Instytut Pamięci Narodowej

Polish Months

June 1989


10 January

Soviet Union: In Vilnius 50,000 protesters demand the independence of Lithuania.

11 January

Hungary: The Parliament passes legislation granting freedom of assembly and of association.

15 January

Czechoslovakia: The first of a series of demonstrations is organised in Prague to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the self-immolation of Jan Palach; the authorities respond with repression; Václav Havel is sentenced to 9 months in prison.

17 January

Poland: The 10th plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza), facing the threat of the dismissal of the Party’s leadership, permits trade union pluralism, i.e. the re-legalisation of the “Solidarity”.

30 January

Poland: In Białystok “unknown perpetrators” murdered Father Stanisław Suchowolec, a priest supporting the opposition.

6 February

Poland: The onset of the Round Table talks; after the plenary meeting, participants start to work in working groups. German Democratic Republic: Chris Gueffroy is shot during an attempt to escape from East Germany; he is the last victim of the Berlin Wall.

8 February

Bulgaria: The Independent Confederation of Labour “Podkrepa” (Nezavisima federatsiya na truda “Podkrepa”) is established.

11 February

Hungary: The plenary assembly of the Central Committee of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt) gives its permission for a multi-party system.

12 February

Soviet Union: An interview with Lech Wałęsa is published in the “Novoye Vremya” weekly.

15 February

Soviet Union: The withdrawal of the last units of the Red Army from Afghanistan.

16 February

Soviet Union: 300,000 people take part in an independence demonstration in Vilnius.

23 February

Bulgaria: 102 intellectuals sign a letter to express their solidarity with the imprisoned Václav Havel.

10 March

Romania: Radio Free Europe broadcasts the “Letter of Six” criticising the politics of Ceauşescu; the letter was written by communist activists left out by the dictator.

15 March

Hungary: A large opposition demonstration in Budapest to commemorate the Revolutions of 1848.

16 March

Bulgaria: The Orthodox Committee for Religious Rights Protection (Komitet za zashtita na religioznite prava, svobodata na syvestta y dukhovnite tsennosti) is established.

22 March

Hungary: The Round Table of the Opposition is founded, consisting of the eight most important opposition groups.

26 March

Soviet Union: Elections for the Congress of People’s Deputies (Sjezd narodnych deputatov); many independent candidates are elected, including several dissidents.

5 April

Poland: The Round Table talks come to the end; an agreement is signed stipulating, inter alia, legalisation of the “Solidarity” (“Solidarność”) and organisation of partially free parliamentary elections.

9 April

Soviet Union: Military special forces brutally disperse an independence demonstration of Georgians in Tbilisi; 19 people are killed.

17 April

Poland: Re-registration of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarity” (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy “Solidarność”).

25 April

Hungary: The Soviet Army starts to withdraw.

7 May

German Democratic Republic: Communal elections in GDR; blatant election fraud is one of the factors consolidating the opposition movements.

8 May

Poland: The first issue of “Gazeta Wyborcza” (Election Gazette) is published; it is the first independent daily newspaper in the East-Central Europe.

16 May

Poland: In Cracow, three days’ violent demonstrations start; protesters demand free elections and the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Poland.

19 May

Bulgaria: Pacification of the Turkish minority protest results in 7 fatalities.

23 May

Poland: The refusal to register the Independent Students’ Union (Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów) triggers a series of demonstrations and strikes at universities.

4 June

Poland: The first round of partially free parliamentary elections; candidates of the “Solidarity” win 160 out of 161 possible seats in Sejm (Lower House of the Parliament) and 92 in the Senate; prominent representatives of the authorities on the “National List” suffer a crushing defeat.

4 June

China: The army massacres students protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing; thousands of people are killed, mass reprisals destroy the democratic reforms movement.

13 June

Hungary: The onset of the “Triangular Table” talks.

16 June

Hungary: A quarter of a million people in Budapest take part in the funeral of Imre Nagy and his comrades.

18 June

Poland: The second round of elections; candidates of the “Solidarity” win the last free seats in Sejm and 7 additional seats in the Senate (in total 99 out of 100); with a very low attendance, candidates of the governing coalition with guaranteed seats are elected to Parliament.

23 June

Bulgaria: The application to register the Independent Association “Ecoglasnost’” is rejected.

29 June

Czechoslovakia: Charter 77 members start to collect signatures under the petition “A Few Sentences” (alluding to the petition “Two Thousand Words” of 1968); 40,000 people signed the petition by November.

30 June

Poland: In Warsaw a demonstration is organised by radical opposition groups, including the Fighting Solidarity (Solidarność Walcząca) and the Federation of Fighting Youth (Federacja Młodzieży Walczącej), under the slogan “Jaruzelski must go!”; at the same time similar protests are organised all over the country.

6 July

Hungary: The posthumous official rehabilitation of Imre Nagy’s; János Kádár dies on the same day.

11 July

Poland: “Unknown perpetrators” murder Father Sylwester Zych, a priest supporting the opposition.

19 July

Poland: With a one vote majority, General Wojciech Jaruzelski is elected the President.

21 August

Czechoslovakia: Demonstrations in Brno and Prague commemorating the 21st anniversary of the invasion of the Warsaw Pact armies; slogans include “Long live Poland”, “Long live Hungary”.

23 August

Soviet Union: Hundreds of thousands of Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians form a “human chain” connecting the capitals of the three republics on the day the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact was signed.

24 August

Poland: Sejm appoints Tadeusz Mazowiecki as the first non-Communist Prime Minister; he forms a coalition government with all parliamentary forces.

4 September

German Democratic Republic: The first of a series of weekly opposition demonstrations organised after holy masses in St. Nicolas church in Leipzig.

11 September

Hungary: The border with Austria is opened to make it possible for thousands of GDR citizens to escape.

18 September

Hungary: The “Triangular Table” talks come to an end; the most important arrangement is to organise free parliamentary elections.

22 September

Poland: Registration of the Independent Students’ Union (Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów).

7 October

Hungary: The Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party (Magyar Szocialista Munkáspárt) is dissolved; it is replaced by the Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt).

7 October

German Democratic Republic: 40th anniversary of the State; in 18 cities protests are organised; protesters chant, inter alia, “Gorbi, Gorbi!”

18 October

Hungary: Amendment to the constitution introducing the multi-party system.

18 October

German Democratic Republic: Dismissal of Erich Honecker; Egon Krenz becomes the new Secretary General of SED.

28 October

Czechoslovakia: Several thousand people protest in Prague.

3 November

Poland: The Czechoslovak Independent Culture Festival, organised by the Polish-Czechoslovak Solidarity (Solidarność Polsko-Czechosłowacka), starts in Wrocław; it is a meeting of artists living in the country and in emigration with several thousands of young people from Czechoslovakia.

4 November

German Democratic Republic: Over 500,000 people protest in Berlin.

9 November

German Democratic Republic: The announcement that the border with the Federal Republic of Germany will be opened leads to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

10 November

Bulgaria: Todor Zhivkov is removed from the position of the Secretary General of the Bulgarian Communist Party (Balgarska komunistitscheska partia); he is replaced by Petar Mladenov.

12 November

Soviet Union: The Supreme Council of Estonia declares the country occupied by the USSR.

17 November

Czechoslovakia: Students’ peace demonstration is brutally attacked by the police; onset of the “Velvet Revolution”; students’ strikes start on the following day.

18 November

Bulgaria: Onset of mass demonstrations in Sofia.

26 November

Hungary: Disputes between the authorities and the opposition are settled in a referendum.

27 November

Czechoslovakia: A two-hour general strike shows the strength of the opposition and forces the authorities to make concessions.

7 December

German Democratic Republic: Onset of round table talks. Bulgaria: Opposition groups form the Union of Democratic Forces (Syuz na demokratitschnite sili).

10 December

Czechoslovakia: Gustav Husák resigns his position as the President; he is replaced by Václav Havel on 29 December.

15 December

Bulgaria: Amnesty is declared.

16 December

Romania: Riots ensue after the removal of a popular pastor László Tőkész in Timişoara; in the following days the army uses weapons, tens of people are killed.

21 December

Romania: Nicolae Ceauşescu organises a rally in support of his policy in Bucharest; the rally turns into a demonstration; fighting breaks out in the capital.

22 December

Romania: Ceauşescu flees Bucharest; the National Salvation Front (Frontul Salvării Naţionale) takes over.

25 December

Romania: Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena are executed after they are sentenced to death by a military tribunal.

29 December

Bulgaria: Abolition of the legal discrimination of the Turkish minority. Poland: The constitution is changed; provisions guaranteeing the leadership role to the Polish United Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza) are removed; the traditional national emblem (the crowned white eagle) and the name of the state (Republic of Poland) are reinstituted.