Have you ever wondered what was it like to live in the last century? Unfortunately, we can't turn back time, but the past may come to us! We’ll have a look at how the world has changed during communism in Poland. Who were the most famous people during these difficult times?


An excessive image, amazing personality, phenomenal voice - Violetta Villas- the singing queen of the Polish People's Republic. She radically changed the national and world stages. Her soprano was known and loved by millions. Songs like „Dla Ciebie miły”, „Oczy czarne”, or „Do Ciebie mamo” could be heard in every Polish home. The artist created her songs in ten languages and had wide musical repertoire, ranging from traditional pop to opera arias and world jazz.


While Violetta Villas was dominating international stages, a runner Irena Szewińska would win on a treadmill. She specialized in short distances and long jump. The athlete was a seven-time Olympic medalist, 3 of which were gold. It is worth mentioning that she has improved the world record ten times in her career and in 1974 she was announced the best sportswoman in the world!


October 16, 1978, brought happiness to the lives of Poles. Karol Wojtyła, better known as John Paul II, was elected as a pope. A resident from Wadowice changed the image of the whole religious world, and millions of believers loved him. He held the post of Bishop of Rome for 28 years. After his death, he has been beatified and declared saint.


Two years later, huge political changes took place in Poland. In August 1980, the Independent Self-governing Trade Union "Solidarity" organized a strike in the Gdansk shipyard that went down in history. Strikers demanded the defence of workers' rights and an increase in pay by organizing the biggest opposition against the communist authorities. The leader of this movement was Lech Wałęsa, who led to the August agreements. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the country, and today the airport in Gdansk is named after him.


Every year medicine became more and more advanced. A good example is the figure of a Polish heart surgeon - Zbigniew Religa. On August 15, 1985, he carried out his first heart surgery in Zabrze, and on November 5, he conducted first ever successful heart transplant surgery in Poland. Although the 62-year-old recipient died of sepsis two months later, the procedure itself was considered a global success, as the chances of success were only by 50%!


It’s impossible to pick just one master in the field of culture, but when it comes to directing, there were two of them - Andrzej Wajda and Roman Polański. The first director was nominated for an Oscar four times but received only the Honorary Award for lifetime achievement. The movies you need to watch are „Kanał”, „Man of Iron”, „The Promised Land”, „Ashes and Diamonds”, or „Katyn”. The second arttist’s achievements are equally impressive. He received a lot of Oscar nominations and won the prize for one of the best Polish films - „The Pianist”. His other outstanding filmographies are „Rosemary’s Baby” or „Chinatown”, created right in the communist era.


As you can see, Polish people have succeeded in many areas. Each one of them changed Poland to a greater or lesser extent. Not only they remained in the memory of people who lived in these difficult times but they still are remembered by younger generations.












http://historiajednejfotografii.blogspot.com/2012/11/zbigniew-religa.html phot. James L. Stanfield, National Geographic