Skip Navigation Links The Library of Congress >> Researchers
European Reading Room: European Division, Area Studies
  Home >> Periodicals >> Polish Press

The Independent Press in Poland, 1976-1990

Compiled by
Zbigniew Kantorosinski, 1991 Cover of print edition of The Independent Press in Poland, 1976-1990

Updated by
Wiesława Kostrzewa-Zorbas, 1995
Ronald D. Bachman, 1996
Agnes T. Rzeszotarski, 1997
Ronald D. Bachman, 2000
Walter R. Iwaskiw, 2001
Ronald D. Bachman, 2005
Regina Frąckowiak, 2016

Index:   Foreword/Introduction  List of Abbreviations   Part I: Serials
Part II: Monographs  Part III: Miscellaneous


Since the appearance of this publication in 1991, the European Division has continued to build its collection of Polish independent press materials through exchanges with libraries in Poland. Rather than reprinting the guide, we periodically update this electronic version. We wish to thank Stephen C. Cranton for uploading this guide onto the World Wide Web and especially thank Zbigniew Kantorosinski, the author of The Independent Press in Poland, 1976-1990, for supporting the concept of an updated electronic version of his 1991 publication. We acknowledge with gratitude the efforts of our Division webmaster, Kenneth Nyirady, who has enhanced the online version by restoring the original Polish diacritics, and Regina Frackowiak, reference specialist in the European Division, who meticulously reviewed the Polish spellings.

Although the European Division is not primarily a custodial element of the Library, for the foreseeable future we will have responsibility for housing and serving through our reading room all the materials listed in this guide. Researchers are advised that in addition to the collection described below, the Library holds the important IDC microfiche collection Polish Independent Publications 1976+. A finding aid is available in the Microform Reading Room, which has custody of the collection; the microfiche number is (o)86/12(H).

Return to Contents


Independent publications -- books, journals, newspapers, bulletins, declarations, and leaflets in which a people spoke out against their government -- proliferated during the two decades before the fall of communism in Poland in 1989. These publications were "independent" in the sense that they were not published or distributed by licensed organizations. They were "uncensored" in that they were distributed illegally and thus bypassed government censorship. They were "unofficial" in that they ignored and often defied the official "truths" of the government. In some instances they were distributed free of charge with such slogans as Nie niszcz! Nie gub! Podaj drugiemu! [Do not destroy! Do not lose! Pass it on to others!].

The generation of these documents began with the founding of the Workers' Defense Committee (KOR) in 1976. In that year sharp food price increases brought on a wave of strikes in Radom and Ursus that ended with the dismissal of some 2,000 workers from their jobs. KOR was formed by a group of fourteen dissident intellectuals to provide legal, financial, and medical assistance to these strikers. It began clandestine publication of the BIULETYN INFORMACYJNY, which was devoted to reports about reprisals, trials, and judicial irregularities and included the names and addresses of KOR members to whom political prisoners and their families could turn for help.

The independent press continued to grow in the 1980s as Solidarity emerged from a second wave of strikes and absorbed KOR. The Solidarity movement was so well organized that the government was forced to accept the twenty-one demands contained in the Gdańsk Agreement of 1980. Point Three guaranteed freedom of speech, press, and publication. During the sixteen months in which Solidarity was legal, this agreement fostered publication at the individual factory, shipyard, and university levels as well as on the national and regional levels. It also strengthened existing independent publishing houses such as the Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza (NOWA). All of this publishing activity continued after the imposition of martial law in December 1981, but it again went underground.

Although the preponderance of publications originated with workers' rights groups such as KOR and Solidarity, many other organizations were involved as well, including human rights groups such as the Movement for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights (ROPCiO) and Freedom and Peace (WIP); student and youth groups and organizations concerned with education, such as the Independent Students' Union (NZS) and the Society for Academic Courses (TKN); social, scientific, and cultural groups, such as the Center for Documentation and Analysis (CDiA) and the Social Committee for Science (SKN); farmers' organizations like Solidarność Wiejska and the All-Poland Farmers' Resistance Committee (OKOR); and political groups and other organizations concerned with national self-determination, such as the Confederation for an Independent Poland (KPN) and the Committee for National Self-Determination (KPSN). By speaking out through clandestine publications, all of these groups contributed to the growing democratic movement.

The European Division of the Library of Congress houses a significant collection of these publications. The collection began with original copies as well as photocopies donated by individuals. In 1991 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty presented the Division with additional materials largely published between 1988 and 1990. Since 1991, the Library has continued to acquire independent press publications through exchanges with several libraries in Poland.

For purposes of this listing, the collection has been divided into three categories: serials, monographs, and miscellaneous items. The serial titles include one-page bulletins as well as newspapers and sophisticated journals. The title of the serial is followed by the place of publication, the year the serial began publication, and frequency (when known). The division's holdings of individual issues follows each entry.

The monographs are listed alphabetically by author or editor or, if neither is evident, by title. This section includes writings by Polish authors, translations of Western works, and works by Polish emigres. Some materials were intended for self-education, others filled the "blank spots" in Polish history that the official press ignored, some voiced political opinions, and others, such as a collection of reprinted photographs, documented police brutality.

The miscellaneous items listed in Part Three demonstrate the resourcefulness of the opposition. This section includes the declarations, open letters, appeals, bulletins, telegrams, posters, leaflets, and cartoons they created to express dissent. These entries are listed by author when known or by title, issuing organization, or genre.

All of these materials were first and foremost a means of expressing dissent against the government. As they were distributed and read they became, as Adam Michnik said, "the living symbol of the opposition's survival." But they also embodied the convictions of the opposition. As such, these publications are documents of lasting value for all readers concerned with the rebirth of liberty in Eastern Europe.

Many thanks go to Stephen Cranton for his technical assistance in the preparation of this list, to Daniel and Bianka Kortlan for their proofreading and suggestions, and to David H. Kraus, Chief of the European Division, for his moral and administrative support.

Zbigniew Kantorosinski, 1991.

Return to Contents

List of Abbreviations

BL - Biblioteka Latająca/"Flying Library"
CDiA - Centrum Dokumentacji i Analiz/Center for Documentation and Analysis
ChSS - Chrześcijańskie Stowarzyszenie Społeczne/Christian Social Association
CRZZ - Centralna Rada Związków Zawodowych/Central Trade Union Council
DiP - Konserwatorium " Doświadczenie i Przyszłość"/"Experience and the Future" Discussion Club
FJN - Front Jedności Narodu/Front of National Unity
FMW - Federacja Młodzież Walcząca/National Federation of Fighting Youth
FON - Fundusz Oświaty Niezależnej/Independent Education Fund
GUKPPiW - Główny Urząd Kontroli Prasy, Publikacji i Widowisk/Main Office for the Control of the Press, Publications, and Public Performances
KIiP - Komisja Interwencji i Praworządności/Commission for Intervention and Legality
KK - Komisja Krajowa/National Commission
KKN - Komitet Kultury Niezależnej/Committee for Independent Culture
KKP - Krajowa Komisja Porozumiewawcza/National Coordinating Commission
KKS - Krajowa Komisja Strajkowa/National Strike Committee
KKW - Krajowa Komisja Wykonawcza/National Executive Committee
KOISRC - Komitet Obrony Interesów Społeczeństwa Regionu Częstochowskiego/Committee in Defense of Social Rights of the Częstochowa Region
KON - Koła Oświaty Niezależnej/Independent Education Circles
KOP - Komitet Obrony Praworządności/Committee in Defense of the Rule of Law
KOPC - Komitet Obrony Praw Człowieka/Committee in Defense of Human Rights
KOPP - Komitety Obywatelskie Przeciw Przemocy/Citizens' Committees Against Violence
KOR - Komitet Obrony Robotników/Workers' Defense Committee
KOS - Komitet Oporu Społecznego/Committee for Social Resistance
KPN - Konfederacja Polski Niepodległej/Confederation for an Independent Poland
KPSN - Komitet Porozumienia na Rzecz Samostanowienia Narodu/Committee for National Self-Determination
KSS "KOR" - Komitet Samoobrony Społecznej "KOR"/Committee for Social Self-Defense "KOR"
KWK - Kopalnia Węgla Koksowego/Coke Mine
KZ WZZ - Komitety Założycielskie WZZ/Founding Committees of the Free Trade Unions
LDP "N" - Liberalno-Demokratyczna Partia "Niepodległość"/Liberal- Democratic "Independent" Party
LO - Liceum Ogólnokształcące /Secondary School
LWP - Ludowe Wojsko Polskie/Polish People's Army
MKK - 1.) Międzyzakładowa Komisja Koordynacyjna/Inter-Factory Coordinating Commission 2.) Międzyzakładowy Komitet Koordynacyjny/Inter-Factory Coordinating Committee
MKO - Międzyszkolny Komitet Obrony/Inter-School Resistance Committee
MKO "S" - Międzyregionalny Komitet Obrony "Solidarność"/Inter- Regional Commission for the Defense of Solidarity
MKR - Międzyzakładowa Komisja Regionalna/Inter-Factory Regional Commission
MKS - Międzyzakładowy Komitet Strajkowy/Inter-Factory Strike Committee
MKWP - Małopolski Komitet Walki o Praworządność/Małopolski Committee of the Struggle for Legality
MO - Milicja Obywatelska/Citizens Militia
MKZ - Międzyzakładowy Komitet Założycielski /Inter-Factory Founding Committee
NIK - Najwyższa Izba Kontroli/Supreme Chamber for Inspection
NOWA - Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza/Independent Publishing House
NSZZ "S" - Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy "Solidarność"/Independent Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarity"
NZS - Niezależne Zrzeszenie Studentów/Independent Students' Union
NZWN - Niezależny Zespół Współpracy Naukowej/Independent Group for Scholarly Cooperation
NZZR - Niezależny Związek Zawodowy Rolników/Independent Farmers' Trade Union
OIOPC "PP" - Obywatelska Inicjatywa w Obronie Praw Człowieka "Przeciw Przemocy"/Citizens' Initiative in Defense of Human Rights "Against Violence"
OIOPP - Obywatelska Inicjatywa w Obronie Prawa i Prawdy/Citizens' Initiative in Defense of Law and Truth
OKO - National Solidarity Resistance Committee
OKOR - Ogólnopolski Komitet Oporu Rolników/All-Poland Farmers' Resistance Committee
ORMO - Ochotnicza Rezerwa Milicji Obywatelskiej/Voluntary Civil Militia Reserve
PAN - Polska Akademia Nauk/Polish Academy of Sciences
PAP - Polska Agencja Prasowa/Polish News Agency
Pax - Progovernment Catholic Organization
PFN - Polski Front Narodowy/Polish National Front
PKOZRiN - Polski Komitet Obrony Życia, Rodziny i Narodu/Polish Committee for the Defense of Life, Family, and the Nation
PKWN - Polski Komitet Wyzwolenia Narodowego/Polish Committee for National Independence
PPN - 1.) Polska Partia Niepodległościowa/Polish Independent Party 2.) Polskie Porozumienie Niepodległościowe/Polish League for Independence
PPS - Polska Partia Socjalistyczna/Polish Socialist Party
PPS-RD - Polska Partia Socjalistyczna-Rewolucja Demokratyczna/Polish Socialist Part-Democratic Revolution
PRW NiD - Polski Ruch Wolnościowy "Niepodległość i Demokracja"/Polish Independence Movement "Independence and Democracy"
PSL - Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe/Polish Peasants' Party
PZPR - Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza/Polish United Workers' Party
REN - Rada Edukacji Narodowej/Council for National Education
RK - Regionalny Komitet/Regional Committee
RKK - Regionalna Komisja Koordynacyjna/Regional Coordinating Commission
RKO - 1.) Regionalny Komitet Obywatelski/Regional Citizens' Committee 2.) Regionalny Komitet Organizacyjny/Regional Organizational Committee
RKS - Regionalny Komitet Strajkowy/Regional Strike Committee
RKW - 1.) Regionalna Komisja Wspólrzędna/Regional Coordinating Commission 2.) Regionalna Komisja Wykonawcza/Regional Executive Commission
RMP - Ruch Młodej Polski/Young Poland Movement
RMN - Ruch Młodzieży Niezależnej/Independent Youth Movement
ROPCiO - Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela/Movement for the Defense of Human and Civil Rights
RSA - Ruch Społeczeństwa Alternatywnego/Alternative Society Movement (Anarchists)
RSOKOP - Regionalny Społeczny Obywatelski Komitet Obrony Praworządności/Regional Social Citizens'Committee in Defense of the Rule of Law
RWD - Ruch Wolnych Demokratów /Movement of Free Democrats
"S" - "Solidarność"/"Solidarity"
SB - Służba Bezpieczeństwa/Internal Security Service
SGPiS - Szkoła Główna Planowania i Statystyki
SKN - Społeczny Komitet Nauki/Social Committee for Science
SKR - Spółdzielcze Kółko Rolnicze/Cooperative Farmers' Circles
SKS - Studencki Komitet Solidarności/Student Solidarity Committee
SKZ - Społeczna Komisja Zdrowia/Social Commission of Health
SL - Stronnictwo Ludowe/Peasant Party
SSOPC - Społeczne Stowarzyszenie Obrony Praw Człowieka/Social Association in Defense of Human Rights
SW - Solidarność Walcząca/Fighting Solidarity
SZSP - Socjalistyczny Związek Studentów Polskich/Socialist Union of Polish Students
TKK - Tymczasowa Komisja Koordynacyjna/Interim Coordinating Commission
TKN - Towarzystwo Kursów Naukowych/Society for Academic Courses
TKO - Terytorialna Komisja Obrony/Territorial Committee of Resistance
TKZ - Tymczasowa Komisja Zakładowa/Temporary Factory Commission
TZR - Tymczasowy Zarząd Regionu/Interim Regional Administration
UL - Uniwersytet Ludowy/People's University
UT - Uniwersytet Latający/"Flying University"
WiP - Wolność i Pokój/Freedom and Peace [Movement]
WSN - Wolność-Sprawiedliwość-Niepodległość/Freedom-Justice- Independence
WZZ - Wolne Związki Zawodowe/Free Trade Unions
ZEN - Zeszyty Edukacji Narodowej/National Education Books
ZLP - Związek Literatów Polskich/Union of Polish Writers
ZLS - Zjednoczone Stronnictwo Ludowe/United Peasant Party
ZOMO - Zmotoryzowane Oddziały Milicji Obywatelskiej/Motorized Units of Civil Militia
ZON - Zespół Oświaty Niezależnej/Independent Education Board
  Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Periodicals >> Polish Press
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  March 9, 2022
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian