Sunday, April 30, 2017
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Women of Solidarity Workers' Union in Poland

The publication of Podziemie Kobiet (Warsaw: Rosner & Wspolnicy, 2003) in Polish by author Shana Penn was celebrated on October 16, 2003 at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, DC which was co-sponsored by the Network of East-West Women. Penn served as the organization's first executive director from 1991-96. The Embassy's invitation states that The Underground of Women recreates the little known history of the heroic Polish women who organized the Solidarity underground during the 1980s martial law years. An all-female team kept the mission of Solidarity alive, and their weekly, clandestine, nationwide newspaper became the acknowledged voice of Solidarity. Penn is the first writer to recognize them as the Founding Mothers of Polish Democracy. These brave women personified the Matka Polka - the Polish Mother - who selflessly protected Poland from the Communist evil during this perilous and revolutionary time.

Cultural Attache Anna NiewiadomskaThe literary event was opened with welcoming and relevant remarks by Charge d' Affairs Boguslaw Winid and Cultural Attache Anna Niewiadomska. Author Shana Penn (image on the left, standing) was introduced by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio (seated, next to Shana Penn), who spoke about their mutual interests in supporting democratic institutions in Poland, and of the strong and resourceful women she has known in her own Polish-American family and in Poland. The author explained her motivation for writing the book and cited the absolute need for the courageous Polish heroines in Solidarity to be finally and fully recognized and widely honored in accordance with the great personal risks and many sacrifices that their dangerous work entailed. In 2004 a closely related sister book written by Penn- "National Secret: The Women Who Brought Democracy To Poland"- will be published by the University of Michigan Press. Shana Penn can be reached by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it in regards to her publications and her life's work of research and advocacy projects on gender and Jewish cultural issues in the transitional societies of Eastern Europe.


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