Coin Commemorates Polish Anti-Communists

The National Bank of Poland has issued a set of coins to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the NZS, an independent student's association that helped overthrow communism in Poland in the 80's.

Veteran members of the NZS were presented with the commemorative coins at a ceremony in the Polish city of Katowice on Friday.

[Eugeniusz Gatnar, Board Member, National Bank of Poland]:

"The National Bank of Poland has just issued two very unique coins which commemorate the NZS on the 30th anniversary of its founding. It was really a huge collective fight for freedom taken up by Polish students everywhere."

The ceremony took place at the University of Silesia in southern Poland.

It was on campuses like this one that NZS activists faced arrests, beatings and jail time decades ago for protesting against the communist regime.

Mr. Gatnar, now a senior executive at the National Bank, also faced arrest as a student member of the NZS.

[Eugeniusz Gatnar, Board Member, National Bank of Poland]:

"We fought for freedom of speech, freedom of choice and we fought for freedom of assembly, so that we could work in a free Poland."

According to its first-ever president, the Independent Student's Association fought side-by-side with the Solidarity movement.

[Jaroslaw Guzy, Former President, NZS]:

"The Association was a special part of the Solidarity movement because it was made up of young people, and what particularly connected us with young workers was that we rejected communism completely. We focused on the here and now and believed that communism had to fall and it had to fall in our time. That was our aim and in this respect there was no compromise."

The NZS was legalised in 1989, when communism finally collapsed.

And so bolstered by a victory in its biggest fight, today's NZS continues to campaign for student's rights in Poland.

NTD News, Katowice, Poland