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The December ’70 Trail

The December ’70 Trail

THE TRAGEDY AND MEMORIES OF A REBELLING CITY

The history of Szczecin abounds with turbulent events. One of the most tragic episodes occurred in December 1970, when the then authorities used force against protesting workers. Shots were fired, blood was shed, people were killed.

In December 1970 a series of protests was initiated by workers as a response to the rising prices of food, in particular of meat. The most dramatic events took place in the northern Baltic coastal cities – Gdynia, Gdańsk, Elbląg and Szczecin.

To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the riots in our city, a tourist trail “The December ’70” has been established. It consists of 9 commemorative plaques in places where the dramatic events happened. The plaques display historical pictures, information in three languages and QR codes that will allow access to detailed descriptions of the places on the web.

The trail came into existence in order to make people, both residents of Szczecin and those visiting our city, and also those not necessarily interested in history, aware that all these streets and squares in Szczecin, seemingly with ordinary buildings, inconspicuous and devoid of historical appearance, were the scene of events of crucial significance for Poland, Europe and the world. It is impossible to understand Szczecin or the phenomenon of “Solidarność” - a social movement that involved millions of people - or the political breakthrough of 1988/1989 which led to the collapse of communism in Europe, without knowing this difficult aspect of history of Szczecin.

The trail is there to remind us and our guests, especially the young ones, whose parents and grandparents participated in the events, but for whom personally it might seem rather a historical abstraction, that the path leading to the freedom we enjoy in our times was purchased at great cost. That the path leading to the Polish Roundtable talks, but also to the fall of the Berlin Wall, was through the blood-stained streets of Szczecin and the common room in the no-longer-operating shipyard.

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