Five hundred and thirty audiotapes of meetings of the Polish Solidarność trade union have been digitized for preservation and access by Hoover’s audio lab. The Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarity, formed in 1980 under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa, became a pro-democracy and anticommunist political and social movement. Its recordings, which comprise the NSZZ Solidarność Records at the Hoover Archives, offer an inside look at labor, economic, and political conditions in Poland during the pivotal period from 1980 to 1991.
The comprehensive nature of the collection is particularly noteworthy, including many recordings of various union meetings in their entirety, with the final months of 1981, when martial law was introduced, especially well documented. The coverage of preparations for the 1989 Round Table negotiations and elections and Wałęsa's meeting with the candidates for deputies is also significant.
The recordings also cover sessions at several levels of the organization, from the National Commission to various regional congresses and local branches, some workers' self-management committees, and negotiation sessions with government representatives.
Use copies of the recordings are available for listening at the Hoover Archives. To set up an appointment to visit or purchase copies if you cannot visit, please contact Audiovisual Services.