MARCH 1968 IN BIALYSTOK IN THE LIGHT OF MATERIAL FROM THE CIVIC MILITIA VOIVODESHIP HEADQUARTERS
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March 1968 did not leave a distinct imprint on the history of Bialystok. There are no records of significant events, and mention is made only of several hundred distributed leaflets, several inscriptions on walls, and heated discussions held amongst secondary school and university students. The reports emphasize that a prominent impact on the prevailing situation was exerted by the social composition of the local students - the predominance of peasant and working class backgrounds and the absence of students of intelligentsia origin. The politically active role was in many cases assumed by secondary school pupils. Quite possibly, this state of affairs was strongly affected by the lack of humanities faculties, which almost traditionally acted as the 'organisers' of student protest and disturbances. An active 'participant of the March events was the press. 'Gazeta Bialostocka' conducted a propaganda campaign throughout almost the entire period, although compared to the national papers its articles preserved a low profile and, for all practical purposes, reprinted information from the central press and featured accounts of the meetings and mass-scale demonstrations held in assorted workplaces. Neither the local press nor the Civic Militia reports reflect an excessive involvement of the residents of Bialystok in the anti-Semitic campaign, although operation reports contained numerous information about anti-Semitic moods. It is interesting to note that an examination of the Civic Militia Voivodeship Headquarters documents shows a much stronger reaction to events associated with the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Many more 'nonconformist' commentaries, public appearances, meetings and discussions were noted down; the same holds true for the number of detainees.
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