The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

Independent Publishing Movement 1977-1989

It was exactly in Lublin, associated with the beginnings of the Communist rule in Poland (the famous manifesto from 4th July, 1944) and machinery of repression and censorship, where, 30 years later, printing of materials free from lies spread by official, totalitarian propaganda began. it is difficult to overestimate the importance of this fact. A symbolic meaning of this activity was enormous. We can only repeat after Ryszard Kapuściński: ...we cannot imagine a general history coursebook which would not include a chapter on the influence of written word, in form of leaflets, illegal magazines, underground press and irregular publications on political and social clashes (...) It is, indeed, writing - demascating, accusing, and often simply informing - that played an important part in closing down gulags and concentration camps or subversing numerous oppresive regimes. (...) And exactly because of the fact that written word could always change a lot, it has for centuries been a threat to all authoritarian rulers, who tried to to fight it with all means. [R. Kapuściński "Siła słowa"]

The Beginning

The thought of taking action in opposition started in the Scientific Group of History Students in the Catholic University of Lublin. The first step to fulfill this attempt was obtaining a spirit-duplicator from the West. At the beginning of 1976 the University's Art History student Karol Wit Wojtowicz brought a small duplicator to Lublin. The device was placed in Janusz Krupski's place at Gospodarcza Street in Lublin. Till June of the same year, first leaflets had been printed on it. The organisers of this historic enterprise were, among others, Janusz Krupski and Bogdan Borusewicz- people associated with Lublin Indepented Young Catholics' Magazine "Spotkania". For security reasons, the duplicator was later moved to Anna Żórawska's place.

 

Underground Publications

Underground publications - newspapers and leaflets, printed in different people's houses, were present in Lublin from 1977. The first duplicator was primarily used to print "Zapis", published by Censorship-Free Publishing House "Nowa". However, the most important underground press titles that appeared in Lublin were „Spotkania" and „Miesiące". The first issue of "Spotkania", with a sub-heading The Independent Magazine of Young Catholicsappeared in October 1977, the last - in 1989. The magazine was different from other Catholic periodicals in its approach to the oppressive state - the first wrote about ways to transform Polish People's Republic, the latter about replacing it with something different. From the first issue it put a stress on independence, not only for Poland, but also for its neighbours, especially the eastern ones.
The "Miesiące" magazine was a periodical of a trade union published by the Middle-East Division of NSZZ „Solidarność" (Independent Autonomous Trade Union "Solidarity") in Lublin. The editorial office resided at the headquarters of the Division, at Królewska 3 St. The first issue was published in 1981. The whole issue was dedicated to June 1980 strikes in Lublin region. The magazine was one of most important intellectual initiatives in the era of the first "Solidarity".
Another title, published by Warsaw KOR (Workers' Protection Committee), was also available in Lublin. After the rise of NSZZ Solidarność, from May 1981, a "Biuletyn Informacyjny Międzyzakładowego Komitetu Założycielskiego NSZZ Solidarność Region Środkowo - Wschodni" ("Information Bulletin of the Interdepartamental Founding Committee of NSZZ "Solidarnosc""), from June 1981 "Solidarność Kolejowa" magazine - a news bulletin of Wschodni Okręg Kolei Państwowych (Eastern Division of State Railways), later renamed for "Biuletyn Informacyjny Organizacji Zakładowej Węzła PKP Lublin" ("News Bulletin of the Institutional Organisation of Polish Railways in Lublin") . In 1981 "Kronika Wydarzeń" was also issued. In November 1981 it changed its title for "Podtekst. Pismo Niezależnego Stowarzyszenia Studentów KUL" ("Implied Meaning. Independent Catholic University Students Society Magazine"). Other titles which were appearing in those times were, among others: "Curier", "Enklawa", "Kontakt". The illegal publications were distributed in the streets (e.g. thrown from the roofs), or from hand to hand - e.g. in work places.

The Printers

We can assume that establishing the underground "Spotkania" printing house in Lublin was in the era of Polish People's Republic one of the first initiatives of that kind and, at the same time, the beginning of independent, underground publishing movement. The printer was something completely outstanding not only in Poland, but also n the whole Communis block. Thanks to printing and duplicating free press, the Memory and its continuity was saved. This fact is the biggest contribution of the people who, under pressure of fear and time, were able to consequently organize ndependent publishing movement in Lublin.