“The Mother of Solidarity”: Anna Walentynowicz’s Quest in Live
Languages of publication
This article looks at three interviews conducted with Anna Walentynowicz, an important Solidarity figure, recorded by three different people. The interviews span from the mid-1980s—the peak of the Solidarity struggle—through the 1990s—when Poland was still celebrating its newly regained independence from Communism—to the decision to join the European Union. As such they mark milestones of Polish history in the last two decades. The article describes Walentynowicz’s difficult childhood and proceeds through her professional career in the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk until her active involvement in the Solidarity strikes in the Shipyard in August of 1980. This was essentially the time when, due to her skirmishes with Solidarity Leader Lech Wałęsa, she found herself on the margins of the movement in which she sincerely believed. The article focuses on Walentynowicz’ narratives, more precisely on the important events which drive how she tells her story, as well as key notions that maintain the coherence of her story. She tells her story in a romantic epic mode, in which she is able to combine her personal experience with master narratives of Polish history. It is essentially a redemptive story through which she struggles to maintain the meaning of her life. The way she reconstructs and narrates her past reflects on her attitude towards her present.
Publication order reference