SOLIDARNOSC!

This shirt was worn by Polish prisoners during the Russian/Polish Solidarity Movement (1980-1989). It was donated to the museum in May 2013 by Janusz Duszynski of Poland.

Solidarity, a non-government trade union, began on 14 Aug 1980 at the Lenin Shipyards (now Gdansk Shipyards) at its founding by Lech Walesa and others.   In the early 1980s it became the 1st independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country, giving rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members.   It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism. 



Donor Janusz Duszynski was jailed for his activism and spent more than 4 yrs in Potulice, a prison near the Kashubian region.   Each cell held 8 men and the walls were often covered with ice during the winter. Solidarity never left the hearts and minds of the prisoners.  They crafted colorful designs on their prison shirts that depicted images of the Solidarity logo, union log, factory logo, their prison block number and the signatures of the imprisoned.  This shirt was made in prison and smuggled out by Janusz's wife Teresa.



This historic banner hung in the entryway to Solidarity's Gdansk headquarters at the Lenin Shipyards in 1989 and consists of a piece of weathered white cloth, measuring approximately 53" x 25.75", adorned with the logo of the movement, the word "Solidarnosc" in red with a Polish flag flying from the "N".  

Above the logo are the signatures of ten Cold War-era world leaders including British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who signed on October 30, 1999; U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; President Václav Havel, the tenth president of Czechoslovakia and, later, the first president of the Czech Republic; U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz, who signed on October 30, 1999; Polish-born Pope John Paul II, who signed in Polish; President Lech Walesa, the co-founder of Solidarity, 1983 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and second president of Poland who signed on September 23, 1999; U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who signed on October 30, 2001; Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union who signed on January 11, 2001; and U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who signed on October 30, 2001. In addition, a Polish 100 zotych banknote signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan has been attached. President Reagan was unable to sign due to his failing health. A matted portrait of each signer is mounted to the foam board surrounding the banner. Accompanying the banner are nine original color photos of each of the signers (excluding Reagan). The photographs with Quayle, Thatcher, Bush, Schultz, and Gorbachev show each of them in the process of signing the banner. 

(on long-term loan to the museum)