Right after the declaration of the martial law in Poland in December 1981, U.S.-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe expanded their radio broadcasts. These broadcasts continued during the martial law. VOA and Radio Free Europe interviewed Solidarity leaders who escaped imprisonment and reported on their statements and activities. VOA also reported on U.S. government’s and private American efforts to help Solidarity and to force the communist regime in Poland to release political prisoners and to reach an agreement with independent trade unions and opposition leaders.
One of the Solidarity leaders forced into exile in the United States was Mirosław Domińczyk from Kielce in central Poland. He was one of the co-funders of independent trade unions in Kielce and later participated in the August 1980 strike at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk. Together with Lech Walesa and other activists, he helped to create and register the independent Solidarity trade union. However, on December 13, 1981, he and thousands of other Solidarity activists were arrested by the Jaruzelski regime. Mirosław Domińczyk was imprisoned in various internment camps for eleven months. He eventually settled in the United States and did not return to Poland until 2003. His daughters are American actresses: Dagmara Domińczyk, Marika Domińczyk and Weronika Domińczyk.
Shortly after arriving in New York in February 1983, Mirosław Domińczyk was interviewed by the Voice of America Polish Service. The interviewer was VOA Polish Service stringer in New York Zdzisław Bau. His VOA radio name was Andrzej Holik.
This is how this Solidarity leader described what the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and Ronald Reagan meant to imprisoned Solidarity activists:
ANDRZEJ HOLIK, VOA: Did you know what was happening in the world? Did you have any outside contacts?
MIROSLAW DOMINCZYK: Only later, after about a month. When the first visits started, we received radios. I mean, they were smuggled in ingenious ways, hidden in lard, in other products. We then listened regularly to the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe. We could receive all stations, but Radio Free Europe was difficult to hear [because of strong jamming of the radio signal]. Therefore, our source of information was the Voice of America and our families who were visiting.
ANDRZEJ HOLIK, VOA: What was the mood in the internment camp?
MIROSLAW DOMINCZYK: It depends during which period, but mostly it was cheerful, we sang songs. They were about Reagan.
ANDRZEJ HOLIK, VOA: What was the song about President Reagan?
MIROSLAW DOMINCZYK: To the melody of Glory, Glory, Hallelujah, “Reagan is our greatest friend.” I’m not a singer, otherwise I would sing it, but there are recordings. May be later I’ll present them.
ANDRZEJ HOLIK: He was so popular among you?
MIROSLAW DOMINCZYK: He was and still is, yes.