Let justice be done

Fr Hubert Czuma, S.J.

And the media in Poland got crazy about the discovery of the next names of secret collaborators, the so-called 'TW'. This time they speak loudly about the priests who were apparently unlucky to become secret collaborators of the communist services during the time of the Polish People's Republic. Earlier, the media informed about the spiritual informer who had reported on John Paul II. Even some work has been written: a report about his talks with the representatives of these services.
To be a collaborator of such criminal and mean services, which following the command of the Soviet Union were to make all people report on everybody, was not only a dishonest thing but also responsibility for what one was doing. If there were priests who decided to do such 'work', my heart is sad. But the responsibility is bigger. This demands to settle accounts with the past. But there is something more shocking. Nobody says that those who organised the services should be held accountable for that. Who is responsible for all the matters concerning reporting on your neighbours? I have just mentioned that: from 1945 the Soviet Union was introducing the communist system in Poland, which meant a new order, a new way of life that had been practised behind our eastern border from 1917. Thus, apart from destroying all people who opposed communism and the Soviet authority the control of the Polish People's Republic was introduced into all aspects of Poles' lives; control what was completely dependent on the Kremlin. In order to make all society obedient to the commands of 'the only right party': PPR-PZPR, reporting on people was introduced from the start. Naturally, they sought for those who could say something or give a lot of reports. In order to organise such 'work' on the national level they had to create 'some operational brain', embracing thousands of workers as the staff and several thousand collaborators.
A lot of money was spent on that. On what? On mean, criminal activities against the Polish Nation. All those who worked in the Security Office (UB), and then in the Security Service (SB) constituted the political police. In the totalitarian system (which was called Polish People's Republic - PRL) they all, exactly all people, including cooks and cleaners, working in the UB/SB were a group of criminals who acted against the Polish Nation. Naturally, each of them was a criminal with a different degree of responsibility.
Currently, if there are some names of the secret collaborators it concerns a small group of people. But after all the length of their preserved files (although plenty of files were burnt in 1989/91...) is 80 km. How many officers, non-commissioned officers, of higher and lower ranks, had to 'submit' reports in order to satisfy their superiors and the 'workers' were to receive good fees (for our money)? If the budget of the UB/SB had been spent on building flats all Polish people would have lived almost in palaces. The enunciations in the press always and only speak about those who submitted to the pressure or the blackmail of the secret policemen. It is most likely that those who agreed to collaborate with the UB/SB would not even have thought of doing such wickedness in normal democratic conditions (where there is no secret police). But in the condition of the PRL, where in every factory, in every community there were informers we do not wonder that people could break down and... began reporting on others. And how many yielded to the temptation of money (or bonus 'in nature')? There were also such people who gradually 'improve' reporting on others. They began showing their employers some solutions and improvements to trace those who thought that the PRL was wrong. They simply rendered their services to the people's authorities.
But one must strongly emphasise that they all (TWs) are the victims of the secret police. And generally speaking we all treat them in this way and we think about them in this way. We do admit that they could harm individuals or communities. If this is the case they should be held accountable. Depending on how big the harm was they should individually or publicly apologise for the harm, ask for forgiveness. And even make up for the loss.
However, let us ask the question again: Who is actually responsible for reporting and the harm resulting from it? Let us answer briefly and to the point: the leaders of the PRL. They took a lot of money for oppressing Polish people for almost fifty years. They embarked on this wicked task willingly, not under any compulsion. They had a definite ideology: our Nation was to be completely obedient and submitted to them and the leaders of the Soviet Union. If the totalitarian system had not existed, the system they introduced and established, the problem of the secret collaborators would have not occurred.
When World War II ended the victorious parties defined the Nazi country as criminals acting against Europe and the world. The NSDAP, the Gestapo, the SS, the SA and other units (including Wehrmacht) were called criminal organisations. Many criminals were brought to trial in N├╝rnberg. Many were hung. Others were sought for years and caught (the Simon Wiesenthal Center).
After the fall of the more criminal system of the communist states (the Soviet Union and Central-Eastern Europe) there were no trials of (even!) the greatest communist criminals. There were no trials in Poland, either, apart from trials of some less important officers of the Security Office. The main builders of the communist system that enslaved Poles are still free of any responsibility for their crimes. In the international dimension the communists are responsible for crimes that exceed four times the Nazi crimes (The black book of communism). Even today the state gives high pensions to those who established the communist rules and they are paid from... our taxes. We pay those who enslaved us for years, those who made us report on others.

I propose:
1. to proclaim the Polish People's Republic a criminal state acting against the Polish Nation
2. to proclaim all leaders of the communist government criminals
3. to forbid the communists to assume any posts in Poland's government to the end of their lives
4. to deprive them of their high state pensions and allowances. Let them be satisfied with one fourth of the average wage for their 'services'.
5. The SB officers 'leading' secret collaborators must be brought to trial for their activities that harmed Polish citizens. They must be deprived of their privileges. They should not be allowed to engage in public activities. They did so much evil. It is enough. Justice must be done.
Only then we can think about the secret collaborators. But it must be with love and understanding.

"Niedziela" 10/2006

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl