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Jan Ludwiczak is dead. The chairman of Solidarity in the Wujek mine has died. It was after his arrest that the strike broke out

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Jan Ludwiczak, chairman of Solidarity in the Wujek mine in 1981, is dead. – It was in his defense that the miners of the Wujek mine began to strike during martial law – they wanted his release and the lifting of martial law – reminds the director of the Silesian Center for Freedom and Solidarity in Katowice. Ludwiczak died in Katowice at the age of 86.

The Silesian Center for Freedom and Solidarity in Katowice, which cherishes the memory of murdered miners, announced the death of Jan Ludwiczak on Thursday.

– It was in his defense that the miners of the Wujek mine began to strike during martial law – they wanted his release and the abolition of martial law. It was Jan Ludwiczak’s house that the Citizens’ Militia entered on the night of December 12/13, arrested him, and the miners who came to help were beaten. It was then that the first blood of martial law was shed – reminded the director of the Center Robert Ciupa.

Director of the Silesian Center for Freedom and Solidarity: a man of great charisma and great humility

On each anniversary of the bloody pacification of the mine, Jan Ludwiczak came to the Cross-Monument at the mine, commemorating the fallen miners. – Every December 16, he appeared under the cross of fallen miners, always modestly standing somewhere to the side and remembering. He was a man of great charisma, but also of great humility. He is a figure who taught us all how to approach memory, freedom and human dignity. A man who will always be part of this institution, part of the history of the region, but also part of the history of Poland – stressed the director of the Silesian Center for Freedom and Solidarity.

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Jan Ludwiczak died on Wednesday (January 11). His funeral is scheduled for next Saturday. After the Mass at the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Katowice-Brynów, near the Wujek mine, burial will take place at the cemetery in the Panewniki district of Katowice.

It was after the arrest of Jan Ludwiczak that the strike at the Wujek mine began

On the night of December 12/13, 1981, militiamen broke the door in Jan Ludwiczak’s apartment in Katowice and detained him. When the information about this reached the mine, the strike began. The release of the detained and then interned chairman was one of the demands of the striking miners.

Jan Ludwiczak came from Pecna near Poznań. He was born on May 1, 1937. In the capital of Wielkopolska, he graduated from the Basic Railway School (in 1954). In June 1956, he participated in a demonstration in Poznań, for which he was detained by the militia and interrogated at the Provincial Headquarters of the Citizens’ Militia.

He worked at the Wujek Mine in Katowice from 1965 until his retirement in 1990. In September 1980, he was the vice-chairman of the Founding Committee of NSZZ Solidarność, and then the chairman of the company “S”. He was a delegate to the first two provincial conventions of the Śląsko-Dąbrowski Region “S” in July and December 1981.

After being detained on the night of December 12/13, 1981, Ludwiczak was interned. He stayed in Retreat Centers in Jastrzębie-Szeroka, Uherce, Załęże near Rzeszów, Nowy Łupków and Katowice. He was a participant in the revolt of internees in Załęże and a five-day hunger strike in Uherce.

He was released from internment on December 23, 1982, after which he was transferred to a lower position at work. In the years 1983-89 he distributed leaflets and books in the Wujek mine. At that time, he was repeatedly interrogated by the SB, intimidated and persuaded to emigrate.

Read also: Jerzy Wartak, a participant in the strike at the Wujek mine, is dead

In January 1989, he was the chairman of the Provisional Founding Committee of NSZZ Solidarność of the Wujek coal mine. Then, in the years 1990-1992, he belonged to NSZZ Solidarność 80. He was awarded, among others, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (in 2007) and the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity (in 2015).

Memories of the pacification of the “Wujek” mine in 1981TVN24

The greatest tragedy of martial law

The pacification of the Wujek mine was the greatest tragedy of martial law. On December 16, 1981, tanks forced the mine wall, and armed ZOMO troops entered the plant. Then a special platoon of the ZOMO was put into action, shots were fired. Six miners died on the spot, one died a few hours later in hospital after surgery, and two more in early January 1982.

The pacification of the Wujek mine

The pacification of the Wujek mine12.12 | The strikes in the mines in Upper Silesia, where miners put up active resistance, had a particularly dramatic course. On December 16, 1981, in the “Wujek” Hard Coal Mine, during several hours of fighting, militiamen used firearms, killing 9 miners. (IPN)IPN

Read also: “They did not hesitate to issue a deadly order.” 40 years since the pacification of the “Wujek” mine

In June 2008, the Court of Appeal in Katowice validly sentenced the former commander of the special platoon, Romuald C., to six years in prison, and sentenced his subordinates to between 3.5 and 4 years in prison. The cassation appeals were dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2009 – the verdict became final almost 28 years after the tragedy.

Main photo source: Grzegorz Celejewski / Agencja Wyborcza.pl



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