15th December 2015
The Pacification of Wujek was a strike-breaking action by the Polish police and army at the Wujek Coal Mine in Katowice,Poland, culminating in the massacre of nine striking miners on December 16, 1981.
Photos from 1981 -Katowice
It was part of a large-scale action aimed to break the Solidarity free trade union after the introduction of martial law in Polandin 1981. Although the strike was suppressed, in a longer term, it turned out to be a milestone towards the collapse of theauthoritarian system in Poland and, ultimately, to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc.
On December 16, three days after the introduction of the martial law in Poland, pro-Solidarity miners striking against the declaration of the martial law by General Wojciech Jaruzelski were dispersed by the troops of the Polish army and police. The forces used in the main thrust against the miners consisted of eight companies of riot police (ZOMO, supported by ORMO (police reservists) and NOMO) with seven water cannons, three companies of military infantry fighting vehicles (each of 10 vehicles) and one company of tanks. The miners repeatedly fought them off with their tools. During the brawl a number of strikers and 41 troops were injured, including 11 severely.
In the apex of the events, a commando-type special platoon of ZOMO opened the "shoot to kill" fire at the strikers, killing nine of them (Jan Stawisiński, Joachim Gnida, Józef Czekalski, Krzysztof Giza, Ryszard Gzik, Bogusław Kopczak, Andrzej Pełka, Zbigniew Wilk and Zenon Zając) and wounding 21 others. One of the deaths took place after 20 or more days in hospital with severe head-wounds.