The protest in the Wujek mine began 3 days after the introduction of martial law in Poland and receiving information that the head of the company’s Solidarity Jan Ludwiczak was arrested. The Pacification of Wujek on December 16, 1981 intended to break the Solidarity union after the introduction of martial law in Poland in 1981.
Pro-Solidarity miners attacked by the troops of the Polish communist army and police. The communist forces used Zomo (riot police) supported by ORMO (police reservists) and they used against the protestors water cannons, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks. A commando-type special platoon of ZOMO opened the shoots. Nine miners died: Jan Stawisiński, Joachim Gnida, Józef Czekalski, Krzysztof Giza, Ryszard Gzik, Bogusław Kopczak, Andrzej Pełka, Zbigniew Wilk and Zenon Zając, 22 were wounded and the number of those who were slightly injured or poisoned with tear gas is unknown.
Pacification of Wujek mine was the worst communist crime during the martial law period in Poland.
By Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska