Instytut Pamięci Narodowej

Polish Months

December 1981


Atanda – in prison jargon, a special unit of prison guards armed with helmets, clubs, and shields, intended for the pacification of all types of rebellions, frequently used against internees and political prisoners.

"Azalia" – codename for an operation conducted during the night from December 12-13, 1981, during which the military and units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs took control of radio, television, and telecommunication buildings, and severed telephone connections.

"Bibuła" – an underground pamphlet – a popular description of underground publications, first used towards the end of the 19th century.

Television boycott – the boycott of the official mass media by actors, constituting a sign of their opposition against the activities of the authorities.

Second press circulation – existing from the mid-1970s, as an alternative to the official press.

Extreme – designation of the radical element of NSZZ "Solidarity", commonly used in official propaganda.

Antisocialist element – propaganda description of the enemies of the authorities of the People's Republic of Poland.

Curfew – ban on moving about without a special pass, in force during the first months of martial law between the hours 22:00 – 6:00, in certain regions also periodically in other hours.

Internat – boarding school – popular name for an internment center.

Internment – a form of repression applied commonly during the period of martial law, consisting in the isolation of selected people (on the basis of a decision of the provincial militia commander) in internment centers (camps), commenced during the night from December 12-13, 1981. In total, by December 1982 some 9,736 people found themselves in internment camps, while some on two or even three occasions.

"Jodła" – the codename of an operation carried out during the night from  December 12-13, 1981, during which the Security Service and militia interned, on the basis of previously prepared lists, a few thousand people, primarily activists of NSZZ "Solidarity" and the opposition.

(Ration) cards – vouchers enabling the purchase of certain goods in specific quantities. In 1981, rationing (limited sale) was reintroduced in the People's Republic of Poland for certain foodstuffs. The system of a card-based sale was developed during martial law, and covered numerous foodstuffs as well as industrial goods (e.g. shoes, gas, and cigarettes).

"Klon" – the codename of an operation commenced on December 13, 1981, during which "warning talks" were held with persons suspected of readiness to engage in activities directed against the martial law authorities.

Military commissars – plenipotentiaries of the National Defense Committee, army officers, who exercised formal authority over numerous workplaces and institutions following the introduction of martial law.

Koksownik - a coal drum – a basket made of iron bars, in which fragments of coke were burned; in December 1981, coke drums placed on city streets were used by soldiers and militiamen for heating purposes during frosty weather.

Flower crosses – one of the most popular, spontaneous forms of manifesting opposition to martial law. They were arranged in public places in order to commemorate the victims of the communist regime.

Loyalty declaration – a written obligation to not engage in opposition activities; NSZZ "Solidarity" activists were forced to sign such documents following the introduction of martial law.

Militarization – during martial law, the provision of a military nature to certain key enterprises and institutions (e.g. state railways, mines, and armament factories), in order to avoid the organization therein of strikes and other protests. Work in militarized enterprises was governed by military regulations.

Neo-trade unions – the popular name given to new trade union, totally dependent on the authorities, which were established from October 1982, when all the existing trade unions - NSZZ "Solidarity" first and foremost - were disbanded. Citizens' National Salvation Committees (Obywatelskie Komitety Ocalenia Narodowego, OKON) – WRON support committees, created from the beginning of 1982, grouping mainly PZPR activists. In July 1982, they were taken over by the Patriotic Movement for National Salvation (PRON).

All-Polish Resistance Committee (OKO) – the first nationwide underground structure, established in January 1982 by members of the Presidium of KK NSZZ "Solidarity" – Andrzej Konarski and Eugeniusz Szumiejka. Its activities came to an end in April 1982 following a difference of opinion between the underground leaders and the establishment of the TKK.

Resistor – an electronic device worn on the clothing during martial law; this was the most popular symbol of opposition to the authorities.

Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth (PRON) – an organization established in July 1982 by activists of PZPR, ZSL, SD, and pro-government Catholic organizations, which functioned as a facade for the authorities; it replaced the Front of National Unity. The activities of PRON were to be used as proof of the allegedly widespread support of society for the authorities. The organization ceased to exist in November 1989.

Fighting Solidarity – a radical underground group, established in June 1982 inWrocław, following a difference of opinion within the Regional Strike Committee. In a short time, the activities of Fighting Solidarity became nationwide; its leader was Kornel Morawiecki.

Interim Coordination Committee of NSZZ "Solidarity" (TKK) – the administration body of the underground, established on April 22, 1982 by Zbigniew Bujak, Władysław Frasyniuk, Władysław Hardek, and Bogdan Lis. The TKK was in existence until October 1987, grouping representatives of the most important regions.

Verification – the process of removal from numerous professions of "Solidarity" supporters, it covered, among others, journalists, teachers, and university lecturers.

Military Council of National Salvation (WRON) – an extra-constitutional body that exercised the greatest authority during the period of martial law; made up of high-ranking officers of the Polish Army. The WRON, made up of 22 members, was headed by General Wojciech Jaruzelski.

Mechanized Reserves of the Citizens' Militia (ZOMO) – created in 1957 as special, barracked militia units, intended, among other things, for quashing mass street protests.

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