Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview

13,000 individuals were under the care of Caritas. About 400 physicians and uncounted nuns and priests also worked for the organization. The church was worried that priests who worked for Caritas might become allies of the communist authorities just as many of those who worked for PAX and ZNAK eventually did. But the numbers of collaborators were, in both of these cases, relatively small, and the state, although it would have liked to use Caritas for its own purposes, did not succeed in the effort.


Bibliography

Bromke Adam, Poland's Politics: Idealism vs Realism ( Cambridge, MA, 1967); Simon Maurice D. , and Kanet Roger E., eds. Background to Crisis ( New York, 1982).

Committee for the Defense of Workers (KOR). This oppositional organization was established in 1976 by volunteer intellectuals attempting to assist workers who had been arrested by the communist authorities in Radom during a strike as well as workers in other cities who had supported their fellow workers' movement. The committee provided lawyers for the accused workers who had been charged with crimes against the state. It organized support for their families and petition drives for the reinstatement of those who had been fired because of their participation in the strikes.

The committee also organized campaigns for the dismissal of corrupt officials and factory managers and demanded an investigation of police brutality against the striking students and other young people. The committee demanded the release of those who had been arrested for their political activity, and a general amnesty for the demonstrators. Its members informed foreign journalists of the abuses of human rights committed by communist officials and the police. The problem of the committee was that most of its members were intellectuals, and that they had few direct contacts with other social groups. The workers were wary of the committee until its intentions became quite clear.

After Poland signed the Helsinki Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, KOR was succeeded by the Committee for Self-Defense and other oppositional groups. All of them functioned openly in accord with the Polish constitution. The authors whose works were published by the opposition wrote under their real names. They published uncensored newspapers that were ostensibly underground publications, but were openly promoted.


Bibliography

Andrews Nicholas G., Poland 1980-1981: Solidarity Versus the Party ( Washington, DC, 1985; Misztal Bronislaw, Poland After Solidarity: Social Movements Versus the State ( New Brunswick, NJ, 1985).

Communist Front Organizations. Communist parties everywhere favored setting up so-called mass-organizations in order to provide the appearance of mass public support for their policies. These organizations were used in countries where the Communist parties succeeded in acquiring a monopoly of political control in order to

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