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2021 Celebration of Poland’s Independence Day in Texas, USA

How I Celebrated Poland’s Independence Day in America

 Zbigniew Wójcik

On November 11th, I attended an event organized by Professor Jim Mazurkiewicz, at Texas A&M University, to celebrate the one hundred third anniversary of Poland’s regained independence in 1918. The central part of this celebration was the excellent movie screening of “The Death of Captain Pilecki” presented at the Texas A&M Bush Conference Center [1]. I traveled to College Station with my wife. Earlier the same day, another prominent political event took place at A&M University: former Vice-President Pence gave a speech to honor Veterans’ Day. Many people attended the event along with the movie about Pilecki.

The making of an electrifying atmosphere at the event

Neil Bush, son of George H.W. Bush,  was one of the many distinguished guests who gave introductory speeches during the event. Mr. Bush said that his father conducted the peaceful transition of the Soviet Bloc countries into freedom and a free-market system. The Consul of Poland from Houston gave a concise history lesson about Poland regaining its independence after 123 years of the non-existence of our country.

Professor James Olson, a former high-ranking CIA officer for Europe during the Cold War, said that Pilecki’s mission was of intelligence nature. Prof. Olson highly admired the Poles for their active and ever-lasting fight for freedom, particularly glorifying Col. Ryszard Kuklinski for passing to the CIA the complete information about the advanced preparations of the Warsaw Pact for their planes of military aggression against the West. He said that only the Poles never gave up the fight for their freedom.

Professor Jim Mazurkiewicz prepared the audience for the movie stating that the Poles living in America never forgot about their country, Poland.

After the film screening, Marek Probosz talked about playing his star role of Captain Pilecki. He stated that he became the Captain for the time of filming the scenes. He provided very in-depth and sometimes almost philosophical responses when people from the audience asked him various questions. For example, one man from the audience said that after getting inside the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Captain Pilecki did not help Jews who were prisoners there. Quite the opposite, Probosz answered – Captain Pilecki helped all prisoners equally there, and after miraculously getting out, managed to tell about the atrocities that all prisoners there had been suffering.

All distinguished guests were present with their beloved wives, nicely dressed. I congratulated Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz for his success with the November 11th  event he organized at his A&M Texas University.

Comparing a few dangerous  intelligence missions

carried out by Poles during the Cold War

The movie showed that too many people knew of the captain’s military intelligence activity on Soviet Bloc territory, and his mission was destined to come to a tragic failure. Pilecki failed to withdraw at the right time as required, which was presented in the movie.

The CIA saved my wife and two children (see [2]) after my intelligence mission ended. There are always differences between the circumstances of the operations. The key factor is always the awareness of the enemy and whether the intelligence provided can destroy the enemy to the extent that the threat is no longer viable. Pilecki could not beat the Soviets using a pile of rifles presented in the movie. Kukliński prevented a surprise attack against the West by betraying the Warsaw Pact, but the Soviets still could harm him and his family. In my case [2], I realized that after over 30 years from the collapse of the Soviets the danger of retaliation is small.

My mission [2] was on the level of formulating and delivering strategic information. I did not steal the data as Kukliński did; the information I provided was based on my own conclusions. Kukliński worked in solitude as I did, whereas Pilecki worked with a team. The CIA saved Kukliński’s nearest family as it did my family. These three missions aimed for the freedom and independence of Poland and even in favor of other Central European countries under Soviet occupation. The U.S. or British intelligence carried out these missions, but the participants, the Poles, volunteered.

Torturing close family members after the intelligence activity

Leaving closest family to the mercy of the enemy or as hostages was common though not the most critical issue in all three intelligence missions. Kukliński’s two sons passed away under strange, unexplained circumstances within a brief time after they all escaped to the USA, though his primary intelligence mission fully succeeded. Wójcik’s grandmother was dying for about one year in horrible pain under Kiszczak’s care [2]  (Czesław Kiszczak was the Chief of communist security in Poland under Soviet occupation). I am Wójcik, and I received the message of the situation concerning my grandmother from two Polish-speaking Soviet spies in Kansas when I was communicating with the CIA in 1986/87. I realized the Soviet spies told me the truth about my family’s torture. Still, they lied when they told me that when I would come back to Poland, my grandmother would be transferred to a government hospital in Warsaw to recover from her illness. Pilecki’s wife was allowed to complain to her husband about her and his children’s destiny after he will be shot dead. She could speak to her husband about this before his execution, and then further information stopped. I realized the seriousness of the possible consequences of my collaborations with the CIA only after it was too late. Freedom and independence are not easy despite the support of potent intelligence agencies.

References:

[1]. https://agrilifetoday.tamu.edu/2021/10/20/heroic-sacrifice-for-freedom/

[2]. Zbigniew Wojcik, “Slaying the Soviet Beast. A True Story about How the Cold War was Won. What Next,” 2019, Liberty Hill.

 

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