Polish Secret Police, The "Bezpieka" Pt. 1
Dossiers of Polish secret police functionaries from the UB (pol. Urzad Bezpieczenstwa), MBP (Ministerstwo Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego), and SB (pol. Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa):
Polish Secret Police in Krakow:
"If it is possible at all, that an image of evil can be reflected in a human face, than perhaps, the faces of the 'bezpieka' functionaries are its best example. For 45-years, the work in the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa [UB] and Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa [SB], was the most shameful profession in the entire apparatus of the communist regime. This work was undertaken not only by those who were weak enough to succumb to the temptation of inflicting violence with impunity, but also by those insufficiently equipped to reject it, and those who without any scruples could partake in the murderous enterprise of crime. They were surrounded with preponderant fear, and also with a prevailing contempt - even from within the ranks of their protectors, and willing collaborators. For there aren't any more insulting words in the Polish language than those [used to refer to them] like 'ubek', 'bezpieka', or 'esbek'" Excerpt from the Preface to "The Faces of the Krakow's Bezpieka", at al, Institute of National Remembrance, Krakow, 2006
Polish Secret Police in Wroclaw:
"Throughout the forty-five post World War II years, the apparatus of repression in Poland guarded interest of the communist party, the PPR/PZPR. In the course of duties assigned to it, it spied on, arrested, and liquidated individuals considered undesirable by the [communist] regime. Under the tutelage of Soviet special services, in which secret police, the Urzad Bezpieczenstwa [UB] / Sluzba Bezpieczensta [SB], commonly known as 'bezpieka' played an integral role, the apparatus of repression was greatly expanded and modernized. During the 1944-1954 [the 'bezpieka'] operated within the 'Resort' / Ministry of Public Security. After its dismantlement, units under control of former Ministry of Public Security were transferred to the newly formed Ministry of Internal Affairs, Committee for Public Security [...] Because of the character of its activities, its direct subordination to the [repressive communist] government, the 'bezpieka' was an institution of terror sealed form, and hostile to the to the society at large [...] The necessity of preserving memory of victims of UB/SB terror brings to the forefront the question about the identities of their tormentors. At last, the anonymity of the Wroclaw's bezpieka men is stripped away by the publication of the 'Faces of the Wroclaw's Bezpieka'. In addition to the information about organization, and personnel of the Wroclaw's 'bezpieka', this publication also contains photographs, and operational histories of nearly two hundred fifty functionaries [...] For the first time, readers interested in the most recent history of Poland, will be able to learn about people whose handiwork made its tragic imprint on the history of Wroclaw, and on the lives of its many inhabitants". Excerpt from the Preface to "The Faces of the Wroclaw's Bezpieka", at al, Institute of National Remembrance, Wroclaw, 2006, by Kszysztof Szwagrzyk
Polish Secret Police in Bydgoszcz:
"[...] The interrogations were conducted by two NKVD officers in uniforms, and by [Boleslaw] Halewski. During interrogations he would say that the UB functionaries were learning interrogation methods from the Russians. Halewski tortured me in the presence of the Russians. He was hitting me on the face, and several times kicked me in the groin. After being kicked I felt down from the pain, and the guards had to carry me out of the interrogation room, and then tossed me into the cell. In the cell, I saw from a close distance how Boleslaw Halewski, before the eyes of all prisoners, was kicking one of the prisoners in the groin area. After [the prisoner] fell, he first jumped on his chest, and then he was smashing his face with the heal of his boot. I saw this from the distance of about two meters. I thought then, that this prisoner, whose name I didn't know, died then [...] The UB had a role of the political police, whose mission was to take over power in Poland, and to maintain it in the hands of the communists. The process of organizing UB which began in Summer, 1944, was primarily aided by the Soviet security services, and by about two hundred Polish nationals trained as a part of the special courses conducted by the NKVD at the Kuybishev training center. During the early 1950s, the MBP had under its control number of security organizations: Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego (UBP), Milicja Obywatelska (MO), Korpus Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego (KBW), Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza (WOP), Ochotnicza Rezerwa Milicji Obywatelskiej (ORMO), Straz Przemyslowa, and Sluzba Wiezienna. All together, the security apparatus had nearly 327 thousand functionaries and soldiers at its disposal". Excerpt from the "The Sword of the Revolution. Faces of the Bydgoszcz Bezpieka", at al, Institute of National Remembrance, Gdansk, 2006.
Polish Secret Police in Lodz:
"When a 'bandit' knew about other members of the gang, or about the place where weapons were hidden, or stored, and refused to reveal such information, I would allow to use interrogation methods that were not sanctioned. Somehow, in this Urzad Bezpieczenstwa, and later in the Committee for Public Security, we would laugh at laws. When someone reached for a Penal Code book we would say that he wants to play the 'prosecutor' [...] If I am not mistaken, perhaps from the junior investigator position up to the ministerial level, this is what we thought [about the law ...]" Colonel Teodor (Fiedol) Duda, Polish Secret Police functionary.
On January 20, 1945, a special operation group consisting of 84 individuals directed by the communist Armia Ludawa's Lublin District commandant Mieczyslaw Moczar, "Mietek" arrived to Ludz. Moczar, a native of Ludz became the first head of the WUBP (pol. abr. Wojewodzki Urzad Bezpieczenstwa - Viovodeship Office for State Security). He remained in this position until 1948. Noteworthy is the fact that the location of the new WUBP office was chosen to be the former Nazi Gestapo building on the Anstadt street. In 1948, the WUBP office in Ludz employed nearly 600 individuals (in 1954 it employed 1,150 individuals). In 1948, the regional county secret police offices employed nearly 500 individuals. In 1954 this number grew to 640 individuals, among them: field operatives, contract employees, that is secretaries, janitors, etc. While the communist Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (SB,) that superceeded Urzad Bezpieczenstwa, was dismantled in 1990, after less than thorough vetting process, many of its functionaries were hired by the present security services of the Republic of Poland. Thus, paradoxically, a 'Democratic' [post-communist] nation, hired indiduals who until recently were its very enemies to protect it from ... itself? Source: "The Faces of Ludz Bezpieka"
at al, Institute of National Remembrance, Lodz, 2006.
Polish Secret Police in Czestochowa:
The organs of the state security police were established in a climate of marginal public support for the communist regime. Their leaders were well aware of both the prevailing political climate, and the widespread resistance against the new communist government. While it was possible for them to reinforce their operational strength by employing front-line units to combat the forces of Democratic Underground during 1944-1945, it was also clear, that in order to maintain power, a full-fledged security organization had to be established. It was Czestochowa’s civil administrative subordination to the Kielce Voivodeship that it was exactly in Kielce where two operational secret police groups were established to create County (under command of Wincenty Podlubny) and City (under command Wladyslaw Dziadosz) structures in Czestochowa. The operational group under Capt. Dziadosz arrived in Czestochowa on 17 January 1945 and established temporary office at 45 Washington Street (pol. ulica waszyngtona), and then at 22 Slaska Street (pol. Ulica Slaska). This office was also shared by the PUBP offices (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – County Office for Public Security) from where it was moved to 10 Kilinskiego Street (Ulica Kilinskiego). In April 1945, both City and County office were combined under a single name MUBP (pol. Miejski Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – City Office for Public Security). More significant changes took place at the end of 1947 where the City (MUBP) name is dropped and the office reopens under the name County Office of Public Security (PUBP). During its 11 years of the existence, the county and city Urzad Bezpieczenstwa structures in Czestochowa were under command of 9 directors/heads. As a result of administrative changes which took place in 1950, Czestochowa became part of the Katowice Voivodeship, while no longer existing city and county structures of secret police were subordinated to the WUBP (pol. abr. Wojewodzki Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – Voivodeship Office for State Security) in Katowice. As a “spiritual capital” of Poland, the city of Czestochowa was of particular interest to the “bezpieka” men. During 1958-1975, in addition to the activities of the regular operational units of the SB, in Czestochowa also operated the Group 5a of the Section III (beginning in 1962, Group 4, Section IV) headquartered in Katowice. This special-purpose field office was primarily responsible for conducting surveillance operations against Polish Catholic Church. Source: "The Faces of Czestochowa Bezpieka"
at al, Regional Bureau of Public Education, Katowice.
Polish Secret Police in Bielsko-Biala, Cieszyn, Zywiec:
The work of the WUBP (pol. Wojewodzki Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego - Voivodeship Office for Public Security) was organized into departments overlooking operations of local PUBP (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa – City Office for Public Security), and PUBP (pol. Powiatowy Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego – County Office for Public Security), and were a part of a local net of security operations in the Slask/Katowice Voivodeships. During 1945-1950 Bielsko and Biala were two autonomous cities and were administratively part of Slask and Krakow Voivodeships. A special group consisting of 4 individuals under command of Kazimierz Swiderski was delegated to Bielsko Biala on personal order No. 16 issued by then Minister of Public Security, Stanislaw Radkiewicz. This group was subordinated to the newly forming WUBP in Katowice. The task of organizing UB [pol. abr. Urzad Bezpieczenstwa] structures was assigned to Wladyslaw Jozwiak who directed county operational group from Krakow. These groups entered the city immediately following the Soviet Red Army between 13 and 15 February, 1945 and within one month established PUBP office in Bielsko and MUBP office in Biala. In 1946 both county and city offices were combined into a single operational unit. As a result of administrative changes in 1950 (that is the merger of cities of Biesko and Biala into a single administrative unit Bielsko-Biala), a single combined PUBP office in Bielsko-Biala was created.
Polish Secret Police in Lublin:
It is difficult to imagine 45-years of communist reign in the so-called People’s Poland without its secret police. It was the most essential instrument of that system, at first, ruthlessly liquidating the post World War II underground insurgency and then for many years extinguishing any and all forms of social discontent and political opposition. In an all-encompassing fashion it monitored behavior and mood of Polish citizens. Under its surveillance were both individuals and entire social groups, organizations or institutions, that could – in the skewed imagination of the “bezpieka” men – constitute potential “danger” to the communist regime. In accordance with a well-tested model, similar to that of the Soviet secret police services, the security services of the communist Poland were created already in the summer of 1944. Its creation and then functioning took place under an ever-watchful supervision of their Soviet “guardians.” Until 1954, the security service functioned under the name of Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego [Office of Public Security] whose leading organs during first months after “liberation” of Poland established their headquarters in the city of Lublin itself. One of the priorities of the new communist regime was establishment of an entire network of prisons and torture houses – often based on the infrastructure left behind by the Nazi Gestapo that retreated before the advancing Soviet Red Army. During the several of the darkest years of communism in Poland, that is between 1944-1956, the Lublin castle, a former regional Nazi Gestapo headquarters, gained notoriety as one of the most infamous communist torture houses. The number of murders and human tragedies that befell those held and executed in its dungeons awaits a full accounting to this day.