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

Part II

Torture was also the norm when the unfortunates were already serving their jail sentences. According to Mateusz Wyrwich, it still has not been established how many thousands of prisoners, out of 500,000 people who were incarcerated by the Communists between 1944 and 1956, perished because of torture and other forms of maltreatment.[32] For example, over 800 witnesses have appeared to testify about torture in the Wronki prison, where, between 1945 and 1956, about 15,500 people were incarcerated, mostly political prisoners. Victims were routinely made to strip and wait in the prison yard, winter time included. Then, they were chased between two rows of wardens who beat them with truncheons and keys. The functionaries most responsible for the torture were the prison head Jan Boguwola, and his underlings: Adam Serwata, Wiktor Urbaniak, Józef Mikołajczak, Marian Kraus, Jerzy Białas, Marian Dusik, Tomasz Nowicki, and Jan Szymczak.[33]

Torture was an integral part of Poland’s totalitarian reality. It was fully harmonized with the “legal” system and reflected in the official propaganda.[34]

The Legal Basis of Torture and the Communist Propaganda

No law explicitly permitted torturing anyone under Communism. However, between 1944 and 1956, the laws and regulations[35] commonly applied against political offenders were utterly dehumanizing and, hence, implicitly encouraged their abuse, including torture. Two types of distinct legal systems functioned at the time: the Soviet and the Polish. The former applied not only in Poland’s eastern territories incorporated into the Soviet Union after the return of the Red Army in 1944, but also to the west of the so-called Curzon line, wherever the Soviet terror apparatus (and judiciary) happened to operate. While at the mercy of the NKVD, most commonly, the political offenders were charged under the infamous Article 58 of the Soviet penal code. According to Article 58, a Home Army soldier, who was ethnically Polish, born in pre-war Poland, and a life-long citizen of Poland could be sentenced as “traitor to the Soviet Motherland” in addition to being a “counter-revolutionary,” “Hitlerite collaborator,” and “fascist.”[36]

Simultaneously, although always deferring to the Soviet law, the local Communists in Poland introduced their own legal regulations. More precisely, they amended the existing pre-war laws with a bevy of their own decrees. Arguably, the most important of them was the infamous Decree of August 31, 1944, against “the fascist-Hitlerite criminals and traitors of the Polish Nation.” The decree was promulgated by the Communist proxy regime and used mainly as a political and legal tool of repression against the independentists fighters and politicians, who were routinely branded as “Hitlerite collaborators,” “fascists,” and “reactionaries.”[37] The August 31, 1944 Decree was also applied to real and alleged Nazi collaborators, including for instance persons accused of participating the massacre of Jews at Jedwabne, thus from a legal point of view making it a political rather than a criminal case.[38]

The language of the August Decree was extremely violent. It reflected the language of contemporary Communist propaganda. And the Communists dubbed as “fascists” and “reactionaries” anybody who disagreed with them.[39] The independentist insurgents were of course the primary targets of the Stalinist vituperation. The guidelines for propaganda of the Central Board of Political Formatting of the Polish People’s Army aptly titled “Concerning the mobilization of hatred toward the reactionary thugs” instructed the political commissars to “brand with all your strength the criminal activities of the bastards of the NSZ and AK, Hitler’s emulators. Develop hatred among the soldiers and push them against the reactionaries.”[40]

Accordingly, Communist military political commissars publicly preached that during the Warsaw ghetto uprising the following forces fought against the Jewish insurgents: “the German air force, the SS, and tanks as well as Polish hooligans, Polish reactionaries and, actually, the AK.”[41] Therefore, “the criminals of the AK and NSZ work hand in glove with the Hitlerites. And they should be treated just like the Hitlerite murderers.”[42] A Communist pundit editorialized that “during the [Nazi] occupation the NSZ formed an auxiliary formation of the SS and Gestapo.”[43] “Put on trial the AK and NSZ murderers, Hitler’s helpers!” screamed the official posters in unison.[44]

As Professor Krystyna Kersten has noted perceptively, the independentist insurgents and the parliamentary opposition were the chief “reactionaries.” Significantly, “reactionary” was synonymous with “bandit,” “traitor,” “fascist,” “Hitlerite,” “anti-Semite,” and “Jew-killer.” Whoever killed Jews was not just a traitor, but also “an agent of Hitler.” Anybody who opposed the Communists was also a potential “Jew-killer,” or at least could be accused of such terrible anti-Semitic deeds, and, hence, branded “a Nazi collaborator.” This was a convenient propaganda device commonly employed to dupe the West into believing that the opponents of the Communists were pro-Nazi and that the brutal crushing of the independentist insurrection and the parliamentary opposition in Poland was simply a mop-up operation which fittingly concluded the anti-German struggles of the Second World War. This was also a useful tool to rally the population behind the Communists in meting out justice to alleged Polish “Hitlerites.”[45] (The trick was further intended to endear the proxy regime to the Jewish community at home and abroad.)[46]

Communist law was well-harmonized with the propaganda. It seems that the intention of the authors of the August Decree was to limit, if not outright preclude, the possibility of a fair investigation and a fair trial. The objective was to punish “Nazi collaborators,” whether real or alleged. In other words, the Communist policemen, prosecutors, lawyers, and judges involved in the cases pursued and tried on the basis of the August Decree were not interested in recreating the crimes, describing their details, identifying the victims, and finding the perpetrators. They were out to destroy the enemy: physically and morally. Numerous accounts of the victims of the Communist investigative and legal process seem to signal just that.

Case Studies: Ejszyszki and Jedwabne

Two separate case studies conducted by us strongly suggest that both the investigation and the court proceedings widely departed from the Western standards of justice. The most jarring abuses included the lack of professional meticulousness and the application of torture.

In the case of Ejszyszki, following the attack of the Home Army (AK) on that town on October 19/20, 1944, the Soviet secret police initially did not bother to collect any witness accounts. The NKVD policemen simply beat confessions out of most of the suspects. A few refused to give in; most confessed, gradually yielding to their tormentors. The confessions, of course, included killing Jews and collaborating with the Gestapo. Later, some of the victims retracted their confessions in court. Nonetheless, some were sentenced to death, while most were sent to the Gulag on the basis of Article 58.[47] In the case of Jedwabne, where a number of Polish inhabitants were accused of assisting the Nazis in murdering the local Jews, the police and the judiciary were concerned about establishing neither the sequence of the events nor even the date of the mass murder.[48] Using as a blue-print the imprecise and internally contradictory testimony of a second hand witness, they tortured the suspects into confessing to killing Jews and collaborating with the Nazis. Later, the accused were tried on the basis of the August 31, 1944, Decree.[49]

In both the Ejszyszki and the Jedwabne cases the secret police seized a number of suspects, including completely innocent people, who confessed under duress to their complicity in the alleged crimes. On the other hand, at least a few prisoners customarily denied their culpability and blamed their confederates, in particular those who had been killed or were otherwise beyond the reach of the secret police.[50]

The reality of the interrogation and the trial should not obscure the fact that some of the suspects did take part in the AK assault on Ejszyszki, while others did participate in the massacre at Jedwabne. The gruesome ruthlessness of the Communist secret police and the judiciary should give us cause to pause however, before we treat the Communist interrogation records at their face value. All documents should be checked and cross-checked against other sources. Initially at least, all accounts of torture should also be treated as raw data.

Raw Data

We have drawn our raw data on the topic of torture from the following sources: historical monographs, personal testimonies, legal records, and newspaper accounts. Legal records concern both the original cases from the 1940s and 1950s as well as contemporary cases generated by the investigative arm of the Institute of National Remembrance. Polish newspapers, ranging from the dynamic leftist Gazeta Wyborcza [Electoral Gazette] through the most respected centrist daily Rzeczpospolita [Republic] to the right-wing Catholic nationalist Nasz Dziennik [Our Daily], routinely report on court cases regarding the trials of both Communist secret police personnel and their political opponents. Further, the popular press periodically runs investigative historical stories on the anti-Communist insurgents and their tormentors. In all sources, the topic of torture is broached openly most of the time. The description is graphic and detailed.

From these accounts we learn that, aside from beating, the secret policemen liked to tear the hair out of the victim’s body, extinguish their cigarettes on him or her, and apply many other methods of torture. Pathological behavior of this sort was also prevalent in low profile cases. Arguably, secret policemen serving in remote provincial outposts tended to be even more cruel because they lacked immediate supervision. But even if their sadism reflected itself just in beating and not in sexual perversion, it still was the norm. There were no boundaries to the cruelty and no consideration was given to the status, sex, or health of the victim. In one instance socialist Irena Sendlerowa of the Home Army miscarried after she was abused by the UB.[51] In another case, the UB-man Edmund Kwasek tortured Józefa Gradecka of the AK who was pregnant.[52]

In our sample below we have documented more than 500 cases of torture. Almost all victims described below were ethnic Poles and Catholics, save for a single Jewish man. One hundred and fifty four victims are identified by name, including 21 women. Most of the victims of torture, except for some of the youngest ones, were involved in both the anti-Nazi and anti-Communist struggle from 1939. The victims were subjected at least to 49 types of torture. Twelve prisoners were tortured to death, while 8 were shot immediately after the torture sessions (usually following a sham trial). Eight prisoners, including three women, withstood the torture, refused to confess, and survived their ordeal. In 143 (out of 154) cases the prisoners broke down and confessed their real and alleged “crimes.” Hence, our research strongly suggests that torture served its intended purpose,[53] a few exceptions notwithstanding.[54]

As for the perpetrators, although the Soviets led the way,[55] they found many eager Polish collaborators. Although no thorough search has been undertaken in the secret police personal files nationwide, the evidence accumulated here suggests that most of the functionaries of the Communist terror apparatus were ethnic Poles of lower class origin. The witnesses mention but a few Jewish Communist perpetrators.[56] At times, the crimes were perpetrated jointly by the Soviets and Poles. For example, between 1945 and 1955 in a military restricted area of Biedrusk near Poznań, dozens of prisoners were tortured and summarily shot by Soviet and Polish Communist military intelligence officers. The executions took place in a church. The victims were lined up behind the altar and executed.[57]

Of course not everyone was physically tortured. For example, Major Zygmunt Szendzielarz (“Łupaszko”) of the Wilno AK was only tormented psychologically.[58] However, preliminary research suggests that his case was an exception. His soldiers and other insurgents were tortured routinely.

We have discerned three types of situations under which torture occurred: preliminary interrogation, interrogation proper, and post-interrogation. First, while operating in the field, the Communist secret police routinely tortured captured insurgents and suspected sympathizers to extract information regarding the whereabouts of their confederates and arms stores. Second, during the interrogation proper, the secret police applied torture to extract precise information about the insurgency, political opposition, and war-time activities as well as to force the victims to confess to trumped up charges, some of which were also morally damaging (e.g. the routine but false allegations about collaborating with the Nazi police and murdering Jews and Soviets). Third, during the post-interrogation the prisoners were sometimes tortured if they deviated from their forced confession in court or just for the sake of it as they were serving their sentences in jail. To put it plainly, whereas at the initial stage of an investigation the UB officers concerned themselves with finding out the truth, the desired outcome of the intermediate stage was a full confession which freely mixed truth with fiction.

The following examples, presented chronologically, concern mostly the interrogation proper. However, in general, the evidence presented below attests to the prevalence of torture at every stage of one’s experience with the Communist secret police.

Case by Case.

Between September 1944 and 1945, about 3,000 prisoners were incarcerated at a concentration camp run by the NKVD at Kąkolewica, near Łuków in the Province of Lublin. According to the estimates of the underground, up to 1,800 people were shot following a grueling interrogation. Cadet officer Antoni Sztolcman (“Mewa”) was one of the 16 local NSZ-AK company soldiers seized between September 28 and October 6, 1944. He and his friends were beaten daily and held in a dugout partly filled with water. Because he refused to turn in his older brother, who was a Home Army fighter, the seventeen-year-old Czesław Pękała was kicked on his head until he fainted. His NKVD interrogators also shoved thin wooden splinters under his fingernails.[59]

On October 30, 1944, Major Jakub Hałas (“Kuba”) of the AK Lublin District Command fell into an NKVD trap. He died of blood infection after the blows of the torturers shattered his ribs and punctured his lungs on December 30, 1944. His underling, Lieutenant Witold Engelking (“Prot”), was captured on November 7, 1944, and beaten to death shortly after.[60]

In the fall of 1944, AK soldier Irena Antoszewska-Rembarzowa was interrogated by the NKVD in Lublin. Although pregnant, she was ordered to strip and when she refused, her Soviet interrogator beat her on her head until she fainted.[61]

In February 1940, Father Michał Pilipiec (“Michał”) volunteered for the underground Union of Armed Struggle (ZWZ), and later the AK. First, he was a chaplain of the Błazowa outpost and later he became the head chaplain for the Rzeszów sub-district (obwód). Father Pilipiec continued his underground activities under the Soviet occupation until he was arrested by the NKVD and Polish Communist secret police led by Zygmunt Bieszczanin on December 3, 1944. He was brutally tortured at the Lubomirski Zamek prison in Rzeszów. He shared his cell with AK soldiers Dominik Sobczyk, Stanisława Rybka (“Szpak”), Józef Bator, and Jan Szela. On December 7, Father Pilipiec was sentenced to death along with his cellmates. The prisoners were shot the same day, except for cadet officer Rybka who escaped from the place of the execution and left the following account of torture:

The priest was unable to stand on his own. We helped him to reach his straw mattress. Then we put him down on it. He was terribly massacred. His cassock was torn in many places. There were wounds all over his body. The skin on his head was broken and a stream of blood dripped from it. He writhed in pain. This must have been some incredible pain as the priest was unable to refrain from crying and moaning.[62]

In March 1945 the Communist secret police boss of Radom, Jan Byk aka Czesław Borecki, arrested the wife of AK-WiN Captain Stefan Bembiński (“Harnaś”). To force the woman to reveal the whereabouts of her husband and his confederates, Byk “beat me with a flat of his hand on my face, breaking my teeth.”[63]

On April 18, 1945, the NKVD and the UB seized a few soldiers of the NZW’s Emergency Special Action (Pogotowie Akcji Specjalnej – PAS ) in Lubaczów, including Lieutenant Konstanty Kopf (“Zawisza”). After three days in local jail, the prisoners were transferred to the UB headquarters in Rzeszów. Tortured from April through October 1945, Kopf recalled that:

The interrogation sessions lasted 24 hours. The UB interrogators applied a variety of physical torture. That included hitting the prisoner, suspending him tied from a bar, tearing off his fingernails, beating him on the soles of his feet, applying electric shocks during questioning, and putting him in solitary confinement [karcer]. This was a closed cell two meters by two with a large, round hole in the middle leading to the septic tank down below which served as the main depository for refuse from the whole jail. The prisoner could only stand up in that cell and walk around that hole. The stench of feces and ammonia caused one’s eyes to become infected. Standing caused one’s legs to swell. If the prisoner was not able to withstand that kind of torture, he would fall into the hole and drawn. There were also instances of the prisoner standing in that cell and they hosed him with water. The present writer was sentenced to 102 hours of solitary confinement.[64]

In December 1944 and August 1946, in Nisko, the UB officer Stanisław Suproniuk arrested Lieutenant Skarbimir Socha ( “Jaskółka” ) of the NOW -AK-NZW. First in Nisko and then in Rzeszów, “Suproniuk beat me with a chain and his assistant Józef Orsa with the butt of his submachine gun.”[65] In April 1945 Suproniuk and his underlings arrested Janina Oleszkiewicz, the wife of the NOW-AK-NZW insurgent Major Franciszek Przysiężniak (“Ojciec Jan”). She was in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Oleszkiewicz was interrogated overnight and then taken out for a ride and summarily shot.[66] Other UB-men suspected of crimes at the Security Office in Nisko, include the Młynarskis, father and son.[67]

In August 1945 the secret police arrested Captain Kazimierz Moczarski, who served in the Home Army during the Nazi occupation and afterward in one of its clandestine successors, the Delegation of the Armed Forces (Delegatura Sił Zbrojnych – DSZ). Moczarski was also a liberal and a leader of the center-leftist Democratic Party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne – SD). As Moczarski recalled, UB Colonel Józef Goldberg, aka Jacek Różański, “told me that… I would go through a ‘hellish interrogation’ – which really happened later.” Różański threatened the victim that he would receive the death penalty. He also explained that “we can always prove that you were a Gestapo agent because we have the blank originals of the official stationery of the Gestapo, their rubber stamps, and the like. We also are holding such former Gestapo members who will very gladly sign a post-dated file prepared by us that you were a Gestapo agent.” Although Moczarski was tortured horribly, he refused to confess his “crimes” but was nonetheless sentenced to death.

Subsequently, Moczarski enumerated forty-nine different types of torture he was subjected to by eight officers of the UB during the interrogation which lasted from November 30, 1948, to September 22, 1952. The torture included beating with a nightstick, a piece of wire, and a metal rod on Moczarski’s throat, nose, fingers, and feet; tearing out his hair (from his genitals, beard, head, and chest); burning him with cigarettes and candles (on his lips, eyes, and fingers); crushing his toes with jackboots; kicking his entire body; stabbing him with needles; injuring his rectum with a screw and a stool leg; forcing the prisoner to do sit-ups until he fainted; forcing the prisoner to run up and down the stairs for long periods of time; locking him naked in solitary confinement; depriving him of sleep for up to 9 days at a stretch and preventing him from falling asleep by periodically slapping his face; forcing him to stand at attention for hours with his hands raised; and depriving him of food and drink for days. Physical torture was accompanied by psychological torment. It included depriving Moczarski of any contact with his family; informing him alternately that his wife “whom…[he] loved very much” was either dead or cheating on him; writing on the forehead of this famous anti-Nazi fighter the word “Gestapo”; and, finally, locking him in a cell for almost a year with Gestapo men, including SS-General Jürgen Stroop, the executioner of the Warsaw ghetto. All these and other methods were employed to force Moczarski to talk.[68]

In September 1945, the Communist secret police captured insurgent liaison Barbara Nagajewicz- Woś (“Krystyna”) of the AK-WiN unit led by Major Heronim Dekutowski (“Zapora”). Despite being tortured for three weeks, she refused to budge and was sentenced to 10 years in jail. According to an account of her torture in Lublin,

This was a terrible night. She was beaten. She screamed…. Investigating officer Maksymiuk beat her with a wire-tipped pole. He threw ‘Krysia’ over a chair, pulled up her skirt, and whipped her. Then she was prostrated on the floor and the torturers poured cold water into her nose. She lost consciousness several times. ‘Will you talk?’ they asked her when she opened her eyes. She kept silent. ‘Whip her some more!’ Maksimiuk yelled. She was thrown back into her cell at 7:00am. She was completely covered in blood…. The beating and torture did not help. ‘Krysia’ kept completely silent.[69]

In September 1945 in Urzędów an UB expedition caught Mrs. Gajewska, whose son served in the AK-WiN “Zapora” unit. She was tortured in front of her other son, Stanisław, who was 15-years old at the time. UB Captain Pokrzywa attempted to force the boy to reveal the whereabouts of his brother: “Staś did not answer. The scream of his mother, who was being beaten, reverberated in his ears.”[70] The same expedition captured at the time several AK-WiN insurgents. They shot three, refused any medical help to two wounded guerrillas, and beat their three colleagues with wooden sticks in front of the villagers of Urzędów-Bęczyn who were forcibly herded to witness the execution.[71]

In September 1945, to discourage support for the insurgents, the UB men in Bielsk Podlaski beat a civilian suspect with a board studded with nails. Then they sent his bloody shirt to his wife as a warning, finally releasing her husband after a while. Consequently, the man told the insurgents: “Gentlemen, please do not stay at my farmstead! Forgive me! Or kill me! I can’t stand being arrested again.”[72]

* * *


[32] See Mateusz Wyrwich, “Zbrodnie nie tylko w celi śmierci,” Tygodnik Solidarność, 17 May 2002; Mateusz Wyrwich, Łagier Jaworzno: Z dziejów czerwonego terroru (Warszawa: Editions Spotkania, 1995). See also Bogusław Kopka, Obozy pracy w Polsce 1944-1950: Przewodnik encyklopedyczny (Warszawa: Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza NOWA i Ośrodek Karta, 2002). [UP]

[33] See Wojciech Wybranowski, “Potrzebni świadkowie,” Nasz Dziennik, 13 May 2002. It was similar in Nowogard and other Communist jails. See Piotr Szubarczyk, “Sprawa Józka Obacza: Młodzieżowa konspiracja antykomunistyczna 1945-56,” Nasz Dziennik, 19-21 April 2003. [UP]

[34] Witold Kulesza and Andrzej Rzepliński, eds., Przestępstwa sędziów i prokuratorów w Polsce lat 1944-1956 (Warszawa: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej – Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni Przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu, Uniwersytet Warszawaski – Instytut Profilaktyki Społecznej i Resocjalizacji, 2000). [UP]

[35] A few “normative acts” (akty normatywne) of the Polish Communist secret police formally banned torture (e.g., the orders of June 11, 1949, February 24, 1951, March 3, 1954, and November 19, 1954). For a list of rules and regulations pertaining to the investigative process of the Communist secret police see Antoni Kura, “Represje aparatu bezpieczeństwa publicznego w latach 1944-1956,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 29-33. [UP]

[36] See, e.g., cases 3710 and 3710/822, Special Archive of Lithuania, the Committee for State Security (KGB), The Council of Ministers of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Lithuania, in Chodakiewicz, Ejszyszki, 2: 49, 59, 62, 82, 94, 98, 114-22. [UP]

[37] See Dekret PKWN “o wymiarze kary dla faszystowsko-hitlerowskich zbrodniarzy winnych zabójstw i znęcania się nad ludnością cywilną i jeńcami oraz dla zdrajców Narodu Polskiego,” 31 August 1944, Dziennik Ustaw, no. 4, poz. (item) 16 (1944); and its modified version in Dziennik Ustaw, no. 69, poz. 377 (1946). For the general background of the Stalinist legal system in Poland see Zdzisław Albin Zięba, Prawo przeciw społeczeństwu (Warszawa: Katedra Socjologii Moralności i Oksjologii Ogólnej, Instytut Stosowanych Nauk Społecznych, Uniwersytet Warszawski, 1997). [UP]

[38] The accused in the trial were charged specifically pursuant to article 1 paragraph 2 of the decree of August 31, 1944. See Sentencja wyroku, Sprawa Bolesława Ramotowskiego i 21 innych, 16 and 17 May 1949, Sąd Okręgowy w Łomży [afterward SOŁ], file Ksu 33/49, 225. Because the pre-war penal code still applied in Poland at the time, and it contained all of the appropriate provisions to deal with a riot that resulted in murder (in particular articles 23, 163, and 225 of the penal code, which included death penalty), non-political laws could have been used to prosecute the suspects in the Jedwabne case. See Juliusz Makarewicz, Kodeks Karny z komentarzem (Lwów: Wydawnictwo Zakładu Narodowego im. Ossolińskich, 1932); Kodeks Karny: Prawo o wykroczeniach (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Sprawiedliwości, 1939). [UP]

[39] This frame of mind is reflected fully in the most important internal circulation Communist secret police periodical. See Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert and Rafał E. Stolarski, eds., “Bijące serce partii”: “Dzienniki personalne Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego”, vol. 1: 1945-1947 (Warszawa: Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa and Oficyna Wydawnicza “Adiutor,” 2001), 352-55, 361-69, 393, 458-60, 484-86, 492-500, 524, 527-28, 536, 551-52, 577, 585, 589, 593, 633 [afterward “Bijące serce partii”]. In relation to the Poles in general, this sentiment was expressed best by Jakub Berman who supervised the secret police in Stalinist Poland. See Teresa Torańska, Oni (London: Aneks, 1985), 274, 290–91, 341, 354–58. Torańska’s book is published in English translation as “Them”: Stalin’s Polish Puppets (New York: Harper & Row, 1987). [UP]

[40] See Wytyczne d/s propagandy, Główny Zarząd Pol.-Wych. LWP pt. „W sprawie mobilizacji nienawiści do zbirów reakcyjnych,” 10 May 1945, Kunert and Stolarski, “Bijące serce partii”, 388. (“Piętnować z całą siłą zbrodniczą robotę wyrodków z NSZ i AK – naśladowców Hitlera, rozwinąć w żołnierzu uczucie nienawiści i rozkołysać aktywność żołnierzy przeciwko reakcji.”) [UP]

[41] The speech of Colonel Mieczysław Dąbrowski during “a gala academy on the second anniversary of the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto” on April 19, 1945, in Kunert and Stolarski, “Bijące serce partii”, 382. (“Podczas uroczystej akademii w drugą rocznicę powstania w getcie warszawskim przedstawiciel LWP płk Mieczysław Dąbrowski oświadcza: ‘Przeciwko powstańcom walczyli: lotnictwo, SS i czołgi niemieckie, chuliganeria polska, reakcjoniści polscy i faktycznie AK.’”) [UP]

[42] See Głos Ludu, 21 April 1945, in Kunert and Stolarski, “Bijące serce partii”, 382. (“Zbrodniarze z AK i NSZ działają ręka w rękę z hitlerowcami. I tak też, jak hitlerowscy mordercy, powinni być potraktowani.”) [UP]

[43] See Głos Ludu, 19 October 1945, quoted in Kunert and Stolarski, “Bijące serce partii”, 457. (“NSZ w czasie okupacji stanowiły posiłkową formację SS i Gestapo.”) [UP]

[44] “Pod sąd morderców z AK i NSZ!” Reproduced in Komorowski, Polityka i walka, n.p. [UP]

[[45] See Okólnik Ministerstwa Informacji i Propagandy nr 1, 21 April 1945, in Pierwsza próba indoktrynacji: Działalność Ministerstwa Informacji i Propagandy w latach 1944-1947, ed. by Andrzej Krawczyk (Warszawa: ISP PAN, 1994), 74-75; “PRESS CONFERENCE held by M. Bierut at the Polish Embassy in Moscow on April 23, 1945,” in Soviet-Polish Relations: A Collection of Official Documents and Press Extracts, 1944-1946 (London: “Soviet News,” 1946), 30; Krystyna Kersten, “Polityczny i propagandowy obraz zbrojnego podziemia w latach 1945-1947 w świetle prasy komunistycznej,” Wojna domowa czy nowa okupacja? Polska po roku 1944, ed. by Andrzej Ajnenkiel (Wrocław, Warszawa, and Kraków: Wydawnictwo Zakładu Narodowego imienia Ossolińskich, 1998), 140-50 [afterward “Polityczny” in Wojna domowa]; Marek Michalik, “Wizerunek Zrzeszenia ‘Wolność i Niezawisłość’ w wybranych tytułach prasy centralnej z lat 1945-1947: Część I,” Zeszyty Historyczne WiN-u 12 (March 1999): 5-42. [UP]

[46] This propaganda ploy therefore required that the Communists effusively play the role of the sole protectors of the Jewish people. On April 17, 1949, the head of the proxy regime in Warsaw, Bolesław Bierut, cynically informed a visiting Jewish-American delegation that “killing a Jew is ten times more of a crime than ordinary killing” and vowed to punish severely anyone responsible for crimes against the Jews. See Joseph Tenenbaum, In Search of A Lost People: The Old and the New Poland (New York: The Beechhurst Press, 1948), 227. Numerous other so-called “pro-Jewish” statements were routinely made to that effect by the Communist officials and the regime-controlled media. See also Simon Segal, “Eastern Europe,” The American Jewish Yearbook, 5705, vol. 46: September 18, 1944 to September 7, 1945, ed. by Harry Schneiderman (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1944), 240-44; Raphael Mahler, “Eastern Europe,” The American Jewish Yearbook, 5706, vol. 47: 1945-46, ed. by Harry Schneiderman and Julius B. Maller (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1945), 391-408; Harry Schneiderman, “Eastern Europe,” The American Jewish Yearbook, 5707, vol. 48: 1946-47, ed. by Harry Scheiderman and Julius B. Maller (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1946), 334-49; Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Żydzi i Polacy, 1918-1955: Współistnienie, Zagłada, Komunizm (Warszawa: Fronda, 2000), 535-38 [afterward Żydzi i Polacy]. [UP]

[47] Chodakiewicz, Ejszyszki, 2: 15, 26, 123-34, 139-40, 144. [UP]

[48] For example, in the sentencing statement we read not only about “the mass crime against the defenseless people who numbered 1,500” at p. 229 of court records, but on p. 225 that the sentenced men were “accused that on June 25 [sic July 10], 1941, in Jedwabne aiding the authorities of the German state, they participated in capturing about 1200 persons of Jewish nationality, who… were burned en masse by the Germans in the barn.” See Sentencja wyroku and Uzasadnienie, Sprawa Bolesława Ramotowskiego i 21 innych, 16 and 17 May 1949, SOŁ, file Ksu 33/49, 225, 229. [UP]

[49] For a detailed analysis see Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, The Massacre in Jedwabne, July 10, 1941 : Before, During, After ( New York and Boulder, CO.: Columbia University Press and East European Monographs, 2005) (forthcoming). [UP]

[50] This was a universal phenomenon evident also in other cases. See Chodakiewicz, Ejszyszki, 2:15. [UP]

[51] Sendler is credited with saving about 2,500 Jewish children during the Nazi occupation. See Irena Sendlerowa (“Jolanta”), “Ci, którzy pomagali Żydom: Wspomnienia z czasów okupacji hitlerowskiej,” Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego [afterward BŻIH] (Warszawa), no. 45-46 (January-June 1963): 234-47; Magdalena Grochowska, “Lista Sendlerowej,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 8 June 2001. [UP]

[52] Tadeusz M. Płużański, “Najnowsza historia humerowców,” posted at [UP]

[53] Hence, the knowledge of the NKVD and the UB about the independentist underground was quite extensive. See Tatiana Cariewskaja et al., eds., Teczka specjalna J.W. Stalina: Raporty NKWD z Polski, 1944-1946 (Warszawa: ISP PAN, IH UW, Rytm and APFR, 1998); Informator o nielegalnych antypaństwowych organizacjach i bandach zbrojnych działających w Polsce Ludowej w latach 1944-1956 (Warszawa: Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych, Biuro “C”, 1964, Reprint Lublin: Wydawnictwo Retro, 1993) [afterward Informator]; Piotr Mirski and Jakub Twardowski, eds., Zrzeszenie Wolność i Niezawisłość na Lubelszczyźnie w latach 1944-1947 w opracowaniu funkcjonariuszy MSW (Lublin: Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej, 2002). [UP]

[54] For a story of a Home Army, Government Delegate’s Office (Delegatura Rządu), and Wilno Mobilization Center (Wile ński Ośrodek Mobilizacyjny ) liaison who withstood torture by the Gestapo (November 1943-April 1944), NKVD (May-August 1945), and UB (1947), although at a great cost to her health see Skhema podpolnoi polskoi natsionalisticheskoi antisovetskoi organizatsii imenem “Delegatura Rzhondu,” State Archive Vilnius, ugol. Delo arkh. Nr. 7251/3 Dobrazhanskogo Iuria Antonovicha i drugikh; Spravka, sekretno, Khodakevich Irina Vitol’dovna, delo 5082, October 1954; Vopros, 7 July 1945; Postanovlenie (pred’iavlenii obvineniia), 7 July 1945 Postanovlenie (o prekrashenii sledstvia i osvobozhdenii iz-pod otrazhi), 18 August 1945 (copies in my collection); Irena i Jan Chodakiewicz, Biuro Ewidencji i Archiwizacji Urzędu Ochrony Państwa [BeiA UOP], file 10962/II; Mieczysław Potocki, Wspomniena żołnierza Armii Krajowej Ziemi Wileńskiej (Warszawa: No publisher, 1981), 14, 17, 19; Marek Chodakiewicz, “Chodakiewiczowa Irena (1912-1979), pseud. ‘Irena’,” Wileńskie Rozmaitości: Towarzystwo Miłośników Wilna i Ziemi Wileńskiej – Oddział w Bydgoszczy, no. 6 (32) (November-December 1995): 50-51. [UP]

[55] Torture by the NKVD started already during the first Soviet occupation of Poland’s Eastern Borderlands. See Jan T. Gross, Revolution from Abroad: The Soviet Conquest of Poland’s Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, Expanded Edition ( Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002), 164-74. [UP]

[56] This seems to have been the case especially in the countryside but to a lesser extent on the central command level. See Chapter Six, “The Local Elite under Soviet Rule, 1944-1947,” and Chapter Eight, “Ethnic Minorities under Soviet Occupation, 1944-1947,” in Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, Between Nazis and Soviets: A Case Study of Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939-1947 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2003) (forthcoming); Służba Bezpieczeństwa Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej w latach 1944-1978 ([Warszawa:] Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych, Biuro “C” [1978?]); Mirosław Piotrowski, ed., Ludzie Bezpieki w walce z narodem i Kościołem: Służba bezpieczeństwa w Polskiej Rzeczypospolitej Ludowej w latach 1944-1978 – Centrala (Lublin : Klub Inteligencji Katolickiej, 2000); Grzegorz Majchrzak, “Szefowie i podstawowe piony operacyjne Ministerstwa Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, Komitetu ds. Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 6 (June 2002): 23-24; Andrzej Paczkowski, “Żydzi w UB: Próba weryfikacji stereotypu,” in Komunizm: Ideologia, System, Ludzie, ed. by Tomasz Szarota (Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Neriton and Instytut Historii PAN, 2001), 192-204 [afterward “Żydzi w UB” in Komunizm]; John Sack, An Eye for an Eye (New York: Basic Books, 1995). [UP]

[57] See Mateusz Wyrwich, “Mord w kościele: Skrytobójcze mordy czasów stalinowskich,” Przegląd Tygodniowy [Toronto], 4 October 2002, 5-6. [UP]

[58] See Krajewski and Łabuszewski, „Łupaszka”, „Młot”, „Huzar”, 859. [UP]

[59] Although there is still no access to the NKVD files in Russia, it has been established that the Polish Communists alone passed 43 death sentences. Further, in a random exhumation in a forest nearby a mass grave was uncovered containing 12 bodies, apparently victims of a single execution. See Antoni Stolcman, “Kąkolewica 1944 r.,” in Narodowe Siły Zbrojne na Podlasiu, vol. 1: Materiały posesyjne, ed. by Mariusz Bechta and Leszek Żebrowski (Siedlce: Związek Żołnierzy Narodowych Sił Zbrojnych, 1997), 196-223; Anna Wasak, “Tajemnica kąkolewickich lasów,” Nasz Dziennik, 13 June 2003. [UP]

[60] Kister, Komenda Okręgu Lublin, 150-51. [UP]

[61] Adam Kruczek, “Bohaterki Lubelszczyzny,” Nasz Dziennik, 21 August 2002. [UP]

[62] Zbigniew Lazarowicz, "Ksiądz Michał Pilipiec ps. "Ski" – Męczennik za Wiarę i Ojczyznę," Nasz Dziennik, 5-6 April 2003. [UP]

[63] See Danuta Suchorowska, Rozbić więzienie UB! Akcje zbrojne AK i WiN, 1945-1946 (Warszawa: Agencja Omnipress, 1991), 80, 82, 164-65. [UP]

[64] Por. Konstanty Kopf ps. “Zawisza,” “Głowacki,” “Pewny,” “Więzienne echa,” Szaniec Chrobrego [Warszawa] vol. 19, no. 61-62 (227-28) (2002): 17-21, quote at p. 20. Lt. Kopf was sentenced to several years in jail in October 1945 but he was amnestied in 1947. [UP]

[65] See Wojciech Wybranowski, “Pan UB-ek chory,” Nasz Dziennik, 28 March 2001. [UP]

[66] In 1999 Suporniuk was decorated with the coveted Polonia Restituta Cross by the post-Communist President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski. After a public outcry, the Cross was taken away from the UB man. Finally, in 2004 Suporniuk was charged with about 80 counts of torture of political prisoners in Nisko, Krosno, and Gdynia. See Krajewski, Żołnierze wyklęci, 225-26; Wojciech Wybranowski, “IPN skarży kata ziemi rzeszowskiej,” Nasz Dziennik, 9-10 March 2002; Wojciech Wybranowski, “Czy tarnobrzeska prokuratura chroniła pułkownika UB?” Nasz Dziennik, March 2002; Wojciech Wybranowski, “Nazywali go –‘Czerwona Śmierć,’” Nasz Dziennik, 23 October 2001; Maciej Walaszczyk, “Kat bez sądu,” Nasz Dziennik, 8 November 2001; Józef Matusz, “Podejrzany o torturowanie żołnierzy,” Rzeczpospolita, 27 April 2002; P.W.R., “Oficer UB bez orderu,” Rzeczpospolita, 25 October 2001; Mariusz Kamieniecki, “Odznaczony pod sąd,” Nasz Dziennik, 16 February 2004. [UP]

[67] Ryszard Młynarski eventually succeeded Suproniuk as the head of the office. His case is controversial because his daughter, Danuta Huebner nee Młynarska is Poland’s European commissioner designated by the post-Communists. See Piotr Baran, “Ojciec Danuty Huebner nie chce wracać do Ubeckiej przeszłości,” Super Express, 27 October 2005. [UP]

[68] Moczarski’s chief tormentors were: Colonel Anatol Fejgin, Lieutenant Colonel Józef Dusza, Major Jerzy Kaskiewicz, Captain Eugeniusz Chimczak, Captain Adam Adamuszek, Second Lieutenant Tadeusz Szymański, Staff Sergeant Mazurkiewicz, and Sergeant Stanisław Wardyński. Sentenced to death in November 1952, Moczarski was held on death row for over a year. Only in January 1955 did he learn that his sentence had been commuted to life in October 1953. He was amnestied in April 1956 and exonerated in December 1956. Moczarski recalled his ordeal in a letter to his lawyer written at the time of his “rehabilitation” trial. See Kazimierz Moczarski, Zapiski (Warszawa: Państwowy Insytut Wydawniczy, 1990), 302-308. [UP]

[69] See Ewa Kurek, Zaporczycy, 1943-1949 (Lublin: Wydawnictwo Klio, 1995), 314 [afterward Zaporczycy]. This account is based upon Kurek’s interview with the victim. [UP]

[70] Kurek, Zaporczycy, 243. This account is based upon Kurek’s interview with the victim’s son. [UP]

[71] See Kurek, Zaporczycy, 245-46. This account is based upon Kurek’s interview with the eye-witnesses. [UP]

[72] Krajewski and Łabuszewski, "Łupaszka”, "Młot”, "Huzar”, 225. [UP]