February 2, 2014

The Anonymous Pedestrians

At an intersection in Wroclaw, stand fourteen bronze statues designed by Jerzy Kalina. The statues which are also referred to as "Passage" or "Transition", were unveiled on the eve of the 13th of December in 2005 - the 24th anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law in Poland.

The Anonymous Pedestrians

   The statues are a reminder of the changes that have evolved since Poland's recent political past. On one side of the intersection, on Ulica Świdnicka, a group of the statues including a mother pushing a baby carriage, begin to descend into the earth.

   With the formation of Solidarity on August 31, 1980 (which was the first non-communist controlled trade union), the monopoly of the official communist party unions was broken. The Solidarity Union had a membership of one-thrid of Poland's working population within it's first year. Using civil resistance, Solidarity was pushing to advance worker's rights and social change. This opposition caused the government to impose Martial Law in 1981 as an attempt to destroy the union.

The Anonymous Pedestrians

   During Martial Law in Poland (December 13, 1981-July 22, 1983), the authoritarian government of the People's Republic of Poland restricted the normal life and civil liberties of the people.

   After the period of Martial Law and years of political repression, the People's Republic of Poland was forced to negotiate with the Solidarity Union. After the elections in 1989, the co-founder of Solidarity, Lech Walesa, became the President of Poland.

   On the other side of the intersection, the remaining statues begin to emerge from the earth. The pedestrians serve as a memorial to that first day of Martial Law, the people that went "underground", the 100 opposition activists that were killed, and the political prisoners that were not released until the general amnesty of 1986.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Cool photo and great history lesson! Thanks!