Znak (association)

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Znak (Polish: Sign, Symbol) was an association of lay Catholics in Poland, active between 1956 and 1976. It was the only Catholic organisation that was tolerated by the communist Polish United Workers' Party and supported the Catholic hierarchy.

It was created as one of several smaller groups that sprung up after dissolution of the communist-controlled association PAX of Bolesław Piasecki in 1956. It was granted with several seats in the Polish Sejm and was intended as a link between the Catholic Church and the state.[1] As such it was allowed to cooperate with various Western European catholic movements, among them the German section of the International Catholic Peace Movement Pax Christi.

It was composed of the members of Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej (Club of Catholic Intelligentsia) and journalists of Tygodnik Powszechny newspaper. Among the most prominent members of Znak were:

During the March 1968 anti-Semitic and anti-intelligentsia campaign of Władysław Gomułka, Znak was the only political organisation in Sejm to protest against it. In 1976 member of Znak, Stanisław Stomma, the single Znak member of the Sejm, was, through abstaining from voting, one of only two Members of Parliament not to approve the amendment of Polish constitution underlining the "leading role" of the communist party and the "eternal friendship" with the USSR.[1] As a reprisal the Znak was disbanded.[1]

A remainder of the group existed until 1980 when it was renamed to Polski Związek Katolicko-Społeczny, which like the Znak had representatives in the Sejm and continues today as a Catholic charity organisation. It was notable for its opposition to martial law in Poland. [1]


  1. ^ a b c Norman Davies (May 2005). God's Playground: 1795 to the present. Columbia University Press. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-231-12819-3. Retrieved 3 June 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Maciej Łętowski, Ruch i koło poselskie Znak 1957-1976, Katowice: Wydawnictwo Unia, ISBN 83-86250-10-0