March 1968 in Poland

The Polish 1968 political crisis, also known in Poland as March 1968, Students’ March, or March events (Polish: Marzec 1968; studencki Marzec; wydarzenia marcowe), was a series of major student, intellectual and other protests against the communist regime[1] of the Polish People’s Republic. The crisis led to the suppression of student strikes by security forces in all major academic centres across the country and the subsequent repression of the Polish dissident movement. It was also accompanied by mass emigration following an antisemitic (branded “anti-Zionist”) campaign[2][3][4][5] waged by the minister of internal affairs, General Mieczysław Moczar, with the approval of First Secretary Władysław Gomułka of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR). The protests overlapped with the events of the Prague Spring in neighboring Czechoslovakia – raising new hopes of democratic reforms among the intelligentsia. The Czechoslovak unrest culminated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on 20 August 1968.

The anti-Jewish campaign began in 1967, and was carried out in conjunction with the USSR’s withdrawal of all diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War, but also involved a power struggle within the PZPR itself. The subsequent purges within the ruling party, led by Mieczysław Moczar and his faction, failed to topple Gomułka’s government but resulted in an exile from Poland of thousands of individuals of Jewish ancestry, including professionals, party officials and secret police functionaries. In carefully staged public displays of support, factory workers across Poland were assembled to publicly denounce Zionism. At least 13,000 Poles of Jewish origin emigrated in 1968–72 as a result of being fired from their positions and various other forms of harassment

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