Martial Law Victims Remembrance Day in Poland Date in the current year: December 13, 2024

Martial Law Victims Remembrance Day in Poland Martial Law Victims Remembrance Day (Dzień Pamięci Ofiar Stanu Wojennego) is observed in Poland on December 13 each year. It was officially declared by a resolution of Sejm in 2002. Like other holidays declared by parliamentary resolution in Poland, it is a working day.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the economic decline in the Polish People’s Republic combined with the failure of the Edward Gierek government led to the emergence of organized opposition in the form of trade unions and student groups. In September 1980, labor activist Lech Wałęsa formed Solidarity, the first independent trade union in the Eastern Bloc.

In an attempt to destroy the union and crush political opposition, the government of Poland led by General Wojciech Jaruzelski introduced martial law. On December 13, 1981, Jaruzelski created the Military Council of National Salvation (Wojskowa Rada Ocalenia Narodowego, WRON) to administer the country during the period of martial law.

Martial law in Poland was accompanied by repression. Thousands of opposition activists were sent to jail without charge and about 100 were killed, mainly during strikes and demonstrations. Although the martial law was lifted in 1983, many of the political prisoners had to wait for 3 years until a general amnesty to be released.

After the fall of the communist regime in Poland, the parliament declared the imposition of martial law to be unconstitutional. In 2002, Sejm established Martial Law Victims Remembrance Day to honor the memory of those who were killed by the military junta.

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