The exhibition in both cities was opened by the President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Jarosław Szarek, Ph.D. He was accompanied by the director of the National Education Office, Adam Hlebowicz, and the director of the IPN’s Gdańsk Branch, Prof. Mirosław Golon. The ceremonial opening of the exhibition in Gdynia and in Gdańsk was preceded by laying flowers at the monuments dedicated to the victims of December 1970.
The celebration of the 40th anniversary of the founding of "Solidarity" was inaugurated by the Institute of National Remembrance on 1 July 2020 in Mielec. On 1-2 July 1980, the Polish Aviation Works (WSK-PZL) in Mielec were one of the first factories to begin a solidary social rebellion against the communist authorities in Poland, organizing the first of the large-scale workers' demonstrations in the summer of 1980.
This unique exhibition, consisting of the main exhibition and its branch counterparts, gives a detailed account of the nationwide mass strikes taking place in Poland in July, August and September 1980, and the emergence of "Solidarity" in almost every corner of our country. The texts on the exhibition panels are both in Polish and English.
The towns and cities where the exhibitions are and will be presented will subsequently form the 'White and Red Trail: “This is where “Solidarity” was born” all over Poland. The routes of all regional exhibitions will converge on 28 August 2020 during the vernissage in Warsaw. Millions of people, who very often have remained anonymous, participated in the great victory of Polish “Solidarity”. It is by means of this exhibition that we would like to pay tribute to them.
On a global scale, the founding of "Solidarity" was one of the most significant events of the end of the 20th century.
In August 1980, on the outskirts of the communist Soviet empire, a great, peaceful movement was born. It was soon joined by almost one in three Poles! With its 10 million formal members, “Solidarity” became the largest trade union in the world.
"Solidarity" was the result of dreams, suffering and actions of Poles, starting from the Accursed Soldiers, through the youth underground of 1949-56, to participants of the "Polish months" of June '56, Millenium '66, March '68, December '70, and June '76. The activity of the Church, under the leadership of Primate Stefan Wyszyński, also greatly contributed to the establishment of "Solidarity". It also resulted in the pontificate of John Paul II and his first pilgrimage to Poland in 1979.
In 1980, Polish "Solidarity" gave rise to the collapse of the Soviet empire and satellite communist states on four continents. The world shaped by the Cold War after 1945 was rebuilt. The effect was the liberation of many countries, such as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Georgia, from the Soviet influence or occupation. Thanks to the breakthrough initiated by “Solidarity”, it was also possible to unite Germany. Polish "Solidarity" symbolizes the triumph of peaceful spiritual strength over the materialistic communist empire of evil.