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IWP researcher now runs Poland’s communist-era archives

IWP summer 2005 post-doctoral fellow Dr. Piotr Gontarczyk has become the new deputy chief archivist at the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw, Poland. The Institute is a major human rights organization in Poland that has the authority and ability to hold communist-era spies and informants accountable for their crimes, while clearing allegations against the falsely accused.

The Institute of National Remembrance controls the surviving archives of the old Soviet collaborationist regime. Dr. Gontarczyk will tend to over 50 miles of Communist secret police records, documents, and artifacts in Warsaw and the institute’s branches throughout Poland. We wish him and his boss, Zbigniew Nawrocki, as well as the newly confirmed chairman of the Institute, Professor Janusz Kurtyka, our strong support.

Former communist collaborators and their allies have issued a barrage against Dr. Gontarczyk, calling him too anti-communist. Ex-informants for the old regime have denounced IWP researchers for having exposed their crimes in American electronic media.


One of those exposed was Henryk Szlajfer, whom former communist President Aleksandr Kwasniewski had appointed in 2005 as ambassador to Washington. Szlajfer denied the allegations and demanded that the Institute of National Remembrance clear him, only to find that the Institute held sections of the secret police archives that showed him to have been an informant against his friends.