Cenckiewicz and Gontarczyk do not entertain the question of whether SB pres- . and Gontarczyk should have been more nuanced in judging anti-Communist. Sławomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, SB a Lech Wałęsa: Przyczynek do biografii [The SB and Lech Wałęsa: A Contribution toward a. Sławomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, SB a Lech Wałęsa: Przyczynek do biografii [The SB and Lech Wałęsa: A Contribution toward a Biography].
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In a new book, two Polish historians publish what they say is proof that Solidarity hero Lech Walesa collaborated with the Communist-era secret police — and tried to cover it up decades later. The accusations have set off a new storm over Poland’s past. The claims aren’t new. InWalesa won the first of several court cases against people who claimed he was a spy.
Yet the authors of “The Secret Police and Lech Walesa,” both of whom work as historians at the gontraczyk Institute for National Remembrance, or IPN, say they have uncovered compelling new evidence that Walesa collaborated with Communist officials under the code name “Bolek. A number of voices have spoken out on Walesa’s behalf, including former secret police officials who say that files were routinely falsified.
Interview with Historian Slawomir Cenckiewicz: ‘Positive Proof’ Lech Walesa was a Communist Spy
A deputy director of the IPN, Maria Dmochowksa, said publicly the book was part of a witch-hunt and shouldn’t be published under the institute’s name.
The Kaczynskis have stirred up many in Poland by aggressively pursuing former Communist party bigwigs in the country and have long been in a running feud with Walesa. It has already sparked an intense debate. In it, you hontarczyk your co-author Piotr Gontarczyk claim that the hero of the Polish reform movement collaborated with the secret police in the s.
Do you have proof? We provide clear evidence in our book including registration cards, notations, notes from the secret police and reports from the so-called informant “Bolek. Walesa has emphatically denied that, and says the Bolek file is a forgery. How can you be sure the secret police didn’t fabricate the documents to paint the union leader in a cenckiewlcz light? We know the secret police’s methods, and the way the archive and registry were run — that’s how we know.
We’ve also found evidence from the Bolek file cited in other files. These files still had their original seals and it could be proven that they hadn’t been opened since the s. Manipulation is out of the question.
Assuming for a moment that Walesa was in fact Bolek as you allege, how much damage did he do? We describe the fate of people who Cenckieewicz informed on.
We’ve come across seven such stories. The rest were destroyed or stolen from the files. But it’s clear that Bolek informed on more than 20 people who were later harrassed or oppressed. According to a recent poll, more than 40 percent of Poles believe Walesa could have been a secret police informant. But a cebckiewicz still say that doesn’t diminish his accomplishments.
Do we have to re-evaluate the legendary union leader’s legacy? We’re historians and above all want to write about what was. Our book doesn’t deal with legacies. It also wasn’t our goal to destroy a legend.
We consider Walesa to be a national symbol. He led Solidarity and remains an icon. But he also worked with the secret police under the name Bolek. The truth isn’t always simply black and white.
Walesa was a national hero, a true icon. The vast majority of Poles didn’t believe a word the authorities said. They took everything the official media said about Walesa to be a manipulation by the Communist authorities.
The other major claim in your book is that Walesa tried to clean out his file when he was president of Poland in the early s. For me that’s the saddest chapter. He was the first freely elected head of state since World War II, but he used his office to remove incriminating secret police files.
Walesa has also strongly denied this accusation. What proof do you have that he did this, or at least ordered it done? Some of the documents have his signature, a date and the note “I have borrowed this file.
Walesa endorsed the request. Later it turned out some of the files were returned incomplete. The new, post-Communist secret service took note of that. Poles have long been discussing how the fall of Communism should be remembered.
The camp around the Kaczynski twins argues that the country missed the chance to confront its secret police past, and that has led to old networks being re-established in the new Poland. Do you worry that your book will be politicized as part of this debate?
Piotr Gontarczyk – Wikipedia
We don’t take part in such discussions, we reject talks with politicians and we do everything possible to keep out of the political debate. Interview with Historian Slawomir Gontsrczyk ‘Positive Proof’ Lech Walesa was a Communist Spy In a new book, two Polish historians publish what they say is proof that Solidarity hero Lech Walesa collaborated with the Communist-era secret police — and tried to cover it up decades later.
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