A report on Polish People's Republic

The Polish People's Republic in 1989
Poland's fate was heavily discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Joseph Stalin, whose Red Army occupied the entire country, presented several alternatives which granted Poland industrialized territories in the west whilst the Red Army simultaneously permanently annexed Polish territories in the east, resulting in Poland losing over 20% of its pre-war borders - areas primarily inhabited by ethnic Belarusians or Ukrainians. Soviet-backed Polish communists came to power and oversaw the country's entry into the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
Border changes of Poland after World War II. The eastern territories (Kresy) were annexed by the Soviets. The western territories, referred to as the "Recovered Territories", were granted as war reparations. Despite the western lands being more industrialized, Poland lost 77,035 km2 (29,743 sq mi) and major cities like Lviv and Vilnius.
The 1970 Polish protests were put down by the Communist authorities and Citizens' Militia. The riots resulted in the deaths of 42 people and over 1,000 injured.
Queues waiting to enter grocery stores in Warsaw and other Polish cities and towns were typical in the late 1980s. The availability of food and goods varied at times, and the most sought after basic item was toilet paper.
The new Warszawa Centralna railway station in Warsaw had automatic doors and escalators. It was a flagship project during the 1970s economic boom and was dubbed the most modern station in Europe at the time of its completion in 1975.
Lech Wałęsa co-founded and headed the Solidarity movement which toppled Communism. He later became the President of Poland.
The 1980 Gdańsk Shipyard Strike and subsequent Summer 1981 Hunger Demonstrations were instrumental in strengthening the Solidarity movement's influence.
Logo of the Polish United Workers' Party
Władysław Gomułka and Leonid Brezhnev in East Berlin, 1967
An abandoned State Agricultural Farm in south-eastern Poland. State farms were a form of collective farming created in 1949.
Łódź was Poland's largest city after the destruction of Warsaw during World War II. It was also a major industrial centre in Europe and served as the temporary capital due to its economic significance in the 1940s.
Female textile workers in a state-run factory, Łódź, 1950s
Supersam Warsaw, the first self-serve shopping centre in Poland, 1969
Pewex, a chain of hard currency stores which sold unobtainable Western goods and items
Ration cards for sugar, 1977
Bar mleczny, a former milk bar in Gdynia. These canteens offered value meals to citizens throughout Communist Poland.
Trybuna Ludu (People's Tribune) was a government-sponsored newspaper and propaganda outlet
Andrzej Wajda was a key figure in Polish cinematography during and after the fall of communism
Allegory of communist censorship, Poland, 1989. Newspapers visible are from all Eastern Bloc countries including East Germany, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia
The 237-meter Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, constructed in 1955. At the time of its completion it was one of the tallest buildings in Europe
Smyk Department Store, 1960s
Polish university students during lecture, 1964
One of many schools constructed in central Warsaw in the 1960s
Jerzy Popiełuszko was a Roman Catholic priest who supported the anti-communist opposition. He was murdered by the Security Services "SB" of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
A demographics graph illustrating population growth between 1900 and 2010. The highest birth rate was during the Second Polish Republic and consequently under the Polish People's Republic.
A typical socialist apartment building in Warsaw representing the style of functionalism, built due to the ever-growing population and high birth rate at the time
Konstantin Rokossovsky, pictured in a Polish uniform, was Marshal of the Soviet Union and Marshal of Poland until being deposed during the Polish October in 1956.
Poland's old and new borders, 1945

Country in Central Europe that existed from 1947 to 1989 as the predecessor of the modern Republic of Poland.

- Polish People's Republic

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The Baptism of Poland. Detail from Jan Matejko's Christianization of Poland AD 966.

Poles

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Poles, or Polish people, are a West Slavic nation and ethnic group, who share a common history, culture, the Polish language and are identified with the country of Poland in Central Europe.

Poles, or Polish people, are a West Slavic nation and ethnic group, who share a common history, culture, the Polish language and are identified with the country of Poland in Central Europe.

The Baptism of Poland. Detail from Jan Matejko's Christianization of Poland AD 966.
Fragment of Gesta Hammaburgensis ecclesiae pontificum (1073) by Adam of Bremen, containing the name "Polans": "trans Oddaram sunt Polanos"
Book of Henryków. Highlighted in red is the earliest known sentence written in the Old Polish language
King Casimir III the Great welcomes the Jews to Poland (painting by Gerson, 1874).
The map depicts countries by number of citizens who reported Polish ancestry or citizenship (based on sources in this article)
Poland
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In the early 20th century, over a million Polish people settled in France, mostly during world wars, among them Polish émigrés fleeing either Nazi occupation (1939–1945) or Communism (1945/1947–1989).

A newer high-rise tower in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.

Tower block

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Tall building, as opposed to a low-rise building and is defined differently in terms of height depending on the jurisdiction.

Tall building, as opposed to a low-rise building and is defined differently in terms of height depending on the jurisdiction.

A newer high-rise tower in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey, U.S.
The Majakka high-rise building in Kalasatama, Helsinki
These tower blocks were built in Shibam, Yemen, in the 16th century, and are the tallest mudbrick buildings in the world, some more than 30 m high.
Sliding ladder for firefighters in 1904
A residential block in Steinfurt, Westphalia, Germany, forming a "Y"
High-rise buildings, Hong Kong
Nowa Huta in Kraków, Poland, serves as one of the best examples of socialist realism, with its street hierarchy resembling that of Paris.
Painted paneláks in Prague, Czech Republic
Renovated apartment building from 1963 in Bucharest, Romania. With the 2010s, renovation of older apartment buildings in Eastern Europe has become common, especially in countries which get EU funds.
High-rise office buildings in La Défense, France
The three tower blocks of the Crossways Estate in Bow, London, United Kingdom, before their refurbishment
Flats in Ballymun, Dublin, Ireland
Central Park Tower in Manhattan, New York City, the tallest residential high-rise tower in the world, December 2020
Housing commission towers in Waterloo, Sydney, Australia
"Street in the sky" at Park Hill
Salford tower blocks in 2001. In the UK, tower blocks were mostly built between the 1950s and 70s.

This took place mostly in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s of the 20th century, though in the People's Republic of Poland this process started even earlier due to the severe damages that Polish cities sustained during World War II.

Poster for Miś

Teddy Bear (1981 film)

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English title of Miś, a 1981 comedy Polish film directed by Stanisław Bareja.

English title of Miś, a 1981 comedy Polish film directed by Stanisław Bareja.

Poster for Miś
Quotation from film 'Bear' advertising XXXIV Polish Film Festival in Gdynia 2009

Hilarity ensues as Bareja gives the audience a guided tour of the corruption, absurd bureaucracy, pervasive bribery and flourishing black market that pervaded socialism in the People's Republic of Poland.

DVD cover of a recent Polish movie edition

The Cruise (1970 film)

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Polish comedy film released in 1970, directed by Marek Piwowski who also co-wrote the screenplay with Andrzej Barszczyński, Janusz Głowacki and Jerzy Karaszkiewicz.

Polish comedy film released in 1970, directed by Marek Piwowski who also co-wrote the screenplay with Andrzej Barszczyński, Janusz Głowacki and Jerzy Karaszkiewicz.

DVD cover of a recent Polish movie edition
Screenshot from the movie

Shot in a quasi-documentary style, with a cast featuring not more than two or three professional actors, the absurd plot parodies life in the People's Republic of Poland, reducing a weekend river cruise to a hilarious parody of the entire communist system.

Aleksander Ford

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Polish film director; and head of the Polish People's Army Film Crew in the Soviet Union during World War II.

Polish film director; and head of the Polish People's Army Film Crew in the Soviet Union during World War II.

Blacklisted by the Polish communist government as a political defector, Ford became a non-person in contemporary discussions and analysis of Polish filmmaking.

Sexmission

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1984 Polish cult comedy science fiction action film.

1984 Polish cult comedy science fiction action film.

The film contains numerous subtle allusions to the realities of the communist-bloc society, particularly to that of the People's Republic of Poland just before the fall of communism, perhaps in the anticipation of the major events to come; the fall of communism and the rise of political liberty.

View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.

Extermination camp

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Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (Todeslager), or killing centers (Tötungszentren), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million people – mostly Jews – in the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany used six extermination camps (Vernichtungslager), also called death camps (Todeslager), or killing centers (Tötungszentren), in Central Europe during World War II to systematically murder over 2.7 million people – mostly Jews – in the Holocaust.

View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.
View of Sobibor extermination camp, 1943
WW2-Holocaust-Poland.PNG
The Holocaust map: The six Nazi extermination camps set up by the SS in occupied Poland, are marked with white skulls in black squares.
Members of the Sonderkommando burned the bodies of victims in the fire pits at Auschwitz II-Birkenau, when the crematoria were overloaded. (August 1944)
Mass deportations: the pan-European routes to the extermination camps
Jewish children during deportation to the Chełmno extermination camp
March to the gas chambers, one of Sonderkommando photographs taken secretly at Auschwitz II in August 1944
Carpathian Ruthenian Jews arrive at Auschwitz–Birkenau, May 1944. Without being registered to the camp system, most were killed in gas chambers hours after arriving. (Photograph from the Auschwitz Album)
March of new arrivals along the SS barracks at Birkenau toward the gas chambers near crematoria II and III, 27 May 1944. (Photograph from the Auschwitz Album)
Former slave laborers stand next to a bone crushing machine at the Janowska concentration camp (photo taken in August 1944, after camp's liberation)
Documentary evidence: A Reichsbahn consignment note for delivering prisoners (Häftlinge) to Sobibór in November 1943

In the post-war period the government of the People's Republic of Poland created monuments at the extermination camp sites.

German ration stamp for a person in holiday/vacation during World War II (5-day-stamp)

Ration stamp

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Stamp or card issued by a government to allow the holder to obtain food or other commodities that are in short supply during wartime or in other emergency situations when rationing is in force.

Stamp or card issued by a government to allow the holder to obtain food or other commodities that are in short supply during wartime or in other emergency situations when rationing is in force.

German ration stamp for a person in holiday/vacation during World War II (5-day-stamp)
French ration stamps, 1944.
Nanjing 1962 daily industrial products ration stamp/coupon, China.
Romanian 1989 ration card for bread.
Yugoslavian ration stamps for milk. 1950

Ration cards were used in People's Republic of Poland in two periods: April 1952—January 1953 and August 1976—July 1989.

Germans leaving Silesia for Allied-occupied Germany in 1945. Courtesy of the German Federal Archives (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).

Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II

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The largest of a series of flights and expulsions of Germans in Europe during and after World War II.

The largest of a series of flights and expulsions of Germans in Europe during and after World War II.

Germans leaving Silesia for Allied-occupied Germany in 1945. Courtesy of the German Federal Archives (Deutsches Bundesarchiv).
Refugee trek, in Danzig and the surrounding area, February 1945
Propaganda signs, Danzig, February 1945: "Panic and rumours are the best allies of the Bolshevists!"
Nazi official Arthur Greiser welcoming millionth German colonist in occupied Poland, March 1944.
Allied map used to determine the number of Germans that would have to be expelled from the eastern German territories using different border scenarios (based on German pre-war census)
Retreating Wehrmacht, eastern Germany, March 1945
Potsdam Conference: Joseph Stalin (left), Harry Truman (center), Winston Churchill (right)
Władysław Gomułka organized transport of Germans to occupied Germany in Ministry for the Recovered Territories
Dead Germans in Nemmersdorf, East Prussia. Soviet atrocities, exaggerated and spread by Nazi propaganda, fueled the spontaneous flight of the German population.
Refugees cross the frozen Vistula Lagoon, 1945
Refugee trek in East Prussia, March 1945
When the land evacuation routes were already intercepted by the Red Army, tens of thousands remaining German military personnel and civilians were evacuated by ship in Operation Hannibal. Depicted military transport ship Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk by a Soviet submarine, 9,000 drowned.
Volkssturm receiving orders to defend the Oder, Frankfurt an der Oder (today a border town), February 1945
Soviet forces enter Danzig (Gdansk), March 1945
Refugees trail, eastern Germany 1945.
"Special order" to the German population of Bad Salzbrunn (Szczawno-Zdrój). Issued by Polish authorities on 14 July 1945, 6 a.m., to be executed until 10 a.m.
Oder-Neisse line at Usedom
Refugees from East Prussia, 1945

In 1950, 59,433 Germans were expelled following a bi-lateral agreement between the People's Republic of Poland and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), 26,196 of whom however headed for West Germany.

Palace of Culture and Science in 2019

Palace of Culture and Science

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Notable high-rise building in central Warsaw, Poland.

Notable high-rise building in central Warsaw, Poland.

Palace of Culture and Science in 2019
Palace in 1954, during construction
Palace in 1960
South view of the Palace
The Palace of Culture and Science at night during Christmas market
Congress Hall

The Palace of Culture and Science is a highly controversial building for some, and is often viewed as a reminder of Soviet influence over the Polish People's Republic, especially due to its construction during mass violations of human rights under Joseph Stalin.