 30. The ban was followed by a demonstration after the final performance, resulting in numerous police detentions.[10] Dejmek was expelled from the Party and subsequently fired from the National Theatre. He left Poland and returned in 1973, to continue directing theatrical productions.[9]

In mid-February a petition signed by 3,000 people (or over 4,200)[11] protesting the censorship of Dziady was submitted to parliament by the student protester Irena Lasota.[10] Gathered for an extraordinary meeting on February 29, the Warsaw chapter of the Polish Writers' Union condemned the ban and other encroachments on free speech rights.[11] On March 4 the removal of dissidents Adam Michnik and Henryk Szlajfer from the University of Warsaw was announced by the officials. A crowd of some 500 rallying students (or about 1,000)[12] at the University on March 8 was met with the violent attack by the state-mobilized "worker squad" (probably plainclothes police) as well as police in uniform. Nonetheless, other institutions of higher learning in Warsaw joined the protest a day later.[10]

ORMO and ZOMO attack and its consequences[edit]

Historian Dariusz Gawin of the Polish Academy of Sciences pointed out that the March 68 events have been mythologized in subsequent decades beyond their modest original aims, under the lasting influence of the originally left wing Komandosi, a student political activity group. During the 1968 crisis, the dissident academic circles produced very little in the area of written accounts or programs, mostly because of the moral shock of the lies spread by the government (propaganda misrepresentations of the participants' intentions and actions) and the unexpectedly violent repressions. They also experienced an ideological shock, caused by the reaction of the authorities (aggression) and society (indifference) to their idealistic attempts to subject the People's Republic to revolutionary reform. The alienation of the reform movement from the ostensibly socialist system had begun.[13]

The students were naïve in terms of practical politics, but their leaders professed strongly leftist convictions, expressed in brief proclamations distributed in 1968 (following the spirit of the 1964 "revisionist" manifesto by Karol Modzelewski and Jacek Kuroń), demanding respect for the ideals of the Marxist-Leninist dictatorship of the proletariat and principles of socialism.[13][14] The students were singing The Internationale anthem (in later accounts, the founding mythology of Poland's civil society movement (late 1970s) and then of the establishment of the new democratic-liberal Poland would obliterate the socialist, leftist and revolutionary aspects of the March 1968 movement).[13][14] Therefore, the storming of Warsaw University by the (fake) factory workers came as a total surprise to the students.[13] The 1,000 participants (possibly many more) of the 8 March rally were met with violent beatings from ORMO volunteer reserve and ZOMO riot squads just as they were about to go home.[15] A demonstration of similar size originated on March 9 at the Warsaw Polytechnic and was also followed by confrontations with the police and arrests. Kuroń, Modzelewski and Michnik were imprisoned again and a majority of the Komandosi members were detained.[12]

Within a few days protests spread to Kraków, Lublin, Gliwice, Katowice, and Łódź (from March 11), Wrocław, Gdańsk, and Poznań (March 12).[16] The frequent demonstrations at the above locations were brutally suppressed by the police.[16] Mass student strikes took place in Wrocław on March 14–16, Kraków on March 14–20, and Opole. A student committee at Warsaw University (March 11) and an inter-university committee in Kraków (March 13) were formed, attempts to organize were also made in Łódź and Wrocław. Efforts aimed at getting industrial workers involved, for example employees of the state enterprises in Gdańsk, Wrocław and Kraków's Nowa Huta, produced no tangible effects.[16] But on March 15 in Gdańsk 20,000 students and workers marched and fought into the late evening the security forces of 3,700 men.[17]

A hardline speech by Władysław Gomułka on March 19 eliminated the possibility of government negotiations with the strikers, and, for many protest participants, extinguished the hope for a quick favorable settlement.[16] Gomułka sharply attacked the opposition leadership and named the few writers he particularly abhorred, but attempted to pacify the growing antisemitic wave, asserting that most citizens of Jewish origin were loyal to Poland and were not a threat. It may have been too late for this kind of argument and the carefully screened audience did not react positively. Afterwards Gomułka's remarks were criticized and the anti-Jewish campaign continued unabated.[18] The purges and resolutions of the power struggle at the party leadership level entered their accelerated phase.[16]

The actual university students comprised less than 25% of those arrested for participation in the opposition activities in March and April (their predominance was a part of the subsequent myth, wrote Łukasz Kamiński of the Institute of National Remembrance), while the leading role in the countrywide street protests was played mainly by young factory workers helped by high school students.[19]


A media campaign of besmirching the targeted groups and individuals was conducted from March 11. The Stalinist and Jewish ("non-Polish") roots of the supposed instigators were "exposed" and most printed press participated in the propagation of slander, with the notable exceptions of Polityka and Tygodnik Powszechny. Mass "spontaneous" rallies at places of employment and in squares of major cities got going at the same time. The participants demanded that "Students resume their studies, writers their writing", "Zionists go to Zion!", and Edward Gierek in Katowice on March 14 promised that "Silesian water will crush (...) bones".[20]

The mass protest movement and the repressions continued throughout March and April.[10][16] The revolt was met with dissolution of entire academic departments, expulsion of thousands of students[16] and many sympathizing faculty members, arrests and court trials.[21] National coordination by the students was attempted through a March 25 meeting in Wrocław; most of its attendees were jailed by the end of April.[16] On March 28 students at Warsaw University reacted to the firing of prominent faculty by adopting the Declaration of the Student Movement, which proposed a framework of mature systemic reforms for Poland, laying a conceptual foundation for the future nationwide opposition movement. The authorities responded by eliminating several university departments and enlisting many students in the military.[22] The student protest activities planned for April 22 were prevented by the arrest campaign conducted in Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław.[16]

At least 2,725 people were arrested just between March 7 and April 6.[16] According to internal government reports, the suppression was generally effective, although students were able to disrupt the May Day ceremonies in Wrocław. Except for the relatively few well-recognized protest leaders, the known participants of the 1968 revolt generally had not reappeared in the later waves of opposition movement in Poland.[16]

By mid-March the protest campaign spread to smaller towns. The distribution of fliers was reported in 100 towns in March, 40 in April, and, despite numerous arrests, continued even during the later months. Street demonstrations occurred in several localities in March. In different cities, the arrests and trials proceeded at different pace, in part because of the discretion exercised by the local authorities. Gdańsk had by far the highest rate of both the "penal-administrative procedures" and the cases that actually went to the courts. The largest proportion of the arrested and detained nationwide during the March/April unrest belonged to the "workers" category.[16]

A few dared to openly defend the students, including some writers, bishops, and the small parliamentary Znak group of Catholic deputies, led by Jerzy Zawieyski. Znak submitted an official interpellation on March 11, questioning the brutal anti-student interventions by the police, inquiring about the government's intentions regarding the democratic demands of the students and the "broad public opinion" and addressed to the Prime Minister.[21][8]

A Sejm session indirectly dealt with the crisis on April 9–11. The Radio Free Europe used the Znak interpellation for its propaganda, asserted Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz. Other speakers claimed that the interpellation was primarily aimed at getting the hostile foreign interests involved in Poland's affairs. Zawieyski spoke in a conciliatory tone, directing his comments and appealing to Gomułka and Zenon Kliszko, recognizing them as victims of past political persecution. He interpreted the recent beating by "unknown assailants" of Stefan Kisielewski, a Catholic publicist, as an attack on a representative of the Polish culture. The Communist leaders reacted by terminating Zawieyski's membership in the Council of State, a collective head of state organ, and banning him from holding a political office in the future. The participants in the public Sejm debate concentrated on attacking Znak and avoided altogether relating to the events and issues of the March protests, or their suppression (the subjects of the interpellation).[21]

The effectiveness of the ORMO interventions on university campuses and the eruption of further citizen discontent (see Polish 1970 protests) prompted the Ministry of Public Security to engage in massive expansion of this force, which at its peak in 1979 reached over 450,000 members.[23]

Political purges[edit]

The Soviet and Polish communists were troubled by the establishment of Israel and its ensuing success and worried by their perception of shifting loyalties of people of Jewish descent within the ranks of the communist parties and establishments. They saw it as their domestic component of the global Zionism problem.[14]

Gomułka (left) with Brezhnev (right), 17 April 1967, Berlin

As the Israeli-Arab Six-Day War unfolded in June 1967, Gomułka and Cyrankiewicz went to Moscow for a Middle East conference of communist leaders. The decisions made there (June 9) included the Warsaw Pact's continuation of military and financial support for the Arab countries and the breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel, in which only Romania refused to participate. A media antisemitic campaign commenced in Poland and after his return to Warsaw, on June 19, 1967 Gomułka proclaimed at the Trade Union Congress that Israel's aggression had been "met with applause in Zionist circles of Jews – Polish citizens." Gomułka specifically invited "those who feel that these words are addressed to them" to emigrate, but Edward Ochab and some other Politburo members objected and the statement was deleted before the speech's publication. Gomułka did not issue a call for anti-Jewish personnel purges, but the so-called "anti-Zionist" campaign got underway anyway, supported by his close associates Kliszko and Ignacy Loga-Sowiński. It was eagerly amplified by General Mieczysław Moczar from the Ministry of the Interior and some military leaders among others, who had long been waiting for an opportunity to 'settle with the Jews'. A list of 382 "Zionists" was presented at the Ministry on June 28 and the purge slowly developed, beginning with Jewish generals and other high-ranking officers of the Polish armed forces.[3][24]

Only about 200 people lost their jobs and were removed from the Party in 1967, including the chief editor of Trybuna Ludu, the Party's main daily newspaper. In 1968, 40 employees were fired from the editorial staff of the Polish Scientific Publishers (PWN). The major state publishing house had produced a number of volumes of the official Great Universal Encyclopedia. Moczar and others protested in the fall of 1967 the supposedly unbalanced treatment of World War II issues, namely the stressing of the Jewish martyrdom and the unique to that ethnicity Nazi death camp losses.[24]

In the words of Polish scholar Włodzimierz Rozenbaum, the Six-Day War "provided Gomułka with an opportunity 'to kill several birds with one stone': he could use an 'anti-Zionist' policy to undercut the appeal of the liberal wing of the Party; he could bring forward the Jewish issue to weaken the support for the nationalist faction (in the Party) and make his own position even stronger...", while securing political prospects for his own supporters.[25]

After Gomułka's initiation of the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda, the security services began screening officials of Jewish origin and looking for 'hidden Zionists' in Polish institutions.[3] In the June 1967 speech Gomułka warned of the existence of the "imperialist and Zionist fifth column" in Poland; such views he repeated and developed further in successive speeches, for example on 19 March 1968.[26][3] At that time the process of purging Jewish and other officials, ex-Stalinists, high-ranking rival communists, and moral supporters of the ongoing liberal opposition movement activity, was accelerated. Roman Zambrowski, Stefan Staszewski, Edward Ochab, Adam Rapacki and Marian Spychalski were some of the top echelon party leaders removed or neutralized.[3][6] Former first secretary Ochab resigned his several high offices to protest "against the antisemitic campaign".[27] On April 11, 1968 the Sejm instituted changes in some major leadership positions. Spychalski, leaving the Ministry of Defense, replaced Ochab in the more titular role as the Chairman of the Council of State. Wojciech Jaruzelski became the new Minister of Defense. Rapacki, another opponent of antisemitic purges, was replaced by Stefan Jędrychowski at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. A new higher education statute was designed to give the government greater control over the academic environment.[6]

Gomułka, who thought of revisionism rather than "Zionism" as the main "danger",[27] opportunistically and instrumentally allowed and accepted the anti-Jewish initiative of Minister Moczar and the secret services he controlled. The campaign gave Gomułka the tools he needed to combat the intellectual rebellion, prevent it from spreading into the worker masses (by "mobilizing" them and channeling their frustration against the stealth and alien "enemy"), resolve the party rivalries ultimately to his own advantage and stabilize the situation in Poland at the dangerous for the Party time of the Prague Spring liberalizing movement. Many Poles (irrespective of religious faith) were accused of being Zionists, expelled from the Party and/or had their careers terminated by policies that were cynical, prejudicial, or both.[3] Long (sometimes conducted over several days) party meetings and discussions at the end of March and in early April, within the various state institutions and enterprises, dealt with the "Zionism" issue and were devoted to the identification of the responsible and guilty (within the institution's own ranks), their expulsion from the Party and demands for their removal from the positions (jobs) they held.[14]

Attempts were made to steer the attention of general public away from the student movement and calls for social reform, centred around the defense of the freedom of speech for intellectuals and artists and the right to criticize the regime and its policies.[16] Moczar, the leader of a hardline Stalinist faction of the Party, blamed the student protests on "Zionists" and used the protest activity as a pretext for a larger antisemitic campaign (officially described as "anti-Zionist") and party purges. In reality, the student and intellectual protests were generally not related to Zionism or other Jewish issues.[7] The national strike call from Warsaw (March 13) opposed both antisemitism and Zionism.[28][17] One banner hung at a Rzeszów high school on April 27 read: "We hail our Zionist comrades."[16]

However, Gomułka warned that "Zionism and antisemitism are two sides of the same nationalist medal", and that communism rejects all forms of nationalism. Gomulka rejected the allegations of antisemitism, saying, "Official circles in the United States had involved themselves in the dirty anti-Polish campaign by making statements accusing Poland of antisemitism. We propose that the ruling circles in the United States check whether American citizens of Polish descent have ever had or now have the same opportunities that Polish citizens of Jewish descent have for living conditions and education and for occupying responsible positions. Then it would clearly emerge who might accuse whom of national discrimination." Gomułka went on saying that "Western Zionist centers that today charge us with antisemitism failed to lift a finger when Hitler's genocide was exterminating Jews in subjugated Poland punishing with death Poles who hid and helped the Jews."[29] The party leader was responding to the wave of Western criticism and took advantage of some reports published that were incompatible with the Polish collective memory of historical events, especially World War II and the Holocaust.[3]

The Moczar's challenge, often presented in terms of competing political visions (he was the informal head of the nationalist communist party faction known as "the Partisans"),[3] according to historian Andrzej Chojnowski reflected primarily a push for a generational change in the party leadership and on the levels of the multitude of other positions emanating from the leadership, throughout the country. By 1968 Gomułka was unpopular and had lost touch with the population he ruled; his public relations skills were very poor. Personnel changes, resisted by Gomułka, were generally desired and expected, and General Moczar, the competing party leader, was the alternative, even though he had not articulated a real leadership program of his own. Large numbers of second row (generally younger) party and state functionaries mobilized behind him, motivated by the opportunity to advance their lagging careers. Finding scapegoats and becoming their replacements in 1968 meant making progress in that direction. It could suffice to just say that someone was enthusiastic about the Israeli victory.[14] The Moczar faction's activity was one of the major factors that contributed to the 1968 uproar, but the overdue generational change within the Party materialized fully only when Edward Gierek replaced Gomułka in December 1970.[30] Moczar himself campaigned ruthlessly in an ultimately failed attempt to become Gomułka's replacement or successor.[3]

Emigration of Polish citizens of Jewish origin[edit]

In a parliamentary speech on 11 April 1968 Prime Minister Cyrankiewicz spelled out the government's official position: "Loyalty to socialist Poland and imperialist Israel is not possible simultaneously. (...) Whoever wants to face these consequences in the form of emigration will not encounter any obstacle." The departing had their Polish citizenship revoked.[3]

Historian David Engel of the YIVO Institute wrote: "The Interior Ministry compiled a card index of all Polish citizens of Jewish origin, even those who had been detached from organized Jewish life for generations. Jews were removed from jobs in public service, including from teaching positions in schools and universities. Pressure was placed upon them to leave the country by bureaucratic actions aimed at undermining their sources of livelihood and sometimes even by physical brutality."[31] According to Dariusz Stola of the Polish Academy of Sciences, "the term 'anti-Zionist campaign' is misleading in two ways, since the campaign began as an anti-Israeli policy but quickly turned into an anti-Jewish campaign, and this evident anti-Jewish character remained its distinctive feature".[3] The propaganda equated Jewish origins with Zionist sympathies and thus disloyalty to communist Poland. Antisemitic slogans were used in rallies. Prominent Jews, supposedly of Zionist beliefs, including academics, managers and journalists, lost their jobs. According to the Polish state's Institute of National Remembrance, "in each case the decision of dismissal was preceded by a party resolution about expelling from the Party".[26]

Most Polish Jews who claimed their nationality status at the end of World War II, including the Holocaust survivors who registered with the Central Committee of Polish Jews in 1945, had emigrated from postwar Poland already in its first years of existence. According to the David Engel's estimates, of the fewer than 281,000 Jews present in Poland at different times before July 1946, only about 90,000 were left in the country by the middle of 1947.[31] Fewer than 80,000 remained by 1951, when the government prohibited emigration to Israel.[32] Additional 30,000 arrived from the Soviet Union in 1957, but almost 50,000, typically people actively expressing the Jewish identity, left Poland in 1957–59, under Gomułka and with his government's encouragement.[31] Approximately 25,000–30,000 Jews lived in Poland by 1967. As a group, they had become increasingly assimilated and secular and had well-developed and functioning secular institutions.[3] Of the Jews who stayed in Poland, many had political and career reasons for doing so. Their situation changed after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and the 1968 Polish academic revolt, when the Jews were used as scapegoats by the warring party factions and pressured to emigrate en masse once more.[31] According to Engel, some 25,000 Jews fled Poland during the 1968–70 period, leaving in the country between 5,000 and 10,000 Jews.[31]

From the end of World War II, the imposed government, lacking strong popular support, found it expedient to depend disproportionately on Jews for performing clerical and administrative jobs and some Jews rose high within the political ranks.[31] Consequently – as noted by historian Michael C. Steinlauf – "their group profile ever more closely resembled the mythic Żydokomuna."[32][33] Many Jews held positions of repressive authority under the communist administration.[34] In March 1968, they became the center of an organized campaign to equate Jewish origins with Stalinist sympathies and crimes. The political purges, often ostensibly directed at those who had held office during the Stalinist era, marked by gross abuse of power and human rights law violations, affected all Polish Jews regardless of background. Prior to the 1968 outburst of heavy anti-Jewish propaganda, the Polish-Jewish relations had been a taboo subject in communist Poland. Available information was limited to the dissemination of shallow and distorted official versions of historical events, while much of the traditional social antisemitic resentment was brewing under the surface (despite the postwar scarcity of the Jewish targets), ready to be exploited, as it turned out.[3]

Most of the last wave (1968–69) of emigrants chose destinations other than Israel, which contradicted to some degree the government claim of their pro-Israeli devotion. Disproportionately in Polish society, they represented highly educated, professional and accomplished people.[7]

Over a thousand of former hardline Stalinists left Poland in and after 1968, among them former prosecutor Helena Wolińska-Brus and Stalinist judge Stefan Michnik.[35] The Institute of National Remembrance had investigated Stalinist crimes committed by some of the March 1968 emigrants including Michnik who settled in Sweden, and Wolińska-Brus residing in the United Kingdom. Both were accused of being an "accessory to a court murder" which is punishable by up to ten years in prison, as defined by Article 2.1 of the Journal of Laws of the Republic of Poland issued 18 December 1998.[36][37] As soon as Poland joined the European Union, applications were made for their extradition based on the European Arrest Warrants.[citation needed] The Polish requests were refused on humanitarian grounds under the statute of limitations.[38][39]

Between 1961 and 1967 the average rate of Jewish emigration from Poland was 500–900 persons per year.[26] In 1968, the total of 3,900 Jews submitted their applications for leaving the country. A year later, between January and August 1969, the number of emigrating Jews was almost 7,300, all according to records of the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The security organs maintained comprehensive data on persons with "family background in Israel" or of Jewish origin, including those dismissed from their positions and those who did not hold any official positions but applied for emigration to Israel.[26]

End of government campaign and aftermath[edit]

Ryszard Siwiec self-immolating in September 1968 at the 10th-Anniversary Stadium in protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia

In late April 1968 Gomułka realized that the campaign he unleashed had outlived its usefulness and was getting out of control, many participants became overzealous and complaints from various quarters multiplied. Ending it and restoring the normal party control and discipline took several weeks of repeated warnings and other efforts.[3]

The Fifth Congress of the Party took place in the autumn, under Gomułka' s active lead. His position was confirmed. General Moczar had to leave the Ministry of Internal Affairs that had been his power base and became only a deputy member of the Politburo. The old Jewish activists of the Party were gone, but other veterans remained, because the generational change in the communist leadership had only begun.[3]

A consequence of the protest events and their repercussions was the alienation of the regime from the leftist intelligentsia, who were disgusted at the official promotion of antisemitism and the adoption of nationalistic rhetoric.[40] Many Polish intellectuals opposed the government campaign, often openly. Another effect was the activity by Polish emigrants to the West in organizations that encouraged opposition within Poland.[7]

Inside Poland the alienation of the leftist intelligentsia had a long afterlife, and eventually contributed to the downfall of the Party dictatorship. Jacek Kuroń, twice a member of the communist party and an activist imprisoned for his role in the events, became a highly effective adviser of the independent workers' movement in Poland. More generally, the events, preceded by those in 1956 and followed by those of 1970, 1976 and 1980, showed that Poland, with its strong nationalist traditions, a civil society, and the never fully repressed Catholic Church, was the source of instability and weakness in the Eastern Bloc.

The antisemitic, anti-intellectual and anti-student campaign damaged Poland's reputation abroad, particularly in the West.[7][6] Despite the worldwide condemnation of the March 1968 repressions, for many years the communist government did not admit the antisemitic nature of the "anti-Zionist" campaign, though some newspapers were allowed to publish critical articles. Finally in 1988, the government officially acknowledged that the actions were antisemitic, although they were only labeled "political mistakes". After the fall of the communist rule, the Sejm issued an official condemnation of the antisemitism of the March 1968 events in 1998. In 2000, President Aleksander Kwaśniewski gave his own apology in front of a group of Jewish students "as the president of Poland and as a Pole".

On the 30th anniversary of their departures, a memorial plaque was placed at Warszawa Gdańska train station, from which most of the exiled people took a train to Vienna.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Excel HSC modern history By Ronald E. Ringer. Page 384.
  2. ^ a b Encyclopedia of the Cold War, Volume 1 By Ruud van Dijk. Page 374. Taylor & Francis, 2008. ISBN 0-415-97515-8. 987 pages.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Dariusz Stola. ""The Anti-Zionist Campaign in Poland of 1967–1968." The American Jewish Committee research grant. See: D. Stola, Fighting against the Shadows (reprint), in Robert Blobaum, ed.; Antisemitism and Its Opponents in Modern Poland. Cornell University Press, 2005.
  4. ^ The world reacts to the Holocaust By David S. Wyman, Charles H. Rosenzveig. Ibidem. Pages 120-122.
  5. ^ Michael Costello, The Political Fortunes of Mieczysław Moczar, report for Radio Free Europe, 2 June 1971. Open Society Archives. Scanned original in PDF.
  6. ^ a b c d Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991 [The Political History of Poland 1944–1991], pp. 346–347, Wydawnictwo Literackie, Kraków 2011, ISBN 978-83-08-04769-9 Book review at Historia.org.pl.
  7. ^ a b c d e Monika Krawczyk (March 2013), Nie zapomnę o Tobie, Polsko! (I will not forget you, Poland). Forum Żydów Polskich.
  8. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, p. 346
  9. ^ a b Monika Mokrzycka-Pokora (January 2003). "Theatre Profiles: Kazimierz Dejmek". Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d Adam Leszczyński, Marzec '68 [March 68]. 7 March 2014. Marzec '68. wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  11. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, p. 338
  12. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, pp. 339–340
  13. ^ a b c d Dariusz Gawin (19 Sep 2005), Marzec 1968 - potęga mitu. Ośrodek Myśli Politycznej.
  14. ^ a b c d e Barbara Polak, Pytania, które należy postawic. O Marcu ’68 z Andrzejem Chojnowskim i Pawłem Tomasikiem rozmawia Barbara Polak. Pages 1 through 14 of the Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, nr 3 (86), Marzec 2008. PDF file, direct download 4.79 MB.
  15. ^ Piotr Osęka (08.03.2008), Tak toczył się Marzec. Kalendarium wydarzeń sprzed 40 lat. Gazeta Wyborcza.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Andrzej Friszke, "The March 1968 Protest Movement in Light of Ministry of Interior Reports to the Party Leadership," Intermarium, Volume 1, Number 1, 1997; translated from Polish. Original published in Wiez (March 1994).
  17. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, p. 342
  18. ^ Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, p. 343
  19. ^ Łukasz Kamiński, Protesty studenckie. Historia. Marzec1968.pl IPN.
  20. ^ Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, pp. 340–341
  21. ^ a b c Andrzej Brzeziecki, Marcowy rechot Gomułki [Gomułka's March gurgle of laughter]. 12 March 2013. Marcowy rechot Gomułki. wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  22. ^ Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, pp. 344–345
  23. ^ Piotr Osęka (February 20, 2011). "Jak ORMO czuwało". Historia. Polityka.pl. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  24. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, pp. 334–336
  25. ^ Włodzimierz Rozenbaum, CIAO: Intermarium, National Convention of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, Atlanta, Ga., 8–11 October 1975.
  26. ^ a b c d Communiqué: Investigation regarding communist state officers who publicly incited hatred towards people of different nationality. Institute of National Remembrance, Warsaw. Publication on Polish site of IPN: July 25th, 2007.
  27. ^ a b Andrzej Leon Sowa, Historia polityczna Polski 1944–1991, p. 344
  28. ^ George Katsiaficas, The Imagination of the New Left: A Global Analysis of 1968, pp. 66-70.
  29. ^ New York Times. May 2, 1968
  30. ^ Andrzej Werblan, Miejsce ekipy Gierka w dziejach Polski Ludowej [The role of the Gierek's team in the history of People's Poland]. The role of the Gierek's team. Przegląd socjalistyczny www.przeglad-socjalistyczny.pl. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
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  32. ^ a b Michael C. Steinlauf. "Poland." In: David S. Wyman, Charles H. Rosenzveig. The World Reacts to the Holocaust. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8018-4969-1.
  33. ^ Steven Elliott Grosby, Athena S. Leoussi. Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations. Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Page 137-139. See also Michlic (2006), pp 271-277.
  34. ^ Szwagrzyk, Krzysztof (2005). "Aparat Bezpieczenstwa w Polsce. Kadra kierownicza. Tom I: 1944–1956 (The Security Service in Poland. Directorate. Volume One: 1944–1956)" (PDF direct download: 3.63 MB). Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), Warsaw. pp. 25, 59, 62, 535. ISBN 83-89078-94-5. Retrieved October 15, 2013. "A report written by the Soviet NKVD General Nikołaj Seliwanowski dated 20 October 1945 stated that 18,7% of the field operatives in the Stalinist Ministry of Public Security (Poland) were Jewish, including 50% of its departmental directors. According to him, all directors of the most notorious Department One were Jewish. Szwagrzyk used the existing records declassified after the Revolutions of 1989 to estimate that after the Soviet takeover of Poland the percentage of Jewish directors was 37.1%, decreasing to 34.5% in 1954-56, before the end of Stalinism in Poland. – Szwagrzyk, p. 59." 
  35. ^ Tadeusz M. Płużański, Stalinowscy uciekinierzy, Bibula, 2011, Baltimore-Washington, DC, ISSN 1542-7986, reprinted from Antysocjalistyczne Mazowsze, 2006
  36. ^ Witold Kulesza, Stenogram 32 posiedzenia Senatu RP. Retrieved on 8 May 2007
  37. ^ (Polish) Genowefa Rajman, ZBRODNIE KOMUNISTYCZNE W KONCEPCJI POLSKIEGO PRAWA KARNEGO, Wojskowy Przegląd Prawniczy, Number 1 z 2006 r.
  38. ^ "Nakaz aresztowania stalinowskiego sędziego już w Szwecji." Gazeta.pl, 27 October 2010, accessed 31 January 2011.
  39. ^ "Widow faces extradition over death of war hero." The Times, November 20, 2007. Retrieved November 22, 2007]
  40. ^ Roman Graczyk, Komunizm, intelektualiści, Kościół [Communism, intellectuals, the Church]. Komunizm, intelektualiści, Kościół. Tygodnik Powszechny tygodnik.onet.pl. Retrieved 30 March 2014.