Chris Niedenthal


City of Warsaw, Poland between 1973-1983 photographed by Chris Niedenthal [source].

Most of the shots above show the situation before and after the imposition of martial law in Poland. Click [here] to see a set of photographs taken by Niedenthal during the 1981/2 protests in Warsaw.

On the last picture you can see a contrasting Pewex - which was chain of hard currency shops selling imported goods:

The emergence of Pewex stores made it possible to for natives to obtain the unobtainable; a familiar sight to any foreigner in Poland at the time, these special ‘tourist shops’ offered a wide range of goods, but only in return for hard currency. The Pewex chain of stores, and their coastal equivalent Baltona, were open to the general public. Stocking the cult goods of the time, such as the dangerously named Derek aftershave, these shops became a constant reminder to Poles of what was available in the West, and more painfully, to those in power. But with rationing in operation in the ordinary stores, Pewex shopping became a necessity, not just a luxury, for the everyday Pole. The scheming involved to get hard currency became an art form, and it was for this reason sailors, taxi drivers and others who had regular contact with foreigners were envied by the common worker. [source / read more]


Chris Niedenthal (British-Polish photographer and photojournalist): the Martial Law in Poland between December 1981 - July 1983 [source]:

  1. First day of the martial law: group of people gathered in the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Warsaw, December 13th, 1981.
  2. Demonstration of Solidarność in Warsaw, August 31st, 1982.
  3. Armoured transporter in front of the “Moskwa” cinema in Warsaw, with large banner advertising Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” in the background, December 1981.
  4. Puławska Street in Warsaw, December 15th, 1981.
  5. Ujazdów Avenue in Warsaw, December 22nd, 1981.
  6. First major clash of Solidarność members with ZOMO (paramilitary police), Castle Square in Warsaw, May 3rd, 1982.
  7. Militia dispersing women that arranged a flower cross at the Victory Square (now: Piłsudski Square) in Warsaw, July 16th, 1982.

Era of PRL in Poland photographed by Chris Niedenthal:

  1. The Presidential Dożynki (Harvest Festival) in Koszalin, 1975.
  2. Drowning of Marzanna, Kurpie in 1970s.
  3. Międzyzdroje in 1979.
  4. No heating - woman waiting for the coal. Warsaw 1982.
  5. Harsh reality: empty shelves in a butcher shop, Praga district of Warsaw, 1982.
  6. The National Stadium in Warsaw, 1979.
  7. Somewhere on the outskirts of Wrocław city, summer 1982.
  8. Wadowice in may 1981 - few days after the Pope John Paul II assassination attempt.
  9. The iconic protograph: SKOT armoured transporter in the front of the Moskwa cinema with the ad of “Apocalypse Now” movie, Warsaw 1981 - beginning of the Martial Law.
  10. Stalingrad Alley (now: Jagiellońska Street) in Warsaw, February 1982.