Dictionary of East European History since 1945

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and jailing of Solidarity leaders and their sympathizers. Typical was a letter to be read in the churches on December 20, in which the episcopate endorsed the movement for the self-organization of society as a balancing factor. Glemp had the letter withdrawn at the last moment. The church set up an aid program to help the families of those who had been arrested. In January 1982, Glemp once again appealed for restraint and peace. He agreed with Jaruzelski by declaring that Western sanctions made it more difficult to overcome the crisis. On January 21, a joint letter of the bishops were issued with Glemp's approval, demanding freedom for the entire nation. It asserted that peace and freedom are inseparable and demanded the freeing of all those who had been arrested.

There was, at the same time, a growing breach between the episcopate and the ordinary priests. Many of the priests sided with Solidarity from the beginning and were disappointed in the stand taken by Glemp and the bishops. Glemp, however, kept to the line he had originally introduced throughout martial law and even afterward. He had, therefore, lost a great deal of support in society.

After the collapse of the communist regime, the episcopate withdrew from politics, except for occasional forays into legislation concerning issues in which it was interested. These included efforts to make abortion illegal and plans for a convent to be built in the former concentration camp of Auschwitz. The latter brought Glemp into open conflict with Jewish organizations the world over. Pope John Paul II ordered the nuns to abandon the site, closing the conflict over the head of Glemp in 1993.


Monticone Ronald C., The Catholic Church in Communist Poland 1945-1985: Forty Years of Church-State Relations ( Boulder, CO, 1986); Ramet Pedro, Religion and Nationalism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ( New York, 1991).

Gomulka, Wladislaw (1905-1982). Gomulka was born to peasant parents. At the age of sixteen, he worked as a locksmith journeyman in the Polish oil industry. He became active in his trade union and soon joined the underground Communist party. In the 1930s, he worked as a professional union organizer. In 1932, during a minor strike in the city of Lodz, he was shot and severely wounded. After he recovered, he was tried and sentenced to four years in prison for subversion. He was released after two years and then traveled to Moscow where he studied at the International Lenin Institute. In 1936, he was sent to Poland where he was promptly arrested and sent back to prison on a four-and-a-half-year sentence.

Gomulka was released from prison when World War II broke out. He fought against the Germans in Warsaw and, after the defeat, went to southern Poland where he remained until 1941. In 1942, he joined the revived Polish Workers party (a new name for the Communist party) and was named secretary of its Warsaw branch. In December, he became a member of the party's Central Committee. In 1943, he became secretary general of the party in the German occupational area of Poland. He remained at that post until 1948.


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