Saturday, December 10, 2011

full moon

For some reason all day today I had memory flashbacks... flashbacks from thirty years ago.

It was a cold and snowy Sunday morning on December 13, 1981. I woke up to find my country under Martial Law (literally - The State of War or "stan wojenny"). 

Thousands of Solidarity leadership and activists were arrested and imprisoned without court sentence. The borders were sealed, airports were closed and road access to main cities was restricted. Travel between cities required permission. Curfew was imposed between 10 pm and 6 am. Telephone lines were disconnected. Mail was subject to censorship. All trade union and other independent organizations were de-legalized. All TV and radio transmissions were suspended (except one government TV channel and one government radio station). Public administration, health services, power generation stations, coal mines, sea ports, train stations, and most of the key factories were placed under military management. The employees had to follow military orders or face a court martial. Classes in schools and at universities were suspended. 

From the early morning hours the only TV channel and the only radio station transmitted Gen. Jaruzelski's(our prime minister at that time) address . The anchors wore military uniforms. Only newspapers controlled by the Communist Party or the military were published. 

And there were tanks on the streets and soldiers... they were wearing Polish uniforms but could not speak Polish. (I know because one day I was pretending that I'm lost and asked for directions. The soldier look at me like a space cadet with cold eyes of a shark and said nothing. I swear he was Russian.)

A few days later there was no food in the grocery stores. Can you imagine walking into Safeway or Stop and Shop and see only vinegar on shelves? Well, that's what I saw. And I had two little children at that time... 
My memories are so fresh, just as all events happened yesterday. My eyes are dry but hands clenched into fists. 

I remember smuggling food from farms, even making my own booze! The life was so hard but we tried to make the best of it. Despite curfew hours the social life was booming, we just had to be careful not to get cut.

The Martial Law was suspended in the summer of 1983. 

So long my friends, I hope tomorrow I'll be in the lighter mood (today I can blame the full moon for my state of mind)


  1. I can't imagine going through any of what you did and having two little children.

    I am glad you shared this story with us. It makes me thankful for what I have today.

    You are an inspiration.


  2. I always find it fascinating to hear how people survive things like this .. and I agree that most folks wouldn't know how to cope in situations like this ... thank you for sharing your story ((((big hugs))) love mouse xxxxx

  3. We take for granted our freedoms... thank you for sharing this with us.

  4. Hi, returning the following.
    I was a teenager in 1981 and wasn't too aware of what was going on in Europe, at the time we were more concerned about the American airbases occupying our country with their nuclear weapons!! It's incredible that you were only just across the North Sea from us but your life was so different.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. As an American it's hard for me to imagine what you went through. Our country is so lucky not to have to deal with things like that and we too often forget that it continues to happen around the world. Thanks for sharing, even if it is an unhappy memory.

  6. I am sure that many read this with a common feeling,,,lost and so very grateful for having the freedoms which we did/do. Goes to show you that for every single instant in which we take life for granted, there are so many more who do not have those liberties.
    Thank you for sharing
    Be always in stitches.

  7. Goodness, Evalina, what memories! It is hard to imagine but must have been so worrying for you with your children to care for too. Hugs for better memories tomorrow!

  8. thank you for sharing this with us all..
    big (hugs) for you cucki xx

  9. Bless your heart. What a terrible thing to happen. I am so thankful for our freedoms.

  10. There is a saying "What does not kill us, makes us stronger" and you my friend are a strong woman.

  11. I found your Polish history very interesting and
    wonder how you made it through such a hard time.
    When did you leave Poland? Have you ever been back?
    Many blessings....

  12. I am so glad that is all behind you now. I am sure at the time you never saw a way out. Good for you for making it through and being a survivor and thank you for a reminder to me to be thankful every day for all the blessings I have.

  13. Thank you for sharing, Evalina. Your writing in English is excellent and made me feel as if I was there with you in 1981.

  14. Wow, that sounds like a scary, terrible experience.

  15. Wow! That must have been difficult for you. 1981 in Dec is when my last son was born. Dec 13th is Ron's birthday! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  16. Thank you for sharing some of your and your country's history. It is hard to believe how different things were relatively recent.


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