39 years ago, on Sunday, December 13, 1981, at 6 AM, Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski through Polish Television and Radio, informed Poles about the introduction of the martial law. 

 

Right before midnight, the communist regime had started to arrest the activist of ‘Solidarity’. During a few days, in 49 internship centres, there were about 5 thousand people. On the streets there appeared the military and militia patrols, tanks, combat vehicles and armoured carriers. 

 

Among arrested, there was Krzysztof Wyszkowski who was in Grand Hotel in Sopot at that time. He and other activists of ‘Solidarity’ were accommodated there because of Country’s Commission meeting. 

 

‘We assumed that there would be a violent act. We heard that the Polish Parliament is going to adopt martial law. We got some information about the strength which is going to be used against us. We took all of it as the part of negotiations, pressure. I have to admit that on that day, on the 13th of December, then the whole building of Grand Hotel was surrounded by services, I had wonderful humour. I thought that this is the next part of negotiations and complete nonsense, the insanity of the communist regime’ – he said. 

 

‘I was arrested in my room together with Tadeusz Mazowiecki. Then, we were put into the prison cell in Strzeblink. I still thought that I would be asked to talk. I was waiting for that until the 17th of December. On that day, together with Tadeusz, we heard on the radio that there are losses of life in Wujek Coal Main in Katowice. It shocked us. I realized that it was not a negotiation, I was just too naive’ – told Wyszkowski. 

 

He admitted that he had been pretty sure that the communist regime would let go after a few months. ‘While sitting in a prison cell, we were talking about how long this situation may last. I was naively thinking about a few months, maybe a year. We had communists as opportunists, backsliders, not betrayers. (…) When the world kept on moving forward, Poland was put in jail for 8 years’ – he said. 

 

‘People who committed that crime were not sentenced. It was the other way round. Gen. Jaruzelski, the main unsub, became a President, Kiszczak became a Deputy Prime Minister, people of the Military Council of National Salvation (WRON) became Ministers. It was an over the acceptance of martial law’ – added Wyszkowski. 

 

According to him, 13 December should be a cautionary tale for Poles. 

 

‘This, what happened at the end of the XVIII century, the First Partition of Poland, Targowica, and later on the Second and Third Partition of Poland. These are the evidence that inside Polish society, there is an ability to self-destruction. The similar situation happened on 13 December. The martial law was a crime in the Polish nation. What’s more, this assassination still has its defenders. During previous days, when the Polish government was fighting for our sovereignty with the European Union, we could hear criticism from the opposition. This is the spirit of self-destruction. It is the legacy of those events’ – he added.