German reactions to the formation of the “Solidarity”


The German Democratic Republic


Authorities in Berlin neighborhood with Polish meant, among others, the risk of unwanted penetration of ideas, ideas. It is no wonder that the summer of 1980. GDR leaders watched the situation in PRL with growing concern. The signing of the August agreements, in particular the creation of the “Solidarity” they recognized as a serious danger, and even a threat greater than in the case of the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Anxiously followed the Polish authorities further concessions, while promoting “healthy forces” in the Polish United Workers’ Party, or supporters of hard line against the union. To avoid the “Polish plague” in October 1980. GDR authorities have restrictions on border traffic with PRL, as well as significantly tightened border controls.


Our western neighbor was (next to Czechoslovakia) to those of the socialist countries, which advocated intervention in Poland in order to stifle the counter-revolution. At this time strongly increased security police action GDR (STASI) “on the Polish”. It was indicated by activity in the People’s Republic of autumn 1980. Operational Group Warsaw (Warschau Operationsgruppe). Poland began to be treated, like the Federal Republic of Germany, as the “operational area”. By the way, one of the tasks of this group of officers was to promote “healthy forces” in the Communist Party and the “strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist trend” in the party.


The emergence of “Solidarity” was not enthusiastically received by the East German society. On the contrary, deepened the aversion against the Poles, making bulk purchases in better-stocked stores in the GDR. This sentiment also fueled anti solidarity propaganda in the media. As a result, in April 1981. Evangelical Church found it necessary warning against the resurgence of anti-Polish bias. Of course, not everyone succumbed to the propaganda stereotypes, eg. Of East unionists often there were people sympathizing with the Polish colleagues. Much less frequently occurred while supporting the “Solidarity” and attempts to democratize the official trade unions in the GDR on the model of Polish. For this reason, in July 1981 a few people had been arrested.


Federal Republic of Germany


Bonn authorities behaved towards the “Solidarity” far-reaching self-restraint. The ratio of the ruling in Germany ranged from admiration and fear. They feared that the situation in Poland could hurt the global relaxation, especially relations with the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, recognized as a priority in Bonn. On the one hand, admired the Polish workers, on the other hand the national and Catholic character of “Solidarity” did not raise sympathy administration of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD representative, or the Social Democratic Party of Germany). Located West German politicians in power counseled against “pouring oil on the fire”. They were against irritation of both authorities in Warsaw, ajk and especially in Moscow, preaching the need for non-interference in the internal affairs of the communist era. An indication of this was, inter alia, blocking by Schmidt visits in West Germany Lech Walesa.


More favorable to the “Solidarity” was the position of the opposition parties in Germany. And not just the Christian Democrats, but also leftist Greens. The latter example. Collaborated with the organization Solidarität myth Solidarity, supporting, among others, Polish trade unionists. It is also worth mentioning the creation in September 1981. Frankfurt by representatives of several local and regional groups, leftist organizations Solidarität myth Solidarity Initiative.


“Solidarity” could count on the kindness and help West trade unionists, mainly from the DGB (German Trade Union Confederation). It invited its representatives (despite resistance from the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany) Walesa to Germany and gave the Region “Mazowsze” copier cassettes for the purpose of broadcasting solidarity. This compound was allocated in 1980-1981, a total of 25 thousand. West makes for technical support Polish trade unionists. At his invitation, a visit to Germany in October 1981. By the activists of “Solidarity”, headed by Zbigniew Bujak. Earlier, in September 1981., The communist authorities did not let inside to Polish invited to the First National Congress of Delegates in Gdańsk Erwin Kristoffersen, directing a branch of a foreign DGB.


“Solidarity” was also openly supported by some intellectuals of the West (eg. If Klaus Heinrich Böll Staeck). And this in spite of their fears that its existence threatens the process of detente in the world.

West German media, as opposed to the East, and fairly extensively reported on events in Poland, including the activities of the “Solidarity”. Incidentally, through them, the knowledge on this topic also partially reaches citizens of the GDR. Another television programs resulted in protests Polish diplomats and some journalists and media workers in the People’s Republic of Germany were therefore persecuted – a work permit in Poland was withdrawn ARD cameraman Hans Juegen Gersondle.


Grzegorz Majchrzak