The Anti-Communist Opposition in Gdansk and Lviv

In August 2009 the "Anti-Communist Opposition in Gdansk and Lviv" city game took place in Gdansk and Lviv. It was a joint project of the Polish Institute in Kyiv, the European Solidarity Center in Gdansk and the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv. The program aimed at deepening the youth’s knowledge of the new history of East Central Europe, in particular the recent history of Ukraine and Poland. The project was financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. The game’s topic was connected with the remembrance of the seventeenth anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War and the twentieth anniversary of the fall of communism in Central Europe. The game’s scenario was developed by Ukrainian and Polish historians and is based on the activities of the opposition during the 1980’s in Gdansk and at the end of the 1980’s-beginning of 1990’s in Lviv. Twenty high school students from Lviv and, correspondingly, twenty teenagers from Gdansk took part in the game. The game is conducted in two stages. The first stage was completed in Gdansk, while the second was held in Lviv. In each city, the forty teenagers had the opportunity not only to visit the places where political events of the 1980’s – important for both countries – unfolded, but through the game to turn into oppositionists and to feel and understand the atmosphere and significance of those events for the subsequent history of Ukraine and Poland.

The game in Gdansk that took place on August 9 was about the events connected with the workers’ strikes and the creation of the "Solidarnosc" Trade Union in Poland. Participants of the game visited the cradle of "Solidarnosc" – the shipbuilding factory of Gdansk, the "Roads to Freedom" exhibition and met with a witness of the events.

The second round of the game took place in Lviv on August 23. In Lviv the game unfolded not only around political events; the task of the game was to highlight the changes that occurred at the end of the 1980’s not only in the political sphere, but also in the cultural and spiritual life of the city and the country in general. The game was based on the quest principle: Game participants had to find, solve and guess the locations where the first political meetings had taken place, where the religious and spiritual life of the city had been revived, where the Union of the Lion had gathered, where the first “gaivky” (meetings in forest) had been conducted and where informal banned music groups had assembled. The participants had to demonstrate the abilities of oppositionists: to write a leaflet, perform songs prohibited in the USSR and so on.

In the framework of the two-day visit of the Polish students to Lviv (22-23 August), the teen-agers had a chance to not only take part in an interesting event, but also get to know our city, its cultural and architectural heritage, to meet with the participants of the events of the end of the 1980’s and to simply make friends.

For more detailed information regarding the game please contact Iryna Matsevko, Academic Coordinator of the Center for Urban History, tel. No. 275 17 34, or e-mail: i.matsevko@lvivcenter.org