Public benefit organisation
00-031 Warsaw, Szpitalna 5/5 street,
tel. 828 91 28 w. 141, 826 35 98, fax 828 91 29,

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The Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity Foundation is member of the Zagranica (Abroad) Working Group -  

History of Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity

Solidarita Polsko-Cesko-Slovenska
Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity
Solidarność Polsko-Czesko-Słowacka

   Polish Czech-Slovak Solidarity was created in October 1981 when members of independent circles - Charta 77 in Czechoslovakia, KSS KOR and "Solidarity" in Poland signed in conspiracy an act of mutual cooperation. The aim of Polish Czech-Slovak Solidarity (formerly Polish Czech Solidarity) was exchanging information about democratic ideas in Poland and Czechoslovakia and communists’ repressions against dissidents.

   Declaring the Marshal Law in l3th of December 1981 and connected with it closing of the borders caused four months delay.

   Years 1983 and 1984 were devoted to creating a network of places in which independent publications and printing equipment could be transferred. Thus PCSS members began a systematic action of exchanging information through mountain verdure areas called "green border". A network of couriers was established. They carried forbidden literature, documents instructions and printing materials through the mountains.

   In the autumn 1983 inspired by PCSS a protest against a being prepared trial of late KSS KOR dissidents is sent to Polish government.

   Until 1984 Prague and Wroclaw are main centres of PCSS; in 1985 also Brno and Warsaw are included.

   Year later a group of Czech and Slovak forbidden literature translators is established. A new series of literature is being created under the title "A Collection of Independent Czech and Slovak Literature" including works of Bohumil Hrabal, .Josef Skvorecky, Vaclav Havel and Jan Pelc. In the meantime an archives of independent publications are being collected.

   In January 1987 in Brno a member of VONS (Committee Supporting Unfairly Prosecuted), a signatory of Charta 77 and a member of PCSS Petr Pospichal is arrested. He was charged of spreading independent Polish press and having links with members of illegal "Solidarity". The Poles began to collect signatures under the petition demanding letting the Czech dissident out of prison. The document was passed to Czechoslovak Embassy in Warsaw.

   In the same time in Podkowa Leśna a mass in that intention was celebrated. After that a cycle of lecture concerning Czechoslovak independent movements was begun together with Czechoslovak samizdat exhibition.

   On l6th of April in the centre of Wroclaw PCSS organized a thousandwitnesses demonstration against Petr Pospichal being arrested. Militia arrested all organizers that after 48 hours were released and had to pay 25 to 50 thousand zlotys for provoking the incident. During the demonstration some liflets saying: "SOS for Pospichal" were distributed in Wroclaw. The action exposed the underground organization.

   1987 was a tenth anniversary of establishing Charta 77. To commemorate this PCSS released a calendar and a series of post stamps which positively sneaked into the current, official circulation. It forced Czech minister of Post and Communication to forbid to deliver letters with those stamps. Despite that a PCSS stamped letter was delivered to Petr Pospichal in prison.

   In July 1987 after many-hours meeting, on Polish-Czechoslovak border Circle of PCSS Friends is established. The declaration was signed' by over 20 democratic dissidents from both countries; among others: Vaclav Havel, Petr Uhl, Jan Carnogursky, Jacek Kuroń, Zbigniew Romaszewski and Zbigniew Bujak.

   PCSS starts their own publishing activities on both sides of the border, exchange of information is being continued, several work meetings on the border take place. Writing about those meetings one must enumerate names of Mieczysław 'Ducin' Piotrowski and Zbigniew Janas who frequently organized those meetings making the safety "transfers" of underground press, books and printing materials possible.

In September 1987 on "Friendship Route" under Snieżka mountain PCSS together with the movement "Freedom and Peace" organized an ecological action "Save Karkonosze Mountains".

   In December 1987 a first issue of PCSS Bulletin was released (regularly printed to 1989). The first book of Independent Czech and Slovak Literature Collection was "I served the English King" by Bohumil Hrabal translated by Piotr Godlewski then "Excerpts from Auto memoir" by Josef Skvorecky, "Questioning" by Vaclav Havel, "...and it'll be worse" by Jan Pelc.

   In March 1988 PCSS began the action "Patronage" addressing to all the citizens and organizations to support political prisoners and their families in Czechoslovakia (analogous action was organized in Czechoslovakia). It was propagated by PCSS Bulletin. There were new addresses of political prisoners and their families in new Bulletin issues, also information about those who joined the action on the both sides of the border.

I   mportant action was the demonstration in front of Romanian Embassy in Warsaw by PCSS. It was a reaction upon February 1988 massacre in Timisoara.

   In 1988 the repressions against democratic dissidents in Czechoslovakia and against members of "Freedom and Peace" strengthened. PCSS in Wroclaw and Prague proclaimed hunger strike. It lasted prisons was said. PCSS also passed the petition signed by 3500 people for Catholic Church in Czechoslovakia and ' in 1988/89 initiated mutual actions of young Catholics in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

   In July 1988, during one of the big meetings in the mountains a declaration was signed in the 20th anniversary of Warsaw Pact invasion in Czechoslovakia.

   In September 1988 The Conference of Human and Citizenship Rights was held in Cracow. There were also members of PCSS present. The only one representative from Czechoslovakia who could manage to come to Cracow was Charta 77 and a member of PCSS Aleksander Vondra.

   Polish Czech-Slovak Solidarity initiated East European Information Agency (WAI) that helped to exchange information among Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Vilnius and Moscow.

   PCSS members: Jerzy Kronhold, Marian Dembiniok and Zbigniew Machej organized on 2lst September 1989 a demonstration in Cieszyn in 2lst anniversary of Warsaw Pact invasion. During the demonstration people gathered there apologized Czechs and Slovaks for Polish soldiers that had taken part in it. There were some members of the Republic of Poland Parliament present.

   The next PCSS actions were ecology marches organized along with Macierz Ziemi Cieszynskiej that caused ceasing the works on Stonawa cokery, hunger strikes and in February 1988 a manifestation during Havel's first night performance of "Protest" and "Audience" in Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw.

   The most spectacular event is undoubtedly the international seminar "Central Europe Culture Perplexed, Between Totalitarianism and Commercialism" that took place between 3rd and 5th of November 1989 in Wroclaw. It was patronized by Timothy Garton Ash, professor Jan Błoński, professor Czesław Hernas, professor Frantisek Janouch, Adam Michnik, Jiri Pelikan, dr Vilem Precan, prince Karl Johan von Schwarzenberg, Jan Józef Szczepański, Juliusz Żuławski.

   Along with the seminar there was Independent Czechoslovak Culture Survey. There were some singers from Czechoslovakia and Czech immigration; among others Karel Kryl, Jaroslav Hutka. Some "Czech New Wave" films were presented. Unfortunately, presentation of Czech alternative theatres and art exhibition did not take place. Artists and their works were stopped on the border together with many Czechs and Slovaks wanting to come to the seminar and festival. Despite numerous difficulties several thousands of them finally managed to get to Wrocław.

   Not even two weeks of Michnik's final speech in hoped to meet again in free Praque, "Velvet Revolution" began. the .process of democratic changes in  Czechoslovakia.

   In new political reality PCSS change their ways of activity. PCSS initiated a meeting of President Vaclav Havel and "Solidarity" leader Lech Wałęsa that took place on l7th of March. According to PCSS' tradition the meeting was held in the mountains, but for this time in comfortable tourists' hut on Okraj Pass.

In April 1990 PCSS organized Czech Prime Minister Petr Pithart's visit in Southern Poland.

   In 1991 PCSS was officially registered under the title "Polish Czech-Slovak Solidarity Society". Its aim is cooperation among Poland, Czecho-Slovakia and other countries from Central-Eastern Europe concerning cultural, social and political life.

   8th and 9th of February 1992 First Great PCSS Congress was held in Wrocław. There were established six branches and the Council of Spokesmen consisted of Mirosław Jasiński, Jerzy Kronhold, Warcisław Martynowski, Janusz Okrzesik and Jarosław Rybski.

   A net of offices was created. Along with the Society a PCSS Foundation was established.

   With the cooperation between the Society and PCSS Foundation there are some annual festivals in Cieszyn and Polish-Czech Days of Christian Culture held on Ziemia Kłodzka.

   Polish Czech-Slovak Solidarity propagate the principles of tolerance and mutual respect among other societies, cooperate with other organizations based on similar principles.


About the Foundation
History of Polish-Czech-Slovak Solidarity
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Developing Independent Media Skills in Eurasia
The fourteenth edition of the "Independent media" program is planned for this year. Nearly 26 journalists from Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine will be invited to Poland. During study visits, they will have an opportunity to visit the editorial offices of newspapers and magazines, radio and TV stations, internet portals and information agencies. They will acquaint themselves with the work and experiences of their Polish colleagues. The study visits will be tailored to the professions and specializations of the guests.
Biuletyn SPCzS