Interview with Lech Walesa

31-03-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 857

As one of the leaders of the Polish workers, Lech Walesa was detained several times during the 1970s. In December 1981, Walesa, along with several thousand others, was arrested when General Jaruzelski imposed martial law and “suspended” the labour movement “Solidarnosc” (Solidarity). Walesa was interned in a country house in a remote part of Poland, close to the then Soviet border, and was visited three times by ICRC delegates.

During this period, the ICRC visited 4,850 other internees (79 visits to 24 different places of detention) and it provided assistance and helped to restore contact between internees and their families abroad. At the same time and in conjunction with the Polish Red Cross and the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (as it was then known), the ICRC carried out an extensive assistance programme for the benefit of the civilian population which was in dire need of basic goods.


The interview was conducted on 5 January 2005 in Gdansk by Toni Pfanner (Editor-in-Chief of the International Review of the Red Cross) and Marcin Monko (ICRC regional delegation in Budapest).


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