Dialogue Centre Upheavals permanent exhibition guide - National Museum in Szczecin Poland

Entering the Dialogue Centre Upheavals we immerse in the past – figuratively and literally – descending to a “well of history”, to the abyss to see the events: beautiful and terryfying; to learn about the fates of people: heroes, oppressors or ordinary individuals.

Darkness and silence, overwhelming at the very entrance, help to search for the answers to questions about identity, patriotism, the good and the evil. We enter a space which tells about years 1939-1989. The starting point is the beginning of World War II and the moment when Poland lost its independence again. Polish way to freedom and price to pay for it are the core of the exhibition narration. The most important exhibits, photographs, documents and films are included in the main layer of the exhibition. The visitors may learn using interactive kiosks. In each space, history enthusiasts find maps and information regarding places related to the stories shown in the exhibition, as well, as biographies of people – positive and negative characters of their times.

The subject of the exhibition is not simple. Thought exchange, continuous discussion, presentation of various points of view are the basis of the Dialogue Centre Upheavals. The history lasts, its marks are to be found everywhere, right beside and hundreds of kilometers away. The Dialogue Centre Upheavals is a starting point, signpost leading to the most interesting areas related to the plots presented on the exhibition.

 

 

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Genesis: the war and postwar times

The journey through the periods is guided by “the line of time”, on which there are words that encourage the visitors to reflect on the shown events. The journey begins with World War II. Stettin, a beautiful garden city, designed for pleasant life, had also a different face. Several months before the outburst of the conflict, which has changed Europe for half of the century, the inhabitants of Stettin were warmly greeting the leader of Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. The visitors may listen to a part of his speech (given on September 1st 1939, after attacking Poland). The Second Military District of Third Reich had its headquarters here. During the first war years the city has not faced the horror – on the exhibition there is a coloured video from 1940, where no single mark of the war may be found. The peace of the inhabitants was disturbed only by first allied air raids on Easter 1943. Before that time, the city and the region earned their living on account of the war – goods robbed from enslaved countries were brought here, compulsory workers worked here, gathered in numerous camps, over a hundred of which existed in the very city. Among the mementos of that time, the most numerous are left after those who decided to stay here. There were also other aggregations of the “slaves” of Third Reich: penal camps and branches of concentration camps. One of the worst and the most fearful ones was located on “Bremerhaven” ship moored near Police. The visitors may see the prisoners' documents and read – in the interactive kiosks – about how they were treated and what they were mercilessly killed for. Although numerous inhabitants of Stettin supported Hitler, in the city there existed resistance movement focused around Catholic priest Carl Lampert, killed by the Nazis together with other churchpeople within Fall Stettin action. The symbols of two orders existing along one another are extraordinary exhibits: Lampert's chalice and a mug with a swastika. Taken over by the Soviet Army on April 26th 1945, the city did nit remain the one from before the war. On the exhibition, the end of past world is shown by extraordinary, hyperreal collage of photographs by Kobas Laksa. The war had ruined the old order of Europe. The new one, built by superpowers, is shown by another space of the Dialogue Centre Upheavals, devoted to the border. The visitors may see, among others, the Iron Curtain which, as it has been said by Winston Churchill in Fulton on March 5th 1946, “has descended from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic”, dividing Europe for several decades. An interactive kiosk in that part of the exhibition contains information of the most important decisions regarding post-war history of Poland, which were taken in London, Moscow and Washington, and finally during the conferences in Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam. The exhibition reminds who and when began to talk about moving the border of Poland to the West, what consequences it brought and what “life on the border” meant – figuratively and literally.

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Time of migration

The migration space is introduced by videos showing ruined, and already Polish, Szczecin. The stories about travelling into the unknown – the lands given to Poland according to the decisions of superpowers; lands that could be either the promised land or a cursed one – are told by those, who, after the war, were new and strange here. Their voices can be listened to right beside a side of a carriage – a visual installation which has to be passed through. The carriage takes us back to the time, when West Pomerania was called a melting-pot of nations. Newcomers from various parts of Poland settled here. A transparent group of them were those from Eastern Borderlands: the displaced, former camp prisoners and exiles. The members of minorities: Jews, Russians, Belarussians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Macedonians and Romani, felt probably more stranger than others. They brought mementos and tales of “strangers among compatriots” trying to make a life from scratch. In April 1945 in Szczecin and Pomerania only few Germans remained. At the end of the war, due to too late evacuation and escape in panic, thousands of them perished. After the war, vast majority of those who returned and decided to remain here were displaced by Polish authorities. The visitors of the exhibition may listen to Germans' tales of what they have experienced here. For the newcomers, that moment was a time of getting familiar with alien territory. The exhibition shows the activities of Polish administration aimed at this: Polonization and “de-Germanization”. A multimedia table presents documents from those years and propaganda videos, which had to prove that Poland “has returned to old Piast land”. Mementos treated as religious relics brought from family homes are placed in an exhibiting case. The Soviet Army was a guarantor of the western border of Poland: at the peak, around a hundred of Soviet soldiers were present here. The exhibition shows how they implemented the words: “the land is yours, but what is on it belongs to us”. The collections of Dialogue Centre Upheavals include disassembly lists showing what has been taken from here by Soviets. There are also documents which are testimony of how the Soviets treated German inhabitants and Polish settlers.

CDP fragment ekspozycji w tle obraz Na ziemiach scalonych Henryka Sta ewskiego

 

Stalinism

One of the largest exhibits – a stone star, in 1992 taken from the monument of gratitude for the Soviet Army, which has been located in the centre of Szczecin until now – introduces the gloomiest exhibition space, devoted to the period of terror and propaganda; the space of court of law. The screen displays the most famous “cases” of that time. Videos in multimedia kiosk show propaganda of that time and memories of members of independence groups acting in West Pomerania. The tale would not be complete without the description of actions of the Ministry of Public Security and its most zealous representatives: officers, judges, prosecutors. Their victims tell about the investigations. A particular place on the exhibition is a solitary confinement room, an artistic installation by Robert Kuśmirowski, reconstructing the worst rooms of Stalin prisons. The atmosphere of the time is brought by exhibits illustrating the climate of early Polish People's Republic. An interesting item is a graphic by an unknown author from early 1950s. From a distance, a viewer may see the head of Bolesław Bierut, the president pf Polish People's Republic. As soon, as they approach it, they see that the head is filled with the text of the Republic constitution of 1952, a project of which had been edited by Stalin. Following “the line of time”, the visitors meet marks of further events. Stalin's death was a landmark for the history of Europe. The exhibition recalls the most important events of that time: savagely suppressed uprising in Berlin and riot in Plzen in 1953; settlements within Polish authority after Ministry of Public Security officer Józef Światło's escape to the West; famous Nikita Khrushchev report on what Stalinism had been (about the cult of an individual and its aftermaths), June and October 1956 in Poznań. There is also a recall of massacre done by the Soviet Army in Budapest. It was Szczecin that provided help for Csepel district, mostly destroyed by Soviet tanks. In December 1956 the inhabitants of Szczecin demolished Soviet consulate. The series of events presented in extraordinary photographs is closed with two of them. The first one is Khrushchev's visit in 1959, important for the people of Szczecin; the second – a letter of Polish Bishops from 1965, an upheaval in Polish-German relation, including famous words: “We forgive and ask for forgiveness”. 

Pok j stracea Robert Kumirowski fragment 2

 

Youth

Late 1950s and early 1960s brought an attempt to take a breath after the darkest time. The lifestyle changed from rough into a modern one that was open to various inspirations. That has been supported by music – among others, jazz, bringing thoughts of free, better world. Szczecin became one of the most vigorous jazz centres in Poland. A  tournée of legendary Dave Brubeck's quartet started here. The exhibition includes interviews with Brubeck. In 1962 the famous Festival of Young Talents took place here. The final of it was participated by artists, who soon became stars of nationwide renown, including Wojciech Gąssowski, Helena Majdaniec, Karin Stanek, Czesław Wydrzycki (Niemen),  Krzysztof Klenczon. Unfortunately, the festival has been found as “not law-abiding” and closed after the second edition  according to the wish of  Polish United Workers' Party leader Władysław Gomułka. Young “bigbitowcy” – beat music fans – were one side of contemporary system. The other were also young people – those who were taking part in Labour Day parades. The exhibition recalls the most important events of 1960s, including anti-Semitic campaign resulting in further changes within the authority, protests of students fighting for freedom of speech, and Prague Spring. Extraordinary archive videos are released in a TV-set from those times. The echoes of those events in Szczecin were departures of Jews, including young intellectuals, and student demonstrations. One of the impulses that led to the demonstrations was a disappearance of a student of Technical University of Szczecin Jerzy Undro's photo exhibition entitled “The Head”. It has been said that the exhibition had been taken by unknown perpetrators. West Pomerania took also part in Prague Spring. An assault battalion from Dziwnów – an elite commando unit pacified Czechoslovak border crossings and TV stations.

po lewej obraz Uwinoujcie z cyklu Podr e autostopem Edward Dwurnik

 

The Shipyard

“The line of time” leads to an “industrial” part of the exhibition. For years, Adolf Warski Shipyard in Szczecin, created on the basis of former German shipyards: AG Vulcan and Stettiner Oderwerke, was the most important industrial plant in West Pomerania. Allied air raids had destroyed the two shipyards, then the Soviet Army disassembled part of their machines, blowing up what it was unable to take to the USSR. On the exhibition, there is a model of a part of the Shipyard in Szczecin (later Adolf Warski Shipyard), which was launched in 1947, employing twelve thousand people at its peak. The greatest industrial plants had to be the pillar of working class, the basis of socialist system. But when the first strike occurred in a great Polish plant after the thaw of October 1956, it was in the Szczecin Shipyard in 1958. In subsequent years, almost all Szczecin “upheavals” began there. The strikes took place also in, among others, Parnica shipyard, Gryfia Ship Repair Yard, Szczecin and Świnoujście Ports, Construction Equipment Manufacture, “Chemitex-Wiskord” Chemistry, Polmo, “Police” Chemistry, “Hydroma” Construction Equipment and many others. The exhibition videos recall places which no longer exist in Szczecin. Within the space of an installation of shipyard lockers, there might be seen an interesting Szczecin invention – an inconspicuous disc slider used for measuring the sheet gauge.

Stocznia Szczeciska im. A. Warskiego Leszek Jasiski Maciej Jasiski

 

A defiant city: December ’70 – January ’71

This place is the heart of the Dialogue Centre Upheavals. It is the only space colours of which do not match the remaining parts of the exhibition. Its peculiarity is highlighted by the light – cold, white, unpleasant like in a deadhouse. It brings the mood of anxiety and depression. It is an introduction to a drama which happened in December 1970, in, among others, the square the museum is located under. The exhibition recalls the events that occurred after the government had announced the rise in prices of food and several other goods on December 12th 1970. Street protests began in Gdynia, Gdańsk, Elbląg and Szczecin. The authorities used force against the protesters. The army and militia killed 44 people in the Polish coast. In Szczecin there were sixteen casualties. One of them was sixteen-year-old Jadwiga Kowalczyk, who died in her apartment in the vicinity of the square after a bullet fell through the window, rebound from a wall and hit the girl's head. The exhibition presents an extraordinary memento: an album devoted to Jadwiga made by her father shortly after her death. It includes photographs taken several months before the tragedy: pictures of a happy family. In the December a camera recorded bloodstains in the place where the dead body fell. Beside the album, there are fliers from that times – “The December Ballads” – anonymous songs depicting the mood of the streets. There are also security service surveillance tools: small cameras and objects used to hide them: wallets and purses. On the exhibition there are also photographs taken by that equipment. They show people – accidental observers of the revolt. The photographs were used for identifying witnesses and participants of the events. Who were the remaining victims of December '70? How great was the suffering of their families and how were they treated by the authority? These questions are answered by parts of archival videos, documents, photographs and words of relatives of the victims. There appears another drama of the families: night – and often anonymous – burials of the casualties. Night funerals, lit by flashlights, were participated only by the closest relatives. The families usually wanted the presence of a priest, but these wishes were not always fulfilled. The tragic moments may be seen in a poignant film by Jerzy Wójcik entitled “The Complaint”. It shows brutality of the authorities and helplessness of the oppressed. In December 1970 Szczecin was an exceptional place. It was here that the City Strike Committee was established. It was here that the postulate of free trade unions was formulated for the first time. At that time Szczecin was considered an enclave of freedom. One of the members of Political Office of Polish United Workers' Party, Jan Szydłak, who was staying in Szczecin during the December revolt, in a telegram sent to Warsaw called the city a “Republic of Szczecin”. The list of the victims has been published by the authority as late as in the second half of January 1971. Films made at that time by militia officers, soldiers and Szczecin television show how the city looked after the riot. December '70 has been shown as an effect of rowdy prank, not workers' revolt. One may see destroyed shop windows ant partially burnt Voivodeship Committee of Polish United Workers' Party. The authority spent ten times more on its restoration than on the compensation for the families of the wounded and the killed. The strike in Warski Shipyard, suspended in December, was resumed on January 22nd 1971. It was headed by Edmund Bałuka. For the first time the demand of the workers on strike resulted in the arrival of the state authorities with the leader of Polish United Workers' Party Edward Gierek. The meeting lasted for nine hours. After years, it became the basis of an extraordinary docudrama by Leslie Woodhead, with a screenplay by Bolesław Sulik, entitled “Three Days in Szczecin”, created abroad in 1970s. Numerous renown actors and Edmund Bałuka took part in it. The picture of these days is completed by objects placed in an exhibition case: a baton made of wire, used by the shipyard workers as a weapon, film reels with the recording of the meeting with Gierek that had been smuggled to the West, speakers of the shipyard broadcasting system, shipyard tools, gloves used by people from the most rebelious W – 4 shipyard brigade. The interactive kiosk shows not only original recording of the meeting with the party leader, but also, recently found, a video recorded during the Black March, which had shocked Szczecin. During the Labour Day parade a group of workers was holding a banner with the demand of punishing those who were guilty of the December tragedy. The group was led by a brother of one of the victims, with his black-gloved fist clenched. The revolt of Szczecin has also been described by Western press. 

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The Decade of Gierek

The space of December '70 is closed with a vision of socialist „Paradise” – the decade of Gierek, when, on account of funds borrowed from Western countries, life in Polish Peoples' Republic became full of colours. A “Bajka” (“Fairy Tale”) neon light, which was used to encourage people to visit one of the most popular Szczecin dance halls of that time, has a symbolic significance. An artistic installation “A Family in Maluch (The Small One – a Fiat 126p)” shows the embodiment of dreams of many people of 1970s: a happy family going on holiday to Bulgaria by their Fiat. Films shown on the screens hanging on the walls make it possible to feel the rhythm of the decade. One may see how the reality began to change over the years: shop shelves, temporarily filled with dreamed goods, began to get empty. Sugar ration cards were introduced and the queues in front of the shops were getting longer and longer. The queues – the leitmotiv of Polish People's Republic – disappeared as late as with the fall of the system. The final of the period is shown in a recording of a happening by Akademia Ruchu. Propaganda of those times, when the chains of the authority were becomng tighter, may be seen in archive videos on an old TV-set. The language, which in Gomułka's time seemed more communicative, was turning into dull newspeak. Infographics showing the condition of economics in 1970s is a counterweight. An interactive kiosk installed in this space presents a summary of “Gierek's paradise” – dreams and symbols of that time. The visitors may see how the opposition from before August '80 was coming into existence here and to learn about the case of the first Polish student expelled from the school for asking a question which was considered harmful for the system.

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The birth of the hope: August '80 – December ’81

The election of Karol Wojtyła as the pope, deteriorating market situation and increasing crisis were considered marks of upcoming social upheavals even by ordinary observers. The visitors, looking at infographics illustrating the subject, are informed that they are approaching a new reality. And this happens: we enter a time of of the birth of the hope for millions of Poles – the times of “Solidarity”. The space is filled with photographs of important places in Szczecin of that time: Warski Shipyard, where The August Agreement has been concluded on August 30th 1980; the seat of the Regional Board of Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity” and Korab House of Culture – the place of trade union debates. In these places decisions were taken which considerably changed the lives of the inhabitants of the city and of the region. The moment of signing of the August Agreement has been recorded in a Film Chronicle – the plants on strike were represented by Marian Jurczyk, the leader of the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee and later first leader of the West-Pomeranian Regional Board of “Solidarity”. The government was represented by deputy prime minister Kazimierz Barcikowski. It was a moment of great enthusiasm. There is also a record of concluding the Gdańsk Agreement on the following day. However, simultaneously with the dialogue with “Solidarity”, the authority began other actions which resulted in the declaration of Marital Law 16 months later. The exhibition presents discussions led by the party then and half a year later including the beginnings of so called “wild strawberries”, who believed in the possibility of reforming Polish United Workers' Party. There are numerous interesting exhibits illustrating the reality of that time including copying machines and typewriters used by people involved in the activity of “Solidarity”. Noteworthy objects are stamps, documents presented in the exhibition cases and official press of that time, as they say a lot about contemporary people and their expectations. It may be clearly seen how numerous the ideas of organizing life in various fields were. This space recalls one of the most important phenomena: the birth of civil society. A special interactive kiosk shows new newspapers which appeared on account of the establishing of “Solidarity”. A special infographics recalls a phenomenon that lasted through all the years of Polish People's Republic: queues for everything. Another symbol of the time were hunger marches organized in the whole country. Despite tough situation the hope for a change was still alive – it may be seen in, recorded in a photograph, work by Teresa Murak entitled “Easter '81”.

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The Martial Law

“The line of time” leads to a dark time which occurred after the great social upheaval – to the time of the Martial Law. The hopes for new, better Poland and the idea of society that takes responsibility for its actions were destroyed on December 13th 1981. The exhibition shows what the Martial Law actually was: tanks, armoured personnel carriers and army and militia vehicles appeared in the streets. Civil liberties were suspended. “Solidarity” was delegalized. Army and militia pacified plants on strike. There was a bloodshed in “Wujek” mine in Silesia. Thousands of “Solidarity” activists were arrested and interned in the whole Poland. Lack of hope for change and fear of the force shown by the authority paralysed the majority of the society. However, instantly “hidden culture” came into existence. Double lives of housing estates – gray and full of stagnation during the day and thriving with energy of Rotaprints used for printing underground publications – are shown in Grzegorz Hańderek's graphics, enriched by sounds prepared by Michał Libera. The exhibition shows how many “signs of hope” – underground brochures, newspapers, books – appeared in Szczecin. There were also tapes with popular recordings of that time – “Interrogations” directed by Leszek Bugajski and the performances of “TEY” cabaret from the time of the “Solidarity carnival”. The sign of that time was “resistance jewellery” – popular resistors worn as rings or badges. The most popular element of “resistance fashion” was a “moro” camouflage uniform. Young men were arrested for 48 hours for wearing it. The mementos are dominated by a statue of ZOMO (Motorized Reserves of the Citizens' Militia) officer wearing winter uniform and a counter strike vest called “a turtle” and wielding a nightstick baton. In the room there are released videos of street demonstrations. On a TV-set the viewers may watch the Martial Law Declaration speech by Wojciech Jaruzelski and a speech by Ronald Reagan exhorting Polish government to resign from using violence against the society. The climate of those months is illustrated by armoured personnel carriers (BTR) – here as objects exactly copying the original ones – one may find themselves between them, as it happened to Szczecin citizens who often had to interfere with a row of BTR's in order to cross the street. The mementos include extraordinary objects, e.g. those from Military Special Camps, internment camps, among others, from Wierzchowo Pomorskie, where members of West-Pomeranian “Solidarity” elite spent numerous months. There are also Christmas cards made by the internees, camp shirts and dishes, photographs. There is also information regarding one of the most famous court cases of that time, so called “Case of the Eleven”, when leaders of Warski Shipyard strike, pacified by the army and ZOMO at the beginning of the Martial Law, were condemned to many years of imprisonment. The room recalls one more space that was peculiar in those times – a church. During the Martial Law churches played an exceptional role: they were not only places of religious cult. During the Holy Services for the Homeland artists gave performances boycotting the regime TV. In churches goods generously donated by western countries were shared. This gesture had not only material meaning – it was a testimony to remembrance and solidarity of free societies.

fragment ekspozycji na pierwszym planie Mury Wojciech Zasadni

 

The end and the beginning: August ’88 – June ’89

The last exhibition space presents the most important events that resulted in system upheaval in Poland, then in the revolutionary wave in Middle and Eastern Europe and in the unification of Europe. Polish reality of the second half of 1980s has been shown here. Numerous researchers, historians and sociologists consider that time as the one of apathy and helplessness which had appeared at the beginning of the Martial Law and lasted long after it was lifted on July 22nd 1983. However, the underground trade union activity continued, although in a limited degree and not as unified as during the “Solidarity carnival”. The leaders of two “Solidarity” environments, opposing since a certain moment, were Andrzej Milczanowski and Marian Jurczyk. Small groups of activists and young opposition did not let the autorithy forget about “Solidarity”. It was in West Pomerania that the idea to register enterprise committees in particular plants emerged. It was a challenge to the authority which did not agree with such ideas but could no longer pretend that “Solidarity” did not exist. The exhibition recalls the importance of June 1987 for Szczecin and the region. At that time, during his third pilgrimage, John Paul II arrived here. The Holy Mass, that had to be held in the city outskirts, on account of the pressure of the Curia took place in the very heart of Szczecin – in Jasne Błonia, under the Monument of Polish Endeavor. Photographs and a film shown on the exhibition remind, that it was participated by thousands of followers. Federation of Fighting Youth and “Freedom and Peace” Movement – youth organizations, which were growing in meaning and considerably supported the activity of “Solidarity” – succeeded in smuggling their banners to the Mass. It is worth to listen to the recordings of the Mass, including famous words of wind which was going to blow from the sea. John Paul II participated in laying of the foundation act of a theological seminary in Szczecin and celebrated a Holy Mass in Szczecin cathedral. A particular memento of those moments is a papal chasuble lent for the Centre of Dialogue Upheavals exhibition by Metropolitan Curia of the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamień. John Paul II is one of four individuals who, at that time, played crucial roles in the history of the world and changed what seemed unchangeable. The second of the Great Four, who visited Szczecin a year after the papal pilgrimage, was Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev's visit to Poland, his meetings and what he was saying then, were a clear message for Polish authority that the USSR was not going to continue interfering with internal politics of socialist countries. During his presence in Szczecin he visited, among others, the Warski Shipyard. He gave its employees “The View of the Red Square”. The painting, a deposit of the estate manager of the Shipyard, is also on the exhibition. Two other crucial persons, on account of whom the system transformation was possible, were Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ronald Reagan, the President of the United States of America. Videos show their most important utterances regarding Poland. One of the crucial elements of this part of the exhibition are films showing Szczecin strikes of 1988. The first signal of the strike was given by bus and and tram drivers in May after protests that took place in other centres in Poland. Next strike in Szczecin broke out in June. It was a “Solidarity” strike defending the May strike leaders, who were dismissed. The authority conceded. One of the reasons for it was the upcoming Gorbachev's visit. Nearly three weeks after the government spokesman Jerzy Urban stated, that “Solidarity is gone for good”, in Silesia and Szczecin new strikes broke out. At that time pope John Paul II's words about the wind blowing from the sea were recalled. The leader of the strikes in West Pomerania was the Szczecin port, where Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee was established with Edward Radziewicz as its leader. The strike was supported by Andrzej Milczanowski. The port protest, supported by bus and tram depots workers, as well, as by Railway Construction Company, is shown in archive videos and a reportage made several years later. The strikers went through dramatic moments: the port was separated from the city by ZOMO, militia helicopters were flying over it and dropping leaflets encouraging to cancel the strike, landing crafts of the Navy were arriving in the docks. The port workers were expecting an attack. They have even prepared a defense system that assumed the use of heavy equipment including cranes. The exhibition shows also how little the social support for the strikes was. The visitors may listen to memories of the strikers and see photographs of empty streets of the city during a march of the port workers to the cathedral after the strike had been cancelled. In this aspect, it is vital to mention the support from Federation of Fighting Youth and “Freedom and Peace” Movement or Independent Students' Union. The background of the strike in Jesuits' church was also important. Various goods, food, money and medicines for the strikers were collected there and legal advices were given by lawyers. More information regarding the situation in the city of that time may be found in interactive kiosk. The port strike was the longest in the history of the city. At its end the interior ministry general Czesław Kiszczak, after discussions with the leader of “Solidarity” Lech Wałęsa, announced the beginning of preparations for the Round Table Talks. The exhibition includes a photograph pf Edward Radziewicz, who was a representative of West-Pomeranian “Solidarity” at the Round Table. Apart from him, Andrzej Milczanowski, Artur Balazs and Mieczysław Kaczanowski were present at “sub-tables”, where various fields of social and political life were discussed. The party was represented by, among others, Kazimierz Cypryniak and Maciej Manicki, who were related to Western Pomerania. Polish Consultative Committee supporting Lech Wałęsa was firstly established in Szczecin. Its objective was to prepare electing campaign of “Solidarity” for so called “Contract Sejm” elections (one third of the places in the Sejm were guaranteed for “Solidarity”) and for free Senate elections. Photographs and documents of that time are displayed as collages and infographics. There are also the most interesting posters and leaflets from the election campaign. It is worth to pay attention on how “Solidarity” materials were different from the governmental ones and how different the languages of the representatives of both sides were. The peak of the campaign may be watched on a TV-set from that time – it is the first space of Dialogue Centre Upheavals where TV shows not only propaganda of the authority, but also statements of people from outside it. The exhibition recalls also the Autumn of Nations, which led to the fall of the communist system – extraordinary photographs are a record of how it happened in the countries of Middle and Eastern Europe. Another moment of exceptional importance for the citizens of Northern and Western Poland, which is also shown, was the signing of Polish-German Border Treaty which ended the time of uncertainty that lasted for several decades. At the exit of the exhibition there is a neon map of Poland with Anatole France's quotation: “The future is no longer what it was meant to be”. The sentence, at the time of arguments about the memory, may be variously interpreted according to one's experiences and dreams – the fulfilled ones and those which will never fulfill.

Przyszeoc nie jest ju tym czym kiedy byea Hubert Czerepok

 

Text by Agnieszka Kuchcińska-Kurcz (from “Miasto protestu – miasto sprzeciwu” – “A City of Protest – A City of Objection” publication)

Photographs by Michał Wojtarowicz

 

Robert Konieczny (KWK Promes) about the Dialogue Centre Upheavals building.