In the 1980s, Poland was called the Polish People’s Republic. The foreign debt was over US$23 billion, and the country was forced to export everything it could, particularly food and coal, to service its massive debt. Inflation was very high, because the government was forced the raise the prices, which led to further large-scale social unrest and formation of the Solidarity movement. Rationing and queuing became a way of life, even to a buy toilet paper, people had to wait for hours in the queue. Access to luxury goods was nearly impossible because people were running out of the basic necessities. The socialist system influenced every sphere of life. The socialist food distribution system barely functioned, tanks rolled along the streets.
The following pictures show Poland in the early 1980s when it was under the communist regime. These photographs were captured by Chris Niedenthal.