Decades before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the Polish people’s massive aid to Kyiv, Poland itself endured life under the menacing shadow of the great power to its East.
But in August 1980, when Lech Walesa jumped the wall at the Gdansk shipyards to join striking workers, Poland saw the launch of the Solidarity free trade union, which sought to reclaim rights from Soviet-imposed communism. In the months that followed, 10 million Poles embraced the democratic revolution, a feat still echoing today in neighboring Ukraine..
This is the gripping story of EYE ON SOLIDARITY.
Polish-American journalist Sonya Zalubowski arrived in Warsaw in 1981, holding a student visa and hoping to search for ancestral connections – but most intent on recording the historic moment. Working underground in a nation reeling from shortages as Moscow squeezed supplies, she reported on the Poles’ hardships and fortitude and smuggled her stories out by diplomatic pouch via a sympathetic diplomat at the U.S. Embassy.
The pace of events quickened – with Solidarity staging a national warning strike even as Soviet tanks rolled across Polish borders in military exercises. Zalubowski’s reporting became more open, putting her in jeopardy of being found out by the dreaded secret police.