Poland to Probe If Walesa's Communist-Era Agent Files Are Forged

Poland will investigate whether the documents allegedly showing that Lech Walesa worked with communist-era secret services were forged, as the country’s pro-democracy activist and former president claims.

The National Remembrance Institute, a government agency that tracks communist- and Nazi-era crimes, said last week it recovered batches of documents from the 1970s, including a declaration of collaboration signed by Walesa and receipts for receiving money by agent “Bolek.” Walesa, a former shipyard electrician who led Poland’s mass Solidarity movement that helped topple communism, has repeatedly said the evidence against him was forged.

“The prosecutor’s office has decided to launch an investigation into potential false attestation of documents about secret informant Bolek,” Lukasz Kaminski, who heads the institute, said at a news conference in Warsaw.

The National Remembrance Institute has come under fire for releasing scans of documents recovered from the widow of General Czeslaw Kiszczak, Poland’s last communist prime minister, without first thoroughly checking their authenticity. Ruling party officials, political opponents of Walesa, have used the documents to undermine the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s role in Poland’s peaceful switch to democracy as well as the 1989 revolution itself.

“Walesa may have been a puppet,” Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said last week. “This casts a shadow over the creation of an independent Poland and its political elites.”

Ruling party leader and co-founder Jaroslaw Kaczynski fell out with Walesa in 1991, when he was fired from his post as the then-president’s chief of staff. Walesa has for decades fought allegations that he secretly worked for the old regime’s security apparatus. A special court in 2000 ruled that Walesa, who at 72 has largely withdrawn from day-to-day politics but remains a respected elder statesman, never collaborated with government agents.

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