Handwritten note appears to incriminate Poland's Wałęsa
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland's National Remembrance Institute on Monday released a handwritten note from 1970 appearing to show that Solidarity legend Lech Wałęsa agreed to be an informer for the communist-era secret police.
Handwritten collaboration note signed 'Lech Wałęsa'. Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk
Wałęsa, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who following the downfall of communism became president of his country, has denied that earlier in his career he was a paid secret agent who collaborated with Poland’s communist regime.
But files seized recently at the home of a former Polish interior minister and released by the National Remembrance Institute on Monday appeared damning at first glance.
The files include a handwritten noted dated 21 December 1970 and signed “Lech Wałęsa” which says: “I undertake to cooperate with the security services [secret police] in uncovering and combating the enemies of the [communist] People’s Republic of Poland.”
The note also says: “I undertake to keep the fact that I am cooperating with the security services strictly confidential and not to disclose it even to my family.”
Among the files is a list of payments from 1971 made to Agent "Bolek" (Wałęsa’s supposed codename) for being an informer, and handwritten notes confirming receipt of payment.
The documents have not yet been examined by a handwriting expert, but the head of the National Remembrance Institute, Łukasz Kamiński, told reporters last week that an expert archivist has confirmed they are genuine communist secret police materials.
A number of historians have previously argued that Wałęsa was a secret informant who used the codename of “Bolek”.
But research has indicated that Agent “Bolek” broke off cooperation with the secret police several years before the landmark events of 1980 that made Wałęsa a household name across the world.
Following a historic strike at the Gdańsk shipyard in northern Poland in August 1980, the Solidarity trade union was formed with Wałęsa at its head. The union garnered over 9 million members and was a key factor in the eventual fall of communism. (pk)