Instytut Pamięci Narodowej

Polish Months

June 1956



Work quotas are raised by 25% at the Joseph Stalin Works in Poznań (ZISPO). The following years bring further increases, in particular at W 3 Division.


At W 3 Division, a silent protest takes place.


Representatives of the W 3 Works Council hold talks with the Management Board of the Metal Workers’ Unions and the Ministry of Machine Industry (MPM) in Warsaw without the ZISPO Works Council acting as the intermediary.


ZISPO staff learn about the illegal procedures of payroll tax calculation.


According to the Security Office (UB), the atmosphere of discontent grows in ZISPO.


The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Poznań is notified of the illegal calculation of payroll tax.


The W 3 delegation goes to Warsaw for talks for the second time. New requests are added to existing demands that have not been addressed yet.


On April 21, an open meeting is held with Jerzy Morawski, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (KC PZPR), at which the style in which the workers’ concerns had been handled so far is criticized. In late April, the W 3 delegation goes to Warsaw for talks for the third time.


Representatives of W 3 staff meet twice with representatives of the Central Council of Trade Unions (CRZZ) and the Management Board of the Metal Workers’ Unions. A boisterous meeting is held in a barrack. The representatives of W 3 staff establish contacts with other ZISPO divisions and other Poznań-based companies.

June 8

The next meeting in W 3 is attended by Stanisław Pietrzak, Department Director in MPM, who promises that the issue of tax progression and the return of overpaid tax will be handled within ten days.

June 16

There are short work stoppages in W 3 Division.

June 21

A mass meeting held in W 3 elects delegates for talks with CRZZ representatives. There are demands for an explanation for the Minister Pietrzak’s failure to respond. The UB notes the atmosphere of discontent in other ZISPO divisions and at the Municipal Transport Company (MPK) as well as among railwaymen and employees of the Rolling Stock Repair Works (ZNTK).

June 22

Representatives of CRZZ and MPM come from Warsaw for talks with W 3 Division staff.

June 23

At a mass meeting in W 3, Jan Majchrzycki, the First Secretary of the Works Council of PZPR, announces that another delegation will be sent to Warsaw, this time representing the entire ZISPO staff.

June 25

At MPK, a mass meeting is held in response to raised work quotas and deteriorating working conditions. Upon collecting their wages, workers of Pomet and Wielkopolska Mechanical Devices Factory (WUFM) complain about both quotas and wages. In W 8 Division of ZISPO, the management convene a mass meeting to prevent a ‘work stoppage’ being organised by workers. 27 delegates are chosen to go to Warsaw the next day for talks.

June 26

In Warsaw, a ZISPO delegation holds talks at MPM, during which Minister Roman Fidelski presents a plan for meeting workers’ demands. A decision is taken to continue talks in Poznań the following day.

June 27

Upon their return to ZISPO, the delegates inform the staff that their demands have been met. Minister Fidelski and CRZZ representatives, Marian Czerwiński and Józef Bień, arrive at ZISPO. At a meeting with delegates, the Minister presents his opinion on what has been agreed the previous day. Rallies are held in all ZISPO divisions, attended by representatives of state authorities. In W 8, Zofia Błotna tries to go on strike, and some workers follow suit. At ZNTK, ‘strike tendencies’ have been around for a couple of days now. The strike is initiated by workers of VIII/o Division. At a mass meeting, workers demand a meeting with the Transport Minister. Leon Stasiak, the First Secretary of KW PZPR in Poznań, and Józef Pieprzyk, the President of the Board of the Provincial National Council, arrive at the works and attend the mass meeting. Czesław Rutkowski, one of strike organisers, is detained for 48 hours by the PUds.BP in Szamotuły.

June 28

:00 am: The staff of W 3 refuse to start work and gather in the hall. Workers then split into groups and go round other ZISPO divisions (W 2, W 4, W 6 and W 8). 6:35 am: ZISPO workers leave the plant and walk along Dzierżyńskiego Street towards the city centre. 6:35-9:00 am: Workers march down Dzierżyńskiego Street. At Wilda Market Place, some of them walk along Gwardii Ludowej Street and others go via Przemysłowa Street and Robocza Street to ZNTK. Both processions merge at Marchlewskiego Street. Workers of ZISPO, ZNTK and other Wilda-based companies cross the Dworcowy Bridge, and then walk along Rokossowskiego and Roosevelta streets and streets within the Jeżyce district, i.e. Zwierzyniecka, Kraszewskiego and Dąbrowskiego. Demonstrators are joined by staff from companies located in this district, including MPK, Poznań Textile Works, the M. Kasprzak Printing House, Mechanical Equipment Factory and WFUM. A section of the staff from the latter plant go to the State Cigarette Factory, and then march along Matejki, Berwińskiego, Wyspiańskiego and Rokossowskiego streets towards the city centre. At the same time, protesters who walked down Dąbrowskiego Street now take Fredry, 27 Grudnia, Ratajczaka and Czerwonej Armii streets heading to Stalin Square. Processions of workers from Grunwald and the right-bank part of the city (among others from the Poznań Harvesting Equipment Factory, Wielkopolska Vehicle Repair Plant, Lechia and Pomet) reach the square. Workers also arrive on flat-bed trucks, as well. 9:00-11:00 am: Demonstrators on the square in front of the Castle (seat of the City National Council, MRN) and chant slogans demanding that representatives of the authorities come out to meet them. A delegation is picked out from the crowd and goes to talk to Franciszek Frąckowiak, the MRN President. They request a visit of either Józef Cyrankiewicz or Edward Ochab, the First Secretary of KC PZPR. A group of protesters hangs out a white flag on the mast on the castle roof. After talks with the MRN President, the delegation goes to the KW PZPR building. In a conversation with Wincenty Kraśko, they once again demand that Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz comes to Poznań. Inspired by the delegates, Kraśko addresses the crowd. He says that Czesław Rutkowski had not been arrested and ZNTK employees resent it. The news about this detention quickly turns into a rumour that ZISPO delegates have been detained, and it is spread through announcements over megaphones from a seized patrol car of the Provincial Communications Board. The car was commandeered at Kościuszki Street by Deckert and Tomaszczyk, ZNTK workers. Around 10:00 am, a group of protesters enter the KW PZPR building again, where they take down red flags and hang out boards with slogans. Another group enters the building of the Provincial Headquarters of Civic Militia and tries to talk militia officers into joining the protest. Lieutenat Colonel Lipiński, the Head of the 10th Regiment of the Internal Security Corps (KBW), sends a group of soldiers under the command of Captain Herda to the building of the Provincial Office for Public Security (WUds.BP) to provide assistance in organising a defence of the building After 10:00 am, the crowd splits into two groups. One of them, encouraged by calls made over a megaphone of the radio car, goes to the prison at Młyńska Street. The second demonstration takes Kochanowskiego Street, where the WUBP building is located. Devices for jamming Western broadcasts are thrown down from the roof of the building of the Social Insurance Institution at Dąbrowskiego Street. Some protesters manage to break into the building of the City Committee of PZPR at Mickiewicza Street. Around 10:15 am, demonstrators arrive at Kochanowskiego Street. By this time, the first group has reached the prison at Młyńska Street. Protesters demand the gates to be opened. In order to scare away the crowd gathered in front of the prison, guards use water from hydrants. About 10:50 am, protesters storm the prison gates; a few manage to get over the walls using ladders and open the gate from the inside. Protesters barge into the prison, open prison cells and release 252 inmates. At the same time, UB officers spray water on demonstrators at Kochanowskiego Street; stones are being thrown at the WUds.BP building. Around 11:00 am shots are fired, the injured are taken to the Pawłow Hospital and Raszeja Hospital. 11:00 am-2:00 pm: Protesters at Młyńska Street enter the building of the District Court and the Prosecutor’s Office, throw files out on the street and burn them. Around 11:30 am, the armoury located in the prison building is seized; as a result, 80 units of weapons and ammunition is seized by demonstrators. About 11:00 am, the Head of the Military Academy of Armoured and Mechanised Formations (OSWPiZ) sends about 300 academy cadets along with 16 tanks, two armoured personnel carriers (BTR) and thirty vehicles to secure the designated buildings. On their way to the area of Kochanowskiego Street, a couple of tanks are set on fire by Molotov cocktails. Soldiers are forced to leave their vehicles. After 12:00 noon, another group is sent from OSWPiZ, comprising four tanks and two platoons of cadets. Around 12.30 pm, demonstrators seize two tanks and disarm their crews. At 1:00 pm, the Head of OSWPiZ talks to General Jerzy Bordziłowski, Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces. He then orders the recall of five platoons of cadets and thirteen tanks from Biedrusko military base. Before that, General Jerzy Bordziłowski puts the entire 2nd Armoured Corps, present on Biedrusko military training ground, on battle alert. In the area of Kochanowskiego Street, an exchange of shots intensifies and the siege of the UB building continues, as the building is fired on from over 20 gun sites. 2:00-6:00 pm: Around 2:00 pm, a group of people, headed by General Popławski, arrives at Ławica airport; he takes over the command of the order-keeping forces in Poznań. At 3:00 pm, the Head of OSWPiZ sends a task force, recalled from Biedrusko, to the area of the WUBP building; it includes eight tanks and 120 cadets. Subunits meet with strong resistance from demonstrators, however. Eventually, cadet groups manage to enter the surrounded building after over two hours, and at 5.30 pm an external ring around the WUBP building is closed. After 4:00 pm, units of the 2nd Armoured Corps join in. By this time, armed groups have disarmed the Military Department at the Higher School of Agriculture (at 2:30 pm), 8th Civic Militia station at Junikowo (at 3:00 pm), Military Department at the Medical Academy (at 3:30 pm), 5th Civic Militia station at Wilda (at 4:00 pm) and Civic Militia stations in Swarzędz (at 5:00) pm and Puszczykowo (at 6:00 pm). By 6:00 pm, the first to enter Poznań were the units of the 19th Armoured Division and the 2nd Armoured Corps. 6:00–9:00 pm: Armed groups of protesters disarm the Prisoners’ Camp in Mrowino (at 6:30 pm), Military Department at the Poznań University of Technology (at 7:00 pm) and a Civic Militia station in Mosina (at 7:30 pm). Around 8:10 pm, there is a shooting in Czempiń, as an attempt to disarm the Civic Militia station fails. In Poznań, in particular around the WUds.BP building, fighting with security forces continue. Around 8:00 pm, units of the 10th Armoured Division and the 2nd Armoured Corps arrive in the city. In Środa Wlkp., inhabitants gather at the Market Square, in the vicinity of the District Committee of PZPR in the afternoon and the evening. A KBW unit on its way to Poznań is held for a while. After 11:15 pm, militia disperse those who have gathered. At 9:00 pm a curfew is introduced in Poznań, lasting until 4:00 am the following day.

June 28/29

9:00 pm – 4:00 am: Despite the curfew, street fights continue in a couple of places in Poznań, mainly around Kochanowskiego Street and the Castle. After 1.30 am, large-scale detentions begin. Detainees are taken to the ‘filtering point’ at Ławica. At 10:00 pm, units of the 4th Infantry Divisions of the 2nd Military Corps arrive in Poznań from a training camp in Wędrzyn.

June 29

At 4:00-5:00 am, units of the 5th Infantry Division of the 2nd Military Corps enter Poznań. Units of the 4th Infantry Division are sent to ZISPO and deployed in the area of the Poznań International Fair and Dąbrowskiego Street and Polna Street. The tasks of units of the 5th Infantry Division include: protection of the WUBP building, KBW barracks and ZNTK, street patrols and smashing resistance centres, which lasts until about 5:00 pm. Some units are sent to factories in Luboń that also went on strike. A majority of factories in Poznań do not start work. There are strikes in various companies in Luboń, Swarzędz and Kostrzyn. In the afternoon, a few thousand protesters on Dąbrowskiego Street try to approach the WUBP building. Upon noticing tanks deployed there, the crowd disperses. In Swarzędz, the army prevents a march of protesters to Poznań. At 7:30 pm, Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz makes his radio address, in which he threatens that enemies of the people’s government will have their hands chopped off.

June 30

Bus, tram and trolley bus transportation is totally restored. In certain companies, strikes continue (among others in ZNTK, the Poznań Automotive Equipment Works and the Poznań Saddlery Works), in others the attendance is poor. Until late at night, shots can be heard in different parts of Poznań. At the Citadel, official funeral ceremonies take place, attended by the Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz and Edward Gierek, the Secretary of KC PZPR. In the afternoon, most military units start to be withdrawn from the area of Poznań.

July 3

The filtering point at Ławica closes its operation.

July 8

According to official estimates, 658 people are detained until this date. Civic Militia bodies detained over 88 people. 98 people are handed to the prosecutor’s office and 11 people to the juvenile court. 48 people released pending trial and316 are released due to lack of evidence. 185 detainees are handed to public security bodies.

Home Calendary September 27

The ‘trial of three’ begins at the Provincial Court in Poznań, with sentences passed on October 8, 1956. On the same day, the ‘trial of nine’ begins, with the sentence passed on October 12, 1956.

October 5

The ‘trial of ten’ begins, only to be interrupted as the Provincial Court in Poznań returns the case files to the provincial prosecutor for further completion on November 3, 1956.

October 12

By this date, 41 indictments against 123 persons have been sent to the Provincial Court in Poznań. At this time, the prosecutor’s office withdraws ten cases against 12 people from the court, while five cases against seven detainees continue to be investigated.

October 19 -21

The 8th Plenum of KC PZPR is held in Warsaw, at which Władysław Gomułka is elected the First Secretary. In his speech, he re-evaluates the June uprising in Poznań.

June 6

Władysław Gomułka visits the H. Cegielski’s Works. In his speech, referring to the events from the previous year he says: „Tragic accidents do happen even in families. And even though a family that has experienced such misery cannot ever forget it, it always tries to draw a mournful curtain of silence over its tragedy as much as possible”.


Official commemorations of the first anniversary of the June 1956 Poznan uprising. The Municipal Committee for 28 June Anniversary Commemorations is established. Wreaths are laid on the graves of the dead. Services are organised at HCP and ZNTK, as well.