A hand raised in a fist, the index and middle fingers extended. The “V” sign for victory. This remnant of silent defiance from World War II became the symbol of opposition against the communist government in Poland. At every demonstration, protest, and mass free Poles gathered together to show their numbers to the forces that wanted to oppress them. At every gathering the entire crowd, young children and old women, would, as one, raise this symbol in unison. It was a message to the secret police that would record them, and to the ZOMO (a special brigade of vicious riot police) and militia invariably waiting nearby.
The V sign was created by Victor de Laveleye, a Belgium politician who directed the French-speaking broadcasts of the BBC during World War II. He chose V because it was the first letter for the French victoire meaning “victory” and the Dutch vrijheid meaning “freedom”. De Laveleye said, "the occupier, by seeing this sign, always the same, infinitely repeated, [would] understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure."
|General Wojciech Jaruzelski|
Despite Jaruzelski’s admonishments, or perhaps because of them, people came to St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and held up this sign. They held it up to show they were not afraid. They held it up to speak in one voice. They said, “We are against you. We refuse to give up. There are more of us than there are of you, and we will win in the end.”