"Solidarity and Lech Walesa 1980-1990" album on sale!


“The idea behind Solidarity was simple: if you cannot lift a burden on your own, and at that time communism was this burden, ask others to help you. Together we can make it. Today we need Solidarity, but not as a trade union anymore. We face different challenges, such as pandemics or threats to the environment. In order to cope with those problems, we have to seek solidarity on the global scale” – writes Lech Wałęsa in the preface to the photo album containing memories from years 1980-1990, published recently by Kosycarz Foto Press.

The book had been created at the initiative of the Lech Wałęsa Institute Foundation on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Solidarity. In December this year we will also celebrate 30 years since its legendary leader, Lech Wałęsa, had been sworn in by the National Assembly as the first President of Poland elected directly by the people. On December 22, 1990 the Third Polish Republic was officially born.

The album “Solidarity and Lech Wałęsa 1980-1990” is a photo narrative about the Polish path to freedom, about people put to a great test in the grim reality of the Polish People’s Republic, and about a time of a massive anti-communist social movement led by an electrician from the Gdańsk Shipyard. It also tells the story of the family of the “man of hope”. When on August 14, 1980 the future leader of Solidarity was traveling on a tram no. 9 to the city centre to initiate the strike, his wife was certain that Lech was heading towards the Registry Office to register their daughter Anne, born just two weeks before. He didn’t tell his family that he was going to lead the workers in the struggle for bread and free, independent trade unions. He could not even know or imagine that what had then begun next to the gate no. 2 of the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk will eventually lead the nations to freedom. The world didn’t realise that these events meant the factual beginning of the collapse of communism in Europe. The day after the Gdańsk Agreement was signed, Lech and Danuta Wałesa walked around the shipyard arm in arm. Lech was telling his wife about the strike and the pair was accompanied by cheerful shipyard workers. This twofold family moment was captured by Wojciech Łaski, a photojournalist and author of a rich archive from the time of the first Solidarity. His is also the author of photographs presenting the first meeting of John Paul II and with Lech Wałęsa (Vatican, 1981), the leader of then delegalized Solidarity leaving the internment camp in Arłamów (November 13, 1981), Elton John enjoying a tea in the famous flat in the Zaspa district in Gdańsk (April 5, 1984) or the first shared picture with the Nobel prize (December 1983). The Prize itself was collected in Oslo by Danuta Wałęsa and their son Bogdan. Lech Wałęsa watched the VHS recording from this ceremony with his family several days later. Wojciech Łaski was also present there. He accompanied the Wałęsa family during their vacation in the Mazovian village of Krypy, the place where Danuta Wałęsa was born. The village and its inhabitants will also have moments of great popularity. When Lech Wałęsa becomes president, Krypy will experience a real invasion of journalists and photojournalists curious about the world the first lady comes from.

The funds from the sale will be entirely allocated to support the statutory activity of the Lech Walesa Institute, which promotes the experience of the Polish peaceful transition to democracy around the world since its establihsment in 1995. The first ordered issues will be sent along with an autograph from President Lech Walesa. The publication is available in online sale only.

->Order the album