It took archivists at Poland’s state historic institute 15 years to finish the herculean activity of piecing collectively hundreds of communist-era secret police information destroyed after 1989. Their painstaking work supplied not solely helpful historic insights but in addition proof in numerous authorized circumstances.
A complete of 6,714 archival items had been recovered, Monika Kobylańska – from the Katowice department of the Institute of Nationwide Remembrance (IPN) – informed the Rzeczpospolita day by day.
Every of the information has been analysed for its potential relevance to lustration proceedings – the identify given to the authorized course of whereby folks in public workplace are assessed to see whether or not they beforehand collaborated with the communist regime and in the event that they tried to cover this reality in official declarations.
Cross-referencing the reconstructed information with the names of the 470,000 individuals who have submitted lustration declarations allowed new materials to be contributed to 6 authorized circumstances, Kobylańska informed the newspaper.
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In November 1989, a number of months after the semi-free elections that paved the way in which for Poland’s transition to democracy, communist inside minister Czesław Kiszczak ordered the liquidation of a number of departments of the Safety Service (SB), Poland’s feared secret police.
Just a few weeks earlier, Kiszczak had already ordered the destruction of their archives, writes Rzeczpospolita. In January 1990, when parliament learnt of this reality, the operation was suspended.
In Katowice, 267 baggage of shredded information had been then handed over to the state intelligence company earlier than later being given to the IPN, which was established in 1998 and empowered not solely to analysis and educate on Poland’s communist-era historical past but in addition given prosecutorial powers.
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In 2006, the IPN’s archivists started the work of piecing collectively the hundreds of paperwork “like a jigsaw puzzle”, studies Rzeczpospolita. Since then, they’ve reconstructed 125 metres of information and 170 metres of document playing cards.
A few of the paperwork date again to the instant post-war interval and comprise info on circumstances made towards former members of the wartime underground resistance.
Many information from the Nineteen Eighties pertain to figures related to the Solidarity motion, together with surveillance pictures. There are additionally over 1,000 operational data referring to monks.
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Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland. He has written on Polish affairs for a variety of publications, together with Overseas Coverage, POLITICO Europe, EUobserver and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.