The Current State of Affairs in Poland

Re: Purging the Past in Poland

To the Editor:

I have read the article "Purging the Past in Poland" by Michael Werbowski, and I cannot stop wondering how incompetent a journalist can be and how relatively simple facts can be distorted. Mr. Werbowski is definitely totally confused about Poland's current state of affairs and her recent history.

One thing that will instantly strike ANYone who knows at least just a little bit about Poland is this excerpt from the utterly ignorant writer: "In 1992, Polish Prime Minster Jan Olszewski (the first former Communist party official in post-Communist Poland to hold the post of prime minister) stepped down following public accusations that he was an informer and an agent for the Soviet and later the Russian secret service."

1. Jan Olszewski, a lawyer, was one of many bravest and most devoted members of the anti-Communist movement;. 2. was the 3rd non-Communist PM in Poland (after Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Jan Krzysztof Bielecki); 3. his government was abolished by the Polish Parliament's no-confidence vote, after one of his ministers — Antoni Macierewicz — had published a list of prominent politicians involved in co-operation with the ruthless state secret service "Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa" (ironically, Parliament had demanded this); 4. never have I heard of an accusation levied against Mr Olszewski of his involvement with the Russians.

In other words, the quoted fragment is equivalent to saying: "Mrs Thatcher was a famous hockey star in the Gabon who died in a duel at the hand of Julius Caesar and was first to be buried in an Egyptian pyramid on the Moon."

Alas, the rest of the article is of equal informative value.

The dilemma that Poles face today is how and what to reveal from the documents accumulated by the state secret service, e.g. should sensitive information (sexual preferences, alcoholism, etc.) be made public, should everyone gain access to such documents or only historians, etc. No serious politician (with the exception of communists) denies the need to reveal such files in one way or another.

As to the main persona of the article, bishop Stanislaw Wielgus, his case is sad really as he denied contacts with the SB only to be put to shame by the subsequent publishing of his secret files on the Internet by the Gazeta Polska weekly.

To sum it up, my advice is that you encourage Mr Werbowski change his job. If he insists on writing, let it be fables.

Grzegorz Pawel Stefanczyk
Kielce, Poland

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