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17. ‘To Kill a Priest’

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Chapter Summary

The Church now stood as the only openly independent institution, and many saw it as part of the opposition. Father Jerzy Popiełuszko’s murder, like the Bydgoszcz events, became another major turning-point in the struggle between Solidarity and the state. The immediate reaction among priests who were close to Solidarity was to be fearful that they might be next. In some cases, workers set up guard units to protect the priests. But ultimately many priests became more outspoken. The level of repression the regime could muster was becoming less terrifying, especially to some youth who had been too young to participate in Solidarity. These young people did not have an activist past, but they were joined by some Solidarity activists. In discussions at the hunger strike, the participants decided that an open, overground peace movement was possible in Poland.

Keywords:Church; Father Jerzy Popiełuszko; murder; Priest; Solidarity; youth movement



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