March 1968 important for contemporary Polish students: historian

PolandIN interviewed Dr Przemysław Gasztold from the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) about the events of March 1968 - a shadowy period in modern Polish history.

Click here to watch the full interview.

March 1968 is perhaps chiefly known for student riots and the expulsion of thousands of Polish-Jews after an anti-Semitic smear campaign.

The origins of the crisis lie in a factor common to all political parties; in-fighting and rivalry on a factional and individual level. The reverberations of Israeli victory in the Six Day War and the failure of Soviet military thinking placed Poland in the Soviet camp, whilst questioning the loyalty of its officers, academics, bureaucrats of Jewish origin.

The Israeli triumph sent shock waves through the Polish communist establishment and opened up existing fissures.

Władysław Gomułka, Polish Communist party leader found himself inside a web of volatile personal and career dilemmas that he could scarcely contain.