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Polish institute claims alleged Wałęsa informant files genuine

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 18.02.2016 13:43
Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has claimed that files confiscated on Tuesday concerning former president Lech Wałęsa's alleged collaboration with the communist security services are genuine.
Łukasz Kamiński, chairman of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Photo: PAP/Radek PietruszkaŁukasz Kamiński, chairman of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

The documents were seized on Tueday at the Warsaw house of Maria Teresa Kiszczak, widow of former communist minister of the interior Czesław Kiszczak.

The material, from the mid-1970s, concerns a secret informant codenamed 'Bolek', a figure that some historians insist is Lech Wałęsa, best known to the wider world as the one-time leader of the Solidarity trade union.

Chairman of IPN Łukasz Kamiński said on Thursday that the documents include “a handwritten agreement to cooperate with the security services signed: Lech Wałesa - Bolek.”

Kamiński added that other documents signed with the codename Bolek include “confirmation of having received money.”

IPN claims that Maria Teresa Kiszczak tried to sell the documents to the institute, which she denies.

Wałęsa, who is currently in Venezuela with other Nobel Prize winners, wrote on his blog on Thursday that the documents must be forgeries.

“I will prove it in court,” he insisted.

A long-running dispute

Wałęsa's alleged cooperation with the communist security services (SB) followed the repression of strikes in Gdańsk and its environs in 1970. He himself had taken part in the protests.

An informant codenamed 'Bolek' apparently broke off ties with the SB several years before the landmark 1980 strike at the Gdańsk Shipyard, a protest that led to the birth of the Solidarity trade union and Wałęsa's meteoric rise to international fame.

Although he has strenuously denied the accuations in Poland, in 2011 he told the UK's Guardian newspaper that he had played “a game” with the secret services.

“It was all a clever game,” he told the daily.

“It was important to play it to give the impression I was weak, so as not to be eliminated.

“Not for a moment was I on the other side,” he insisted. (nh/pk)

tags: IPN, Walesa Lech
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