Labor Day, in honor of Anna Walentynowicz

This is a repost of one I posted back in 2014. Worth reposting.

Who is she, one might ask. I would have, too, before I recently watched a Polish Film called “Strike.”

She is the woman responsible for the Solidarity movement and the eventual overthrow of Communism in Poland. Her dedication and hard work took decades, and many sacrifices. She was originally a welder at a shipyard and couldn’t read. Her son taught her how to read so she could take the crane operators test – more money and better shifts. She was afraid of heights and threw up in her bag the first time up. She was a strong, fascinating woman. Her name was Anna Walentynowicz. She was the women’s labor rep at the Lenin Shipyard and a trouble-maker. She went to jail numerous times for her labor and anti-communist views and activities.

The Solidarity Movement started when the Shipyard fired her 4 months before her retirement. She was one of 7 leaders of the movement, one of whom was a male named Lech Kaczynski, later President of Poland. He wanted her to head the movement which started with her firing. She felt a male would be better, and she also felt he was the better public speaker, at least as portrayed in the movie. She died at the age of 80 in 2010 in a plane crash which also claimed Lech and his wife. She was a fascinating, hard-working woman who made a huge difference in the Labor Movement and also in her country. So today, I honor her.

6 thoughts on “Labor Day, in honor of Anna Walentynowicz

  1. Did you read the post? He was the co-founder, but it was founded on her firing. SHE asked him to be the co-founder and lead it, as she thought it should be led by a man and because he was a better speaker. She was the founder and impetus for the Solidarity Movement, but of course, it is Lech that everyone remembers, not her. The movie was excellent. In Polish with english subtitles.

  2. Yes, Kate, I read the post. Your post says that Lech Kaczynski was the co-founder of Solidarity, and I believe it was Lech Walesa.

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