A pre-Christmas 1982 letter to Voice of America: a plea for shoes for Polish children


Cold War Radio Museum

Polska – 1982

Dowiedzieliśmy się o zbiorze butów w U.S.A. – dla potrzebujących – dlatego mamy prośbę czy nieskontaktowalibyście nas z kimś dla otrzymania butów przynajmniej dla starszych dzieci 14 i 16-letnich dziewczynek – na okres zimowy.

The Polish Service of the Voice of America (VOA) had received during the Cold War thousands of letters from its listeners in communist-ruled Poland with requests for humanitarian assistance. In one such letter, written in November, 1982, a Polish family of seven children — six of them between 7 and 16-years-old — asked for help in putting them in touch with someone in the United States who could send the children second-hand shoes.

In 1982 Poland was still under the martial law imposed in December 1981 by the communist regime of General Wojciech Jaruzelski in an attempt to crush the independent Solidarity trade union and human rights movement. The centrally planned and largely state-owned socialist economy was unable to produce enough food and basic consumer goods. Widespread shortages of food, price hikes and political repression by the communist regime led to numerous workers’ strikes and protests in Poland during the Cold War.

To learn more and see another letter, read:

Family …

ul. [Street] …



Polish Service

“Voice of America” Radio

We have learned that shoes for the needy are being collected in the United States — on account of that we would like to ask whether it would be possible for you to put us in contact with someone so that we could receive shoes, at least for the older children, girls 14 and 16 years-old — for the winter.

We are a large family — 9 persons — 7 children, including 6 school-age children — girls 7, 10, 12, 14, 16 years-old, a boy 9-years-old.

Our difficult circumstances are due not only to having a larger number of children but also due to illness — I have been ill for several years, and my husband for 10 years due to exposure to lead. We thank you in advance for your kindness in facilitating this request.

Family …

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