Krzysztof Grzelczyk

* 1957  

  • "In the year ’80 I acted in opposition, I was finishing my studies at that time, which then lasted 4 years. And in the summer of ’80 strikes began, first in June in Lublin, in August on the coast. I was in the process of writing my master’s thesis, and at the same time in the Committee for Social Self-Defence (Komitet Samoobrony Społecznej, KSS) in Wroclaw […], and in this Committee since June ’79 we had been publishing “the Bulletin of Lower Silesia”. And in this bulletin we wrote about what was happening in the country, earlier about those strikes in Lublin, about what was happening on the coat. We published special leaflets which were more of “up to date” ones, because the bulletin was published once a month and we had to inform people about what was happening on an ongoing basis. This is what our group was doing. We reprinted the demands of Gdansk. 21 demands—we handed them out at the factories. And finally a day came when this strike also, although with a long delay… broke out in Wroclaw on 26 August."

  • "The way I found out that this strike had broken out, and I found out in a simple way, because I went out in the morning and there were no vehicles on the roads. No trams. No buses. […] this was simply an expected massage and this is what I thought. I lived at Wieczorek Street, which today is called Wyszynski Street, and it was close to the tram depot at … street, Olbin depot. Slowinska Street, as far as I remember. And I just went on foot, from the house it was about 10-15 minutes to this place. And as I guessed, I saw tram drivers with white and red bands on their arms. I asked them about the obvious thing, because I knew that they went on strike, but I just asked them if the strike had broken out. They said yes, in the whole city, and that the strike headquarters is the VII Depot at Grabiszynska Street. I walk on foot, because there was no other way to go there. It took some time, on the way I met my friend, a student also acting in opposition. And together we approached the gate of the depot at Grabiszynska Street. We told a striker, also with an arm band, that we were students and that we wanted to join the strike. The gentleman let us in, we went to the strike committee. It was the first day of the strike. Some of our friends from opposition were already there, so we were quickly given credibility to."

  • "This atmosphere was also… I was among those people, who had to go outside every now and then, either to contact other work places, or to sort out some other matters. So this atmosphere in the city was noticeable everywhere. And even though the public transport didn’t function, which is an obvious difficulty for everyone, people took it in a cheerful manner. Private cars, the drivers stopped and suggested a ride. When they saw people standing at the bus stop a car pulled up, asked if anyone needed a lift, because the driver was actually going in this and this direction. They didn’t ask for money, of course. It was a common phenomenon. And when it all ended, this euphoria was reflected on the streets, next to newsstands, where people wanted to read what this agreement is all about etc. This waiting for change was so authentic and the belief that indeed something would change."

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    Wrocław, Polska, 09.11.2015

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“‘Solidarity’ it’s not just a trade union.”

Krzysztof Grzelczyk
Krzysztof Grzelczyk
photo: Ośrodek "Pamięć i Przyszłość"

Krzysztof Grzelczyk was born in 1957 in Krosno Odrzanskie. In 1978-79, he was the spokesman for the Student Committee for Solidarity in Wroclaw; in 1979 he was a co-founder and the spokesman for the Social Self-Defence Club in Wroclaw, and in 1980 the founder of the Independent Students’ Association of the Institute of Political Science at the University of Wrocław. In 1981, he was a managing editor of Radio Solidarity. Since 1978, he dealt with the distribution of Nowa’s publications. He printed leaflets & wrote texts for the Bulletin of Lower Silesia. He was interned during martial law and in the years 1985-1992, he lived in exile in Canada. After returning home, he held, among others, the position of office manager in the Security Office in the Marshal’s Office of Lower Silesia. He is the originator of Wrocław Solidarity Bridge programme that enables interaction of young people from East and West. He was involved in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, actively defending human rights in Belarus.