Mērija Grīnberga Jr (1909-1975) was a member of the Grinbergs-Grosvalds family. This family was one of the most prominent families in the political and cultural life of Latvian society until 1940. From October 1944 to February 1946, she accompanied the most valuable items from the main Riga museum collections evacuated by Nazi Germany's state institutions to the Opava region in the present-day Czech Republic. Thanks to her efforts, most of the collection was preserved and returned to Riga, although she could not prevent the loss of some items through looting and transport (initially the collections were packed in approximately 700 boxes, she returned to Riga in February 1946 with 406 boxes). Her efforts were not acknowledged, she was interrogated by the security services, and in 1950 she was fired from her job at the museum, and had to work in a factory until 1958, when she found a job as a librarian in the State Museum of Latvian and Russian Art (now the Latvian National Museum of Art), where she worked until her death.
- Riga, Latvia
Michał Guć was probably the youngest participant in the first Convention of “Solidarity” Delegates in Gdansk in 1981, on which he volunteered as a 15-year-old. As a young boy he was a part of the independent scouting community which taught him patriotic values, but also conspiracy skills which proved to be helpful during numerous underground actions. He engaged in disseminating samizdat publications while being still in high-school. As a student Guć co-organised the strikes at the Gdansk University of Technology where he overlooked the official bulletin and co-created the underground post. In the 1980s he owned numerous illegal books and ran an “informal library”. By 1989 he was already one of the members of a national net distributing the underground press. After the transformation Michał Guć engaged in building local democracy, civic attitudes, and non-governmental initiatives. Since 1999 he is a Deputy Mayor of Gdynia, his home town.
Since the beginning of his engagement in the dissent activity Guć archived all the materials he had a chance to copy. His collections started as a coincidence, however he was very conscious about saving the heritage of the democratic movement. At first he mostly gathered the tissue-paper which he started to disseminate after an introduction of the martial law. Soon he also started saving copies of the illegal magazines he distributed. At the end of 1982 the “Solidarity” postage stamps started to emerge, and Guć always saved one copy of each for his home archive. In later years, until the transformation, his collection grew naturally. In free Poland he left his collection aside, whilst he developed a professional career, however he never disposed of the collectibles. He returned to his hobby a few years ago, and currently Michał Guć owns one of the biggest collections of the Polish underground postage stamps and envelopes, and probably the fullest collection of the stamps related to the “Solidarity” strikes. He shares his philatelist passion with his wife, also an ex-activist.
- Gdynia 81, Poland