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Marek Jan Chodakiewicz: The Dialectics of Pain[1]: The Interrogation Methods of the Communist Secret Police in Poland, 1944-1955. Glaukopis, vol. 2/3 (2004-2005).

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Research Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics: A Graduate School of Statecraft and National Security in Washington, DC. He attended college in California. Having earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University, he taught at several schools in California, including Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Between 2001 and 2003 he was an assistant professor with the Kosciuszko Chair in Polish Studies at the University of Virginia. In April 2005 Chodakiewicz was appointed by President George W. Bush for a 5-year term to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is the author and editor of numerous historical monographs, documentary collections, and scholarly articles on Poland's past. His latest works include Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland (2004), and After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Relations in the Wake of World War II (2003).

Part I

Find the man and we shall find a paragraph for him.
A Stalinist saying

Our task is not only to destroy you physically, but also to smash you morally before the eyes of the society. [2]
Major Wiktor Herer, a superior officer at the Office of Public Security, to a prisoner, 1948.

The duty of the public security is to beat the enemy; the duty of the prosecutor is to guard revolutionary legality. Each of those organs has its own methods of work.[3]
Józef Różański, Director of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Public Security, Warsaw, December 1950.

I believe that Christ will be victorious! Poland will regain her independence and human dignity will be restored.[4]
Lieutenant Colonel Łukasz Ciepliński, a Polish underground leader, shortly before his execution, December 1950.

* * *

Throughout the ages, torture has been applied to extract information needed for a utilitarian purpose. With a few exceptions,[5] the objective has been to find out the truth. According to a 3rd century legal authority, Ulpian, “By quaestio [torture] we are to understand the torment and suffering of the body in order to elicit the truth.” Writing in the 13th century the judicial expert Azo explained that “Torture is the inquiry after truth by means of torment.” Four hundred years later, the lawyer Bocer defined the phenomenon in the following way: “Torture is interrogation by torment of the body, concerning a crime known to have occurred, legitimately ordered by a judge for the purpose of eliciting the truth about the said crime.”[6]

The practice reflected the theory into the modern times. For example, the Nazi Gestapo tortured captured members of the underground to force them to reveal the whereabouts of their confederates. Once the interrogation was over, if the victim survived, he or she was disposed of, that is, either sent to a concentration camp or shot. A few of them were even given a brief trial and sentenced based upon the evidence the Gestapo provided.[7]

In essence, the Nazi secret police torturers were interested in learning the truth from their victims.[8] Not so the functionaries of the Communist terror apparatus. The Communist interrogators also tortured members of the underground or, more broadly, their political opponents. However, the reason for inflicting pain was two-fold: to extract true information and to force the prisoner to confess to false charges which the interrogators themselves knew were untrue. The objective of the latter endeavor was to break the spirit of the individual under interrogation and then to destroy his image in the eyes of the public.[9] Nonetheless, just like in the case of the Nazi police, the ruthless reputation of the Communist secret police, justly earned by its frequent application of torture, served to terrorize not only the immediate victims (and intended victims) but also the population at large.

This paper investigates the process within which torture was used and abused throughout various stages of the interrogation.

Communist Torture in Contemporary Sources

The use of torture by the Communists was ubiquitous. The secret policemen of the Public Security Office (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego – UBP, or, colloquially, UB) tortured cruelly even a few of their own comrades accused of ideological “deviation,” including in a secret prison in Miedzeszyn.[10] However, torture was applied primarily against the independentist camp. This entity encompassed all covert and overt forces from the extreme left to far right enrolled in the anti-Communist underground and the political opposition, originating in the war-time Polish Underground State and its Home Army (Armia Krajowa – AK). The most notable among them were the Freedom and Independence Union (Zrzeszenie Wolność i Niezawisłość – WiN); the National Military Union (Narodowe Zjednoczenie Wojskowe – NZW); the National Party (Stronnictwo Narodowe – SN); the Christian Democratic Labor Party (Stronnictwo Pracy – SP) and, last but not least, the Polish Peasant Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe – PSL). Because of its scope, terror also affected the population at large.[11]

According to an underground newspaper of July 1945:

It has been established that the NKVD and RB [sic UB] torture their prisoners terribly at the Chopin Street [police headquarters] in Lublin, at the Strzelecka Street [facility] in Warsaw, and in Włochy . The most popular methods of extracting confessions include ripping off fingernails slowly, applying “temple screws” [i.e., clamps that crush the victim’s skull], and putting on “American handcuffs.” The last named method causes the skin on one’s hands to burst and the blood to flow from underneath one’s fingernails. The torture is applied passionlessly in a premeditated manner. Those who faint are revived with a morphine shot. Before the torture session some receive booster shots [zastrzyki wzmacniające ]. The torturers strictly observe the opinion of the chief interrogating officer whether it is acceptable to allow the interrogated to die….

At the infamous Lublin Castle [prison], because of the injuries inflicted during interrogation, mortality among the political prisoners reaches 20 persons per week.[12]

In a dramatic plea for help, smuggled out of a jail in Radomsko in April 1946, an imprisoned insurgent of the Conspiratorial Polish Army (Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie – KWP) begged his superior, Jan Rogólka (“Grot”):

Lieutenant, Sir, yesterday, meaning on Thursday, they gave it to me again. This time I was not electrocuted but just whipped on my back and buttocks. Next, they beat me on the soles of my bare feet. They used an iron rod and a whip on my bare legs. They kicked me so much that I barely dragged myself back to the cell. They torment me as if I were an animal, but I have not broken down. I am surprised myself because yesterday I was so sick. Despite that I withstood everything. Once they found out that I was sick, they immediately took me to be interrogated in the morning. Mercy, SOS, because they will murder all of us. Almost all of us in the cell are investigated in the same affair and all of us are tortured the same way…. It is very cold here. Lieutenant, Sir, half of me is gone but I’ve been observing everything nonetheless. Our infamous tormentors are: Lieutenant Wieczorek, a dark-haired young man, who lives on Krakowska Street, and Mr. Kowalski. I’d like a [food] package, because we suffer hunger. Please tell them at home to send me one; otherwise I shall succumb to tuberculosis.[13]

Secret police terror was so fierce that by 1948 quite a few insurgents preferred to die in battle rather than allow themselves to be taken alive. Some even committed suicide or, upon request, dispatched their seriously wounded comrades to spare them from being captured.[14] The insurgents wanted to avoid torture and the almost inevitable break-down, leading to the denunciations of one’s own confederates and civilian supporters. Under the circumstances, at least on one occasion the underground press praised the suicide of a disabled insurgent as “heroic.”[15] The weak and wounded were considered a liability. On January 1, 1947, an insurgent commander, Captain Władysław Łukasiuk (“Młot”), admonished one of his underlings that

under no circumstances are you allowed to have any wounded [insurgents].… You must be aware that today each wounded is considered 80% lost…. Whoever leaves the unit gets caught right away and is forced to denounce us [każdy sypie]…. The civilian population is quite aversely predisposed [zrażona ] to us because we have caused them grief since [captured insurgents who broke down under torture] ‘Burza’ and ‘Mewa’ drive around with [the UB and KBW] and denounce everyone [sypią wszystko].[16]

Although most broke down, a few exceptional individuals withstood the torture. In October 1945, the UB arrested Stefania Broniewska, a courier of the National Armed Forces. She was tortured mercilessly but remained defiant throughout. According to a secret police report,

on November 11, 1945, I, Szlek Kazimierz, a functionary of the UB in Będzin, would like to report that, during our interrogation, Kowalska aka Broniewska Stefania, the wife of General Bogucki [i.e. Colonel Zygmunt Broniewski, the Commander-in-Chief of the NSZ], refused to testify about the organization of the NSZ and other matters related to it. She behaved in an arrogant manner, wanting to show her superiority over us, the working class. She stated that she had been working in the NSZ since its inception, that she was devoted to its ideology, and that she would never recognize as correct the policies of the Government of National Unity [i.e. the Communist proxy regime of Soviet occupation]. Further, she expressed her negative feelings about the Polish-Soviet alliance calling the [Red] Army and the Soviet Nation [sic] her enemies. When questioned, she refused to give any information about the organization and people she is affiliated with. She said she would die and take the secrets to her grave but the current democratic system [i.e. Communist dictatorship] would not persevere. He who laughs last, wins, she said, believing fervently in the victory of the NSZ.[17]

Torture continued even when the factor of the fierceness of the battlefield was no longer applicable. A close analysis of the interrogation records allows us to ascertain the ubiquity of torture, additionally revealing the modus operandi of the Communist secret police. Let us look for example at the interrogation record of a Home Army (Armia Krajowa – AK) liaison from Wilno. She was captured and interrogated by the NKVD in Wilno. The record of the session of July 7, 1945, is contained on a single sheet of paper. The front was completely covered with a text of exceedingly large letters in undisciplined hand-writing. Only half of the reverse side was used. One third of the front page contained the data of the person under interrogation. Then the interrogating officer asked (and wrote down) two questions. First, he asked whether the woman realized that the allegations against her stem from Article 58-1a of the Soviet criminal code: counter-revolutionary activities. She answered in the affirmative which, was written down. The second question concerned her activities in the underground. The interrogating officer wrote down three short answers she provided, containing mostly false information. Then, according to the rules, he read the contents of the document to the prisoner and had her sign it on both sides. Lastly, he appended his own name to the record. Apparently, this should have been a short procedure: no longer than ten minutes. However, at the top of the page, it was noted that the interrogation session started at 12:40 and ended at 14:00 (2:00pm). Meanwhile, according to her recollections, the AK liaison woman was tortured mercilessly for hours. Anytime the written interrogation record seems too short relative to the amount of time spent assembling it, we can safely assume the prisoner was tortured psychologically or physically or both to extract a confession from him or her.[18]

In fact, torture was routine even in cases of detention unrelated to any insurgent or political activity. In July 1951, a Soviet diplomat informed his superiors that

in the Province of Bydgoszcz during the peak season of grain purchase [i.e. forced grain seizure ] many arrests of middle peasants [średniacy ] took place by the militia organs. They were held in detention and beaten during interrogation…. In Bydgoszcz a peasant woman was tortured applying barbarian methods. She was interrogated and beaten and then before her very eyes the militiamen drank a shot glass of vodka each and thus ‘fortified’ the militiamen continued the beating.[19]

Frequent use of torture by the secret police throughout Poland eventually prompted the Minister of State Security to criticize his underlings in a secret speech:

The question of the qualification of a crime is an important issue to maintain a correct policy of repression. The qualification of the crime must strictly adhere to the reality of the crime, must be fully in harmony with the evidence, and completely tally with the objective truth. Only then will our repression and punishment be correct. All instances of “cooking up the case” [naciąganie sprawy ] during the investigation is harmful and unacceptable. However, this sin is not unknown to some of our operatives, the investigators in particular.

Based on its experiences, the Prosecutor’s Office in a letter to the leadership of the [Communist] party states that “we frequently encounter a lack of objectivity during interrogation, a complete disregard for the circumstances and evidence provided by the suspects, the practice of shaping the witness testimony in a manner convenient to construct accusations but not in congruence with reality… The interrogating officers often strive to make the investigative material (suspect and witness interrogations) tally ideally with the material supplied by the [secret] agents…”

An analysis of the Kielce case (Kozienice) and other similar cases shows that poor operational work very often leads our employees to resort to the means of physical persuasion on a detained person. The very fact that people are arrested without the appropriate justification, without checking and cross-checking information and denunciations, without any responsibility, and in incomprehensible and unnecessary haste somehow pushes the [security] employee to look for proof. On the one hand, his attitude is that, after all, he is dealing with a criminal. On the other hand, he therefore even more zealously attempts to find the proof by coercing a confession because he simultaneously attempts to justify his incorrect decision that led to the arrest of the suspect in the first place. At the same time, the security officer fails to notice that he himself goes down a wrong path and continues to make mistakes. Even if he has made a mistake by arresting a person without checking and justifying it with evidence, the mistake must be rectified as soon as possible. We must not persist in error and make further mistakes by “beating the evidence out” [dobijanie się dowodów ] because that always turns out to be false in the subsequent investigation or during the trial.[20]

The Scholars

Indeed, the UB frequently excelled in “cooking up the case” and “beating the evidence out.” According to Janusz Borowiec, who studies the secret police in the Province of Rzeszów, the proof of the widespread application of torture can be gathered from the court records between 1946 and 1955. However infrequently, at least some of the bravest of the torture victims complained openly to judges about the treatment they had received from the UB men. Borowiec discovered no less than 31 individual and group instances of physical torture that varied from beating, electrocuting, and hanging by the genitals, to killing during the interrogation. Incidentally, Borowiec learned that practically all the victims had confessed.[21] Sebastian Bojemski arrived at a similar conclusion after studying the records of the police interrogations and court trials of soldiers of the National Armed Forces in Warsaw. Almost everyone confessed; a few truly exceptional individuals who refused to talk paid dearly for it with their health, if not with their lives.[22]

In her valuable study of a provincial insurgent command, scholar Anna Grażyna Kister has shown that a single arrest of a suspect who was subsequently tortured by the secret police could and did trigger a veritable chain reaction of terror. For example, following the capture and torture of a few insurgents connected to the AK Lublin District Command, the NKVD and the UB seized “more than 440 persons” in Lublin between October 7 and November 11, 1944. The prisoners were tortured and forced to divulge the names and addresses of further 280 Home Army soldiers.[23]

According to Kazimierz Krajewski, Tomasz Łabuszewski, Piotr Niwiński, and others torture was all pervasive and ubiquitous at every stage of the interrogation process. The secret police tortured captured insurgents right on the battlefield, mostly to extract information about their units but also to terrorize their civilian sympathizers. Members of the families of the insurgents were routinely tortured as well. Women, children, and the elderly were not spared. The Communists frequently despoiled their homes and sometimes even destroyed them.[24]

Regional historian Krystyna Pasiuk conducted a case study of a single independentist insurgent unit fighting the Communists in the Suwałki area between 1949 and 1954. She confirms that “contemporary interrogation offices were torture chambers… [and] the beating of the prisoners was the norm.” However, Pasiuk stresses that the secret police torture was the most ferocious during the initial arrests. Later, once every insurgent that was not killed on the battlefield was captured, “the beating ceased.” By that time, having eradicated the immediate threat, the secret police had enough evidence to secure convictions and, because of the hopelessness of their predicament, the insurgents were physically and psychologically exhausted enough to confess to anything.[25]

However, in some cases torture was evidently applied even following a police provocation when the functionaries of the terror apparatus were intimately aware of all the details of a situation they themselves had set up. According to historian Ryszard Śmietanka-Kruszelnicki that was the case with the so-called Polish Organization of Anti-Jewish Youth (Polska Organizacja Młodzieży Antyżydowskiej – POMA) in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. This creation of the secret police attracted a handful of conspirators, most of whom were likely UB agents. Nonetheless, the participants were forced to confess that the POMA enrolled 200 persons in its covert structures and 100 persons in a guerrilla unit. In reality, the POMA existed mainly in the interrogation records of the UB.[26]

At times, insurgents ostensibly tried for a particular crime were hardly interrogated concerning that charge. Instead, the secret policemen simply forced them to reveal the infrastructure of their organization, to divulge the whereabouts of their confederates, and to confess to general charges like “killing Jews” or “killing Communists.” According to several scholars, this was most notably the case with the so-called “Wierzchowiny trial” of 23 officers of the National Armed Forces (Narodowe Siły Zbrojne – NSZ) in Lublin in 1946.[27] Further, as Krzysztof Szwagrzyk has shown, the torture did not automatically stop when the interrogation was concluded. For example, military judge Major Feliks Aspis ordered his prisoners to be tortured if they retracted their confessions in court.[28] Also the research of John Micgiel confirms readily that the Communist legal system employed illegal means to extract confessions from its prisoners.[29]

Jerzy Kułak focused on the interrogation methods of the functionaries of the Security Office (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa – UB) and concluded that “torture and killing of prisoners were typical features of their work.”[30] Next, he analyzed nine major show trials held at the central level and numerous other cases before lower Communist courts. The scholar has established that every prisoner was tortured either physically or psychologically or both. The secret police targeted the heroes of the anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet underground, opposition politicians, and Catholic priests. Almost all of them were forced to confess to untruths both during their interrogation and during their show trials, which were broadcast live on the Polish Radio. Besides securing guilty verdicts in almost all cases, the Communists pursued successfully also another goal: to compromise them morally and everything they stood for before the Polish society. False confessions disseminated by mendacious propaganda served to destroy, or at least to undermine, the traditional nationalistic symbols and to create new pseudo-nationalistic images depicting the Communists as the only decent and patriotic force in Poland. Torture was an indispensable tool to achieve this comprehensive goal. According to Kułak,

The main objective of the political trial was to change the consciousness of the people (unlike in a normal country, where the objective is to punish the criminals). The people were to be informed that hitherto they had lived in the morally tainted environment of pre-war Poland, where the ruling class had perfidiously lied to them. The Communists also aimed at destroying the legend of the war-time and post-war independentist underground. The homo sovieticus was to be persuaded that thanks to the media and newspapers, i.e. the propaganda of the Communist proxy regime, he knew the truth about the government of interwar Poland. The truth was presented to him as a conspiracy theory concocted by the Communist secret police. A denizen of the Polish People’s Republic could learn that the leadership of the AK continued the criminal policy of [Polish pre-war Foreign Minister Józef] Beck and [Marshal Edward] Śmigły-Rydz who collaborated with Nazi Germany. One understood from the Communist propaganda that the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising had been coordinated with the Germans and that the Communists were the only true patriots, fighting for Poland ’s independence. Meanwhile, the AK and the Office of the Government Delegate unscrupulously denounced the Communists to the Gestapo in exchange for freeing members of the pro-London underground. The latter conspiracy was hence only apparent, because it feigned its struggle against the Germans in congruence with the theory of “passive struggle.” Thus, the Communists changed the meaning of such words as honor, patriotism, and independence.

Once the Polish society learned that all of its heroes were really traitors, renegades, Nazi agents, murderers of democratic activists and peasants, the [Communist] People’s Tribune and other newspapers were also able to announce that the [Catholic] priests are American and English intelligence agents and had earlier served the Gestapo.

If those were baseless allegations, their influence on the society would be nil. However, the charges against the greatest authorities of pre-war Poland and the heroes of the struggle for national independence, so eagerly preached by the Communist press, were leveled by pre-war political activists, government officials, soldiers of Underground Poland, oftentimes heroes of the Cross of Virtuti Militari [Poland’s highest military decoration for valor], and persons enjoying universal respect.

Thus, the Communist system proved that every single human being could be broken. In exchange for the halt to the unimaginable torture and in the hope of escaping the death sentence, the prisoners, who had been interrogated for many months in the dungeons of the Ministry of Public Security on Koszykowa Street in Warsaw and who had been turned into the human wrecks, were ready to sign anything so that the secret policemen would desist beating them; so that the prisoners could sleep for a moment following a week-long, non-stop interrogation session, where only the interrogating officers rotated.

Most of the accused and witnesses acquiesced in playing the role assigned to them by the secret police officers and propaganda experts. During the show trial, the prisoners stuck strictly to the plan masterminded beforehand by the supervisors of the investigation. Even if the main accused in a case did not play well the role that had been imposed on him, there were plenty of witnesses who splendidly filled in the gaps. The audience at the show trial also influenced its atmosphere by angrily reacting to the testimonies of the accused and witnesses.[31]

* * *


[1] This paper was written for the 61st Annual Meeting of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America (PIASA) at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, June 6-7, 2003.

[2] Quoted in Czesław Leopold and Krzysztof Lechicki, Więźniowie polityczni w Polsce, 1945-1956 (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo "Młoda Polska,” 1981), 6. [UP]

[3] Materiały konferencji prokuratorów wojewódzkich z udziałem przedstawicieli MBP, 19 December 1950, Archiwum Akt Nowych [afterward AAN], Prokuratura, file 1555, 5, quoted in Antoni Kura, “Represje aparatu bezpieczeństwa publicznego w latach 1944-1956,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 29-33. [UP]

[4] This is a letter smuggled out of a Communist jail and delivered to his wife in December 1950. A Polish underground soldier of the Home Army, Ciepliński fought the Nazis and Communists. He was captured by the Communist secret police, tortured, and shot on March 1, 1951. “Gryps Łukasza Cieplińskiego do żony i syna z grudnia 1950 r.,” quoted in Zbigniew Lazarowicz, “Mord na Mokotowie,” Nasz Dziennik, 3 March 2003.

[5] For example, Henry VIII of England had the relatives and friends of his second wife, Anne Boleyn, tortured to establish her marital infidelity, including incest. It is debatable whether the alleged infidelities took place at all or the king was looking for a convenient excuse to get rid of his consort. If the latter was the case, then the Boleyn affair falls outside the category of the mainstream application of torture. [UP]

[6] All these legal authorities are quoted in Edward Peters, Torture (Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996), 1 [afterward Torture]. [UP]

[7] A Polish underground fighter imprisoned by the Nazis secretly sent out a letter from jail describing the torture one had to endure. It included pouring water into a prisoner’s nose, beating him on the soles of his feet, and thrusting needles under his fingernails. See AAN, Delegatura Rządu, file 202/II-63, 151-52. For further information on the torture by the Nazi secret police and its cooperation with the Nazi judiciary against the Polish underground see also Leon Teresiński, “O działalności Sądu Wojennego Rzeszy w okresie II wojny światowej,” Biuletyn Głównej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, vol. 25 (1972): 189-198; Juliusz Pollack, Wywiad, sabotaż, dywersja: Polski ruch oporu w Berlinie, 1939-1945 (Warszawa: Ludowa Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza, 1991), 93-95. [UP]

[8] Torture of Nazi concentration camp inmates is a separate issue, usually not connected to any police interrogation but, rather, undertaken to satisfy the sadistic urges of the camp personnel or to punish an infraction. [UP]

[9] This aspect of Communist terror is best depicted in a literary form by Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon (New York, Macmillan, 1941). For a detailed historical analysis see Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990). [UP]

[10] For example, whereas erstwhile secret policeman Colonel Grzegorz Kilanowicz aka Korczyński was severly beaten, former military intelligence supervisor General Mendel Kossoj aka Wacław Komar was “merely” deprived of sleep. Accused of “right-nationalist deviation” Korczyński withstood the torture. Suspected of “cosmopolitanism,” Komar promptly broke down. See Jerzy Morawski, “Spacer dla wrogów partii,” Rzeczpospolita, 18 July 2002; George H. Hodos, Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948-1954 (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1987), 135-154. [UP]

[11] On the independentist insurgency see Zrzeszenie “Wolność i Niezawisłość” w dokumentach, 6 vols. (Wrocław: Zarząd Główny WiN, 1997-2001); Jerzy Ślaski, Żołnierze wyklęci (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Rytm, 1996); Grzegorz Wąsowski and Leszek Żebrowski, eds., Żołnierze wyklęci: Antykomunistyczne podziemie zbrojne po 1944 roku (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen and Liga Republikańska, 1999); Kazimierz Krajewski and Tomasz Łabuszewski, Białostocki Okręg AK- AKO : VII 1944-VIII 1945 (Warszawa: Oficzna Wydawnicza Volumen and Dom Wydawniczy Bellona, 1997). The standard published work on the WiN is Zygmunt Woźniczka, Zrzeszenie “Wolność i Niezawisłość” 1945-1952 (Warszawa: Instytut Prasy i Wydawnictw “Novum” – “Semex”, 1992). However, it was partly plagiarized from Tomasz Honkisz, “Opór cywilny czy walka zbrojna? Dylematy polskiego podziemia politycznego, 1945-1952,” (Ph.D. thesis, Warszawa, Akademia Nauk Społecznych przy Komitecie Centralnym Polskiej Zjednoczonej Partii Robotniczej, 1990). On the overt independentist political opposition see Marek Latyński, Nie paść na kolana: Szkice o opozycji lat czterdziestych (London: Polonia Book Fund Ltd., 1985); Romuald Turkowski, Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe w obronie demokracji 1945-1949 (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Sejmowe, 1992); Andrzej Paczkowski, Stanisław Mikołajczyk: Klęska realisty (Zarys biografii politycznej) (Warszawa: Agencja Omnipress, 1991); Mirosław Piotrowski, Pro fide et patriae: Stronnictwo Pracy i duchowieństwo Kościoła katolickiego na Lubelszczyźnie po II wojnie światowej (Lublin: Ośrodek Studiów Polonijnych i Społecznych PZKS w Lublinie, 2001). [UP]

[12] “O czym nie pi szą szmatławce,” Polska i Świat, no. 3, vol. 7 ( 1 July 1945 ), Hoover Institution Archives, Polish Subject Collection [afterward HIA, PSC ], Box 61, Folder Polska i Świat. [UP]

[13] See a secret communication (gryps) from “Tygrys,” quoted by Marek Dere ń, “‘Warszyc’ i jego żołnierze,” Nasz Dziennik, 23 April 2002. [UP]

[14] The following prominent insurgent commanders chose that kind of death: AK-Wilno Land Self-Defense (Samoobrona Ziemi Wileńskiej – SZW) Staff Sergeant Anatol Urbanowicz “Laluś” (suicide, May 27, 1945), WiN Major Marian Bernaciak “Orlik” (suicide, June 21, 1946), WiN Second Lietenant Zbigniew Sochacki “Zbyszek” (suicide, July 3, 1946), WiN Sergeant Antoni Kopaczewski “Lew” (suicide, September 8, 1946), WiN Lieutenant Jan Woś “Farys” (suicide, November 16, 1946), WiN Second Lieutenant Wiktor Zacheusz Nowowiejski “Je ż” (suicide, December 6, 1946), NZW Staff Sergeant Józef Zadzierski “Wołyniak” (suicide, January 1, 1947), The “Thunder” Partisan Group Second Lieutenant Józef Kuraś “Ogień” (suicide, February 22, 1947), AK-SZW Sergeant Paweł Klikiewicz “Irena” (suicide, May 17, 1947), NZW Lieutenant Henryk Jastrzębski “Bohun” (suicide, April 13, 1948), WiN Second Lieutenant Wacław Kuchnio “Spokojny” (suicide along with his wife Zofia, June 8, 1948), WiN Second Lieutenant Tadeusz Zieliński “Igła” (suicide, June 24, 1948), WiN Platoon Leader Władysław Sobczak “Czajka” (suicide, July 9, 1948), NZW Second Lieutenant Franciszek Majewski “Słony” (suicide, September 26, 1948), WiN Platoon Leader Antoni Suliga “Wicher” (suicide, October 23, 1948), WiN Captain Zdzisław Broński “Uskok” (suicide, May 21, 1949), NZW Platoon Leader Piotr Rzędzian “Szczupak” (suicide, January 15, 1949), the Conspiratorial Polish Army (Konspiracyjne Wojsko Polskie – KWP) Second Lieutenant Andrzej Jaworski “Marianek” (suicide, August 1949); NZW Lieutenant Kazimierz Żebrowski “Bąk” (suicide, after dispatching his wounded son Jerzy “Konar”, December 3, 1949); WiN Lieutenant Mieczysław Pruszkiewicz “Kędziorek” (wounded and dispatched by an underling, Walerian Tyra “Zuch,” who then committed suicide, May 14, 1951), WiN Platoon Leader Lucjan Niemyjski “Krakus” (suicide, August 22, 1952), WiN Major Jan Tabortowski “Bruzda” (wounded and dispatched by an underling, 23 August 1954). See Kazimierz Krajewski et al., Żołnierze wyklęci: Antykomunistyczne podziemie zbrojne po 1944 r., 2 nd expanded and corrected editon (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen and Liga Republikańska, 2002), 79, 91, 112, 117, 120, 127, 129, 131, 138-40, 144, 147, 162-64, 195-96, 203, 228-29, 287, 292, 295, 309, 348 [afterward Żołnierze wyklęci]. [UP]

[15] For example, the underground paper of the NZW Przasnysz county command reported: “Ponownie nasze szeregi obarczone zostały smutkiem. Żołnierz z oddziału K.P. “Wiosna”, chorując na silne osłabienia, dostrzelił się z własnego pistoletu. Bohaterskim wykazem swej śmierci zszedł z tego świata, rozumiejąc jakim ciężarem był dla kolegów.” See “Wiadomości organizacyjne,” Głos o Wolność, 12 December 1948, HIA, PSC, Box 58, Folder Głos o Wolność, in Marek Jan Chodakiewicz and Wojciech Jerzy Muszyński, eds., “Polska dla Polaków!”: Antologia podziemnej prasy narodowej, 1939-1949, 2 vols. (forthcoming) [UP]

[16] Kazimierz Krajewski and Tomasz Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”: Działalność 5 i 6 Brygady Wileńskiej AK (1944-1952) (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen, 2002), 648 [afterward „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”]. [UP]

[17] Raport z przesłuchania Kowalskiej vel Boguckiej Stefanii, 11 November 1945, quoted in Sebastian Bojemski “Pisane krwią bohaterów,” Nasz Dziennik, 22 August 2000. Next, while interrogated by the secret policemen Jan Matejczuk and Antoni Trybus of the Warsaw UB, Stefania Broniewska provided similar answers, despite torture. On December 11, 1946, she was sentenced to 8 years in jail. Bojemski’s research is based, among other things, on Akta sprawy Antoniego Symonowicza i towarzyszy and Akta sprawy Mirosława Ostromęckiego, Archiwum Historyczne Miasta Stołecznego Warszawy, Wojskowy Sąd Rejonowy [afterward AHMSW, WSR], files Sr. 23/46 and Sr. 78/47. See also Krajewski, Żołnierze wyklęci, 352. [UP]

[18] 12:40 could mean 0:40 am as well as 12:40 pm. Time keeping on various secret police documents available to us was not standardized. See Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, ed., Ejszyszki: Kulisy zajść w Ejszyszkach: Epilog stosunków polsko-żydowskich na Kresach, 1944-45: Wspomnienia-dokumenty-publicystyka, 2 vols. (Warsaw: Fronda, 2002), 2: 14 [afterward Ejszyszki]. [UP]

[19] See Konsul Generalny ZSRS w Gdańsku Michał Potapow do Ambasadora ZSRS w Warszawie Arkadija Sobolewa, 19 July 1951, in Polska w dokumentach z archiwów rosyjskich 1949-1953, ed. by Aleksander Kochański et al. (Warszawa: ISP PAN, 2000), 112-13. [UP]

[20] Przemówienie ministra BP Stanisława Radkiewicza (?) na temat zadań aparatu bezpieczeństwa publicznego w świetle uchwał VI Plenum KC PZPR (marzec 1951),” in Aparat Bezpieczeństwa w Polsce w latach 1950-1952: Taktyka, Strategia, Metody, ed. by Antoni Dudek and Andrzej Paczkowski (Warszawa: Dom Wydawniczy Bellona, 2000), 75, 77. [UP]

[21]Janusz Borowiec, “Metody śledcze stosowane podczas przesłuchań przez pracowników Urzędów Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego (na podstawie akt Wojskowej Prokuratury Rejonowej w Rzeszowie 1946-1955),” Studia Rzeszowskie, vol. 2 (1995): 45-58. [UP]

[22] Bojemski’s research is based, among other things, on Akta sprawy Antoniego Symonowicza i towarzyszy and Akta sprawy Mirosława Ostromęckiego, AHMSW, WSR, files Sr. 23/46 and Sr. 78/47. See Sebastian Bojemski “Pisane krwią bohaterów,” Nasz Dziennik, 22 August 2000. [UP]

[23] Anna Grażyna Kister, Komenda Okręgu Lublin Armii Krajowej w 1944 r. (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Rytm, 2000), 146-54 [afterward Komenda Okręgu Lublin]. [UP]

[24] In one case in 1946, the UB tortured an 11-year-old girl to force her to incriminate Lieutenant Stanisław Karolkiewicz of the Home Army. The child refused to talk. See ros, “Rycerz niezłomny i uparty,” Rzeczpospolita, 7 May 2005. See also Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 225, 250, 476-78, 548 n. 8, 648, 736, 742, 745-46, 754, 756, 821, 865-67. See also Piotr Niwiński, Okręg Wileński AK w latach 1944-1948 (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen, 1999); Rafał Wnuk, Lubelski Okręg AK, DSZ i WiN, 1944-1947 (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Volumen, 2000); Sławomir Poleszak and Adam Puławski, eds., Podziemie zbrojne na Lubelszczyźnie wobec dwóch totalitaryzmów, 1939-1956 (Warszawa: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej and Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciw Narodowi Polskiemu, 2002); Maciej Korkuć, Zostańcie wierni tylko Polsce: Niepodległościowe oddziały partyzanckie w Krakowskiem (1944-1947) (Kraków: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej and Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciw Narodowi Polskiemu, 2002); Ryszard Śmietanka-Kruszelnicki, Podziemie poakowskie na Kielecczyźnie w latach 1945-1948 (Kraków: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej and Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciw Narodowi Polskiemu, 2002) [afterward Podziemie poakowskie na Kielecczyźnie]. [UP]

[25] The study concerns the post-WiN unit of Jan Sadowski (“Blady”) and Piotr Burdyn (“Poręba”). See Krystyna Pasiuk, Ostatni “leśni” Suwalszczyzny (Sejny: Pogranicze, 2002), 126 [afterward Ostatni “leśni” Suwalszczyzny]. The conduct of the secret police in Suwałki was consistently atrocious. The Polish authorities have recently concluded an investigation into the activities of Aleksander Omilianowicz, who first worked in the Smersh and then in the UB in Suwałki in 1946. He is accussed of “tormenting the soldiers of the independentist underground by beating them with the rifle butt and grabbing them by the hair and smashing their heads against the wall.” The 82-year-old Omilianowicz was found guilty of 10 instances of torture and sentenced to four and a half years in jail. See Adam Białous, “Literat z UB,” Nasz Dziennik, 28 May 2002; Mateusz Wyrwich, “Od kata do literata,” Tygodnik Solidarność, 31 October 2003; AKA, “Prawomocny wyrok na kata Suwalszczyzny,” Rzeczpospolita, 12-13 February 2005. In July 1945 the NKVD and the UB conducted a massive sweep, arresting several thousands of suspects. At least 600 AK soldiers are still missing. See Tomasz Kaminski, prokurator Oddziałowej KSZpNP w Białymstoku, Referat omawiający ustalenia śledztwa w sprawie tzw. “obławy augustowskiej” wygłoszony w dniu 14 maja 2003r., na spotkaniu Klubu Historycznego im. gen. Stefana Roweckiego “Grota” w Instytucie Pamięci Narodowej w Warszawie, posted at http://www.ipn.gov.pl/; Dziennik Polski, 24 July 2001; Krzysztof Skłodowski, Dzisiaj ziemia wasza jest wolna: O niepodleglość Suwalszczyzny (Suwałki: Muzeum Okręgowe w Suwałkach, 2000). [UP]

[26] Śmietanka-Kruszelnicki, Podziemie poakowskie na Kielecczyźnie, 321-22. [UP]

[27] The “Wierzchowiny trial” ostensibly concerned the slaughter, allegedly perpetrated by the NSZ, of the population of the Ukrainian village of Wierzchowiny. However, the UB hardly broached the subject during the interrogation. Further, no exhumation took place and practically no effort was made to interview any witnesses. See Marcin Zaborski, “Proces dowódców Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych Okręgu Lubelskiego z 1946 roku,” (MA thesis, Lublin, Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, 1993); Krzysztof Komorowski, Polityka i walka: Konspiracja zbrojna ruchu narodowego, 1939-1945 (Warszawa: Oficyna Wydawnicza Rytm, 2000), 512-13 [afterward Polityka i walka]; Anna Grażyna Kister, “Wierzchowiny,” Nasza Polska, 5 February 2003; Rafał Drabik to Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, 15 Janaury 2003. [UP]

[28] Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, Zbrodnie w majestacie prawa, 1944-1955 (Warszawa: ABC, 2000), 45. [UP]

[29] John S. Micgiel, “‘Frenzy and Ferocity’: The Stalinist Judicial System in Poland, 1944-1947, and the Search for Redress,” The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies [ Pittsburgh], no. 1101 (February 1994): 1-48. For concurring opinions see: Krzysztof Lesiakowski and Grzegorz Majchrzak interviewed by Barbara Polak, “O Aparacie Bezpieczeństwa,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 4-24; Barbara Polak, “O karach śmierci w latach 1944-1956,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 11 (November 2002): 4-29. [UP]

[30] Jerzy Kułak, “Zbrodnia zinstytucjonalizowana,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 40-44, quote at p. 40. [UP]

[31] Jerzy Kułak, “Inżynierowie dusz,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 10 (October 2002): 24-28, quote at p. 25. [UP]