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December 13, 2019
Book Reviews

Macierewicz, the Missions Impossible Man

Antoni Macierewicz is probably the most demonized and defamed politician in the Polish Third Republic. He has been harassed by unending legal cases brought against him by the self-described ‘total’ opposition and by the far left. The reason? His steadfast patriotism, perseverance in serving Poland, loyalty to Christian values, and firm opposition to the colonization of Poland before and after 1989. The most ferocious attacks brought against him are due to the list of names of the communist secret security collaborators he created and for the Smolensk crash inquiry. He is one of the few statesmen in Poland for whom the wellbeing of the Motherland is always most important. His devotion to Poland is based on Fr. Piotr Skarga famous words: “[in service to our country] disregard your personal welfare”.

IX Vetting minimum

Shortly after the Round Table Talks, Antoni Macierewicz and his political companions gathered around Freedom and Solidarity movement [Polish: Wolni i Solidarni], presented on April 24, 1989, their position paper “On the elections to Lower and Upper Houses of the Parliament (Sejm and Senate) of the Polish People’s Republic” that reads: “The current electoral law agreed to at the Round Table Talks is the price for the legalization of independent trade unions and associations. This ordinance does not meet the nation’s expectations. (…) Therefore, it is our position that the independent local activists representing Catholic and independence minded associations should be proposing candidates for representatives and senators (…) who will pledge to work towards the goal of restoring free elections and by participating in the upcoming elections will not bring about moral legalization of the current system and ruling party.” Piotr Naimski asked a rhetorical question in the News broadcast on May 28, 1989: “why is the Citizens’ Committee renouncing the word independence on my behalf?

Macierewicz published in the June issue of “Voice” an interview he conducted with Jan Olszewski, under the meaningful title “Real Autocracy”, which seemed to also express his own positions. Olszewski said that “the basic issues had been agreed upon in advance, and the spectacular negotiations at the Round Table pertained only to secondary issues. (…) the government side had fully accomplished its demands: it obtained the right to appoint the office of the President of the Republic of Poland, to have (communist) majority of almost 2/3 in the Sejm and assign completely illusory powers to the free elected Senate”; and what was the most important to communists, “it practically kept the nomenclature system intact.”

In order to “change everything, so everything stays the same”, it was necessary to affix to the old nomenclature new members coming from the Solidarity Trade Union. It became evident that among those who endorsed the Round Table deal in Magdalenka, a new nomenclature cadre coming from Solidarity and people around Lech Walesa was being formed. They came from select part of the Solidarity union. The other part, centered around the Solidarity Working Group was still active, consisting of people from the former National Commission, who had negative attitude towards the Round Table talks. The leading role in this group played Jerzy Kropiwnicki and Marian Jurczyk. But – as Antoni put it – “some colleagues treated this initiative as a bidding tool with Walesa, and not as a readiness to create their own assemble. They lacked self-esteem and confidence. Walesa preponderated over them, so they assumed that at most they could negotiate with him. Kropiwnicki, who was a skilled negotiator was able to establish his own personal position, but he could not affect the stance of this group, the same was with Rulewski. Besides, the name itself – the Working Group – assumed in advance that this was just a discussion and preparatory idea. As a result, the members of this Group began to battle to get the best positions for themselves in the new structures. Solidarity Trade Union was reactivated, but on the basis of the Round Table, therefore I decided that a new political party must be built, since Solidarity was captivated by political process of the Round Table talks. Thus, we created the Christian-National Union (Zjednoczenie Chrzescijansko-Narodowe, ZChN) based on two groups, one gathered around the ‘Voice’ and the other around the Freedom and Solidarity movement (WiS). On October 28, 1989, The Christian-National Union held its founding congress, and only 7 months later the Center Agreement party (Porozumienie Centrum) was formed, which in the first period positioned itself around Walesa, campaigning for him in the first free Polish presidential elections.

Antoni Dudek wrote in “Political History of Poland 1989–2015”, that The Christian-National Union was established from a number of organizations with a Christian and national-democratic orientation: “The most important were: the political clubs ‘Order and Freedom’ and ‘Freedom and Solidarity’, as well as the Catholic League of Academic Associations. The strongly nationalist ‘National Rebirth of Poland’ group also joined the Christian-National Union, but in February 1990 they seceded. Wiesław Chrzanowski was elected the President of the Board of The Christian-National Union, and Antoni Macierewicz and Marek Jurek became the Vice Presidents. In 1990, the party formed a caucus in the Sejm – within the Civic Parliamentary Club (Obywatelski Klub Parlamentarny, OKP) – with three deputies and three senators.” The deputies were Jan Łopuszański, Stefan Niesiołowski and Marek Jurek, who quickly began to distinguish themselves as radicals in comparison with other Civic Parliamentary Club (OKP) deputies.

At that time, the Workers’ Defense Committee’s (Komitet Obrony Robotnikow, KOR) left wing supported reforms of the Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government, including ‘economic shock therapy’ enacted by Deputy Prime Minister Leszek Balcerowicz, but in fact dictated by the ultraliberal interest groups in the West, with the approval of Lech Walesa. However, very quickly Walesa prudently changed his stance, because it appeared that a new presidential election was approaching, since General Jaruzelski’s term was going to be shortened. This took place, and on October 2 the Speaker of the Sejm ordered the presidential election to be held on November 25. Walesa seemed to be a natural candidate for this position. In March 1990, he deliberately spoke about the end of his support for the government that had not enjoyed popular support. He appointed Zdzisław Najder as chairman of the Citizens’ Committee and dismissed Henryk Wujec as the secretary of OKP. Meantime, Tadeusz Mazowiecki was designated as a presidential candidate by supporters of the widely unpopular reforms of his government, which did not look promising for his chances to win.

In October, an opposition Electoral Committee for Lech Walesa was formed, including, among others, Mieczysław Hniedziewicz, Jan Olszewski and Wiesław Chrzanowski, activists of the two largest parties supporting his candidacy, i.e. the Center Agreement and Christian-National Union. The Center Agreement’s (PC) Leader Jarosław Kaczyński personally supported Walesa’s candidacy. ”What options did I have – he would ask rhetorically several years later – to break through with our stimulation program? I had no chance of support from the Church, neither Solidarity, nor intellectual circles. Only Walesa provided us a chance to implement our program.”

On December 9, 1990, Lech Walesa won the presidential election in the second round. 20 days later, he appointed Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki from the Liberal Democratic Congress (Kongres Liberalno-Demokratyczny, KLD), whose government continued liberal policies of the previous administration, with Balcerowicz as deputy Prime Minister.

This government’s sole support was President Walesa. An important role in this government had been assigned to Walesa loyalist, head of the State Security Office (Urzad Ochrony Panstwa, UOP), established in 1990, based on vetted officers of the abolished Security Service (Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, SB), Andrzej Milczanowski. He prepared a confidential list of 7 thousand candidates for deputies and senators, all collaborators of the former Security Office (Urzad Bezpieczenstwa, UB of the Ministry of Public Security) and latter Security Service (SB of the Ministry of Internal Affairs). This was not the first agent verification hidden from the public. Under the Mazowiecki government, a four-member commission consisting of three historians and deputy, Adam Michnik, was allowed into the secret archives. For three months they were going through the personnel files of the Ministry of the Interior, breaking all the rules of access to the secret files, and leaving practically no documentation behind. This was the best proof that everything was possible for the main accomplices of the Round Table.

The Christian-National Union (ZChN) was the first political party that expressed clear objection to the changes introduced as a result of the Round Table, while the Center Agreement (PC) was the backbone of Walesa’s election campaign. In fact, ZChN also supported Walesa, but without a direct contact with him. When Walesa finally won the election, Antoni Macierewicz joined the President’s advisory committee, alongside Olszewski, Kurowski, Włodarczyk and Winiecki. Jarosław and Lech Kaczyński became ministers in the President’s office. The period of Macierewicz’s sitting on the advisory committee admittedly introduced him to the circle of decision-makers in the state, but it must be said that the committee itself was a body in name only, without any major impact on Walesa’s policy. Simply put, the President’s interests boiled down to maintaining good relations with the communists, and when the Janajev coup broke out in Moscow between 19 and 21 August 1991, in an attempt to overthrow Gorbachev, scrap perestroika, and return to the old communist system, Walesa immediately sought help from Kiszczak. The coup failed, as we know, Boris Yeltsin successfully defeated it.

The first free parliamentary elections, postponed by Walesa from spring to fall, were held on October 27, 1991 with a very low turnout of 43.3 percent – and no wonder, because the Polish people had lost confidence in so-called democracy controlled by leftist circles, conducive to communists. Two years after the breakthrough associated with the establishment of the Mazowiecki’s government the Poles felt disappointed.

On October 27, 9 election committees obtained more than 10 seats in Sejm, while as many as 14 got a smaller number of deputies. It was an extremely fragmented parliament and, importantly, the most seats were held by the beneficiaries of the Round Table agreement, i.e. the Democratic Union (Unia Demokratyczna, UD) of the secular left – 62 seats, and post-communists associated with the Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD) – 60 seats. The other largest groups had the following number of deputies: Confederation of Independent Poland (Konfederacja Polski Niepodleglej, KPN) – 51, Electoral Catholic Action, i.e. ZChN – 50, Civic Alliance Center – 44. The government was formed by Prime Minister, Jan Olszewski, on December 23, after numerous negotiations and maneuvers, mainly between Jarosław Kaczyński and Lech Walesa. It was a minority and heterogeneous government; only a few ministers were directly associated with the Prime Minister. One of them was Antoni Macierewicz, Minister of the Interior, whose department was even more critical at the time than today.

A few days earlier, during the hearing at the Sejm committee, a prophetic scene took place, remembered by Marcin Gugulski, soon to be the Olszewski’s government spokesperson: “There was a hearing of the candidate for the Minister of the Interior before the commission headed by Lech Kaczyński. I was a parliamentary reporter for various press titles. At one point, the light bulb burst with a terrible bang and everyone was terrified, only Lech Kaczyński and Antoni Macierewicz sat still, did not even blink. It was beautiful and so symbolic for future events.

Jan Parys, appointed the minister of National Defense, said that “Prime Minister Jan Olszewski was aware of the difficult situation of his government and the problems with the not entirely dependable Council of Ministers. So, he created a small team that consisted of Włodarczyk, Najder, Macierewicz and me (Paris). The day before the meetings of the Council of Ministers, we would meet in this group, and without a protocol, we would discuss our modus operandi. The prime minister not only trusted Antoni, but also supported his activities, including the lustration campaign planned essentially from the beginning of this government’s operation.

But the biggest problem of this government, from the beginning, was not its minority character, but relations with President Walesa. He wanted to have a direct influence on the so-called presidential departments, i.e. the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense. Krzysztof Skubiszewski who continued as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, bowed to the President’s demands. On the other hand, the policies implemented by the first civil Defense Minister, Jan Parys, especially dealing with personnel, i.e. removing the old post-communist staff, did not appeal to Walesa, and displeased even more the new head of Presidential Office, Mieczysław Wachowski. It was a dispute that in the first months ignited the government’s relations with the President, but it also showed that forces opposed to the new government breaking with the Round Table agreement were since that time centered around President Walesa. These forces led to Minister Parys resignation on May 18. Soon after, the whole government was going to follow.

The main policy objectives of the Olszewski government consisted of initiating efforts leading to Poland’s accession to the EEC and NATO; bringing the budget to balance; achieving economic growth; saving the agriculture; and conducting lustration and decommunization in the state institutions. Antoni Macierewicz ran from the ZChN list in the parliamentary election and as a deputy became a member of the parliamentary defense committee.

After less than two months he joined the government as a minister, and Mariusz Marasek, a member of the ZChN from the Skierniewice-Płock region, took his place on the parliamentary committee. Due to his acquaintance with Andrzej Zalewski, an attorney, who became Macierewicz deputy at the Ministry of the Interior, Mariusz Marasek also entered the ministry as an advisor and took part in work on the lustration act. But the basis for the smooth functioning of the ministry was close cooperation of two friends, who from the late 1960s proved themselves in joint action in scouting, and then in the underground opposition, i.e. Antoni Macierewicz and Piotr Naimski, who this time became an assistant and head of the Office for State Protection (Urzad Ochrony Panstwa, UOP). This fact was emphasized by Piotr Woyciechowski, who was appointed as advisor to the minister on January 7. He was only 26 years old then, previously active in the underground structures of Solidarity, and in 1991 he was an assistant on the advisory committee to President Walesa, dealing with the issues of Ministry of National Defense and Ministry of the Interior and cooperating with Antoni Macierewicz in this work. Piotr Woyciechowski recalled his first days at the ministry and his further work:

“The task entrusted to me by the minister was to investigate the activities of the organizational unit subordinated to him in the structure of the Ministry of the Interior and operating under the name of the Inspectorate for Supervision and Control (Inspektorat Nadzoru I Kontroli) formed from the former Chief Inspectorate of the Minister (Glowny Inspektorat Ministra), still functioning in the times of the communist Security Service, SB. This unit had very interesting materials about the operational activity of the Security Service, about secret collaborators of the SB, as well as the detailed structure of the Ministry of the Interior of the Polish People’s Republic (PRL). At the beginning I got a room next to the director of this unit, former colonel of the Security Service, Zbigniew Chwaliński (by the way, a very important figure for the SB, which our predecessors had underestimated). At the beginning of February, Minister Macierewicz assigned us new tasks consisting of preparing for the implementation of the lustration laws composed in the Ministry of Interior. He authorized me to form a new team for this purpose – the Studies Department (Wydzial Studiow), the concept of which I had prepared earlier. The purpose of the lustration campaign was not only to eliminate agents, but above all to create a clerical corps that would be credible and independent of the SB, not burdened by the past and not connected by family ties to the UB and SB. The final decision to hire a candidate for the Department was made after a personal conversation with Minister Macierewicz. The tasks were very clearly defined – to identify the archival resources and the SB operational record system, learn all internal regulations, read and analyze the content of operational materials of secret collaborators and operational cases. We had unprecedented, until that time, authority. It must be disclosed that overcoming the resistance of the old staff would not had been possible without the determination of Minister Macierewicz himself. He strictly enforced the directives addressed to his subordinate apparatus. He was consistent and, if necessary, even brutal. It was extremely important that he cooperated with Piotr Naimski, then the head of the Office for State Protection (UOP), who managed the intelligence services. Without this tandem, our work in this scope and with such effect would not be possible.”

Piotr Woyciechowski’s team worked in the shadow of top politics and was to be used only when the ministry adopted the lustration laws. Antoni Macierewicz raised the issue of lustration many times, first in his election program, then during his hearings by parliamentary committees before his appointment as minister, and as he became the head of the Ministry of the Interior, dozens of deputies urged him to start the lustration process immediately.

The projects prepared at the ministry were to consist of introducing three solutions, Macierewicz explained emphatically to the authors of the book “June’s Jab”, Jacek Kurski and Piotr Semka, in 1993: “First there was to be a resolution of the Sejm, a kind of appeal to deputies, senators and senior officials who were associated with the SB, that they should resign from their posts within three months,” then the act on the protection of state secrets, which would allow “all state officials to be vetted by a commission specially created for this purpose by the Prime Minister” and finally – the decommunization act. These laws provided for an appeal procedure. The work was consulted with Prime Minister Olszewski.

Antoni Macierewicz met Jan Olszewski three times a week: on Tuesday at a government meeting, on Friday face to face, and later again in an extended group inclusive of Najder, Parys and Włodarczyk. “I don’t remember Jan questioning any of my actions,” Macierewicz recalled. “- A good example is the matter of information brought by the head of counterintelligence, Konstanty Miodowicz, that the Russian side was planning to use blackmail against Walesa during negotiations on the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Poland, due to their knowledge of his cooperation with the SB. I warned Walesa about this Russian plan, but he kept claiming that he did not collaborate with SB. Starting in February I had several talks with Walesa at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior and the President’s palace, Belvedere, regarding materials concerning his contacts with the SB. But the purpose of our meetings was not to adjudicate whether he was an agent or not. We discussed how to solve the problem of lustration. We became close, so I tried to convince him that admitting the facts was inevitable. He agreed that lustration was necessary, but he suggested that it should apply only to those who became agents under martial law, because, he argued, when someone started working with the SB during the years of Solidarity movement, there was no doubt whose side they were on. He argued to me that the scale of cooperation with SB was broad, that people like Mazowiecki, Stomma, Moczulski also cooperated, among many others. He knew a lot about it, although he did not disclose his sources of information. But above all, he treated these talks as an opportunity to learn what we knew exactly about his cooperation with SB and what we intended to do about it. In my opinion, Wachowski had his people among former archivists and had at his disposal information about our work, although, I suppose, to a limited extent. The full materials were known in our close circle, i.e. in addition to me: Prime Minister, Piotr Naimski, Deputy Minister A. Zalewski, and the head and his deputy of the Studies Department (Wydzial Studiow). I informed the Prime Minister directly about my talks with Walesa. On the other hand, the rest of the Studies Department employees could have had only a rudimentary knowledge of the subject, and these young people treated with utmost honor the adopted rules of strict discipline not to disclose any information about their work to the outside.”

Indeed, the work at the Ministry of the Interior of a 19-person team was kept top secret until May 28, when Janusz Korwin-Mikke suddenly submitted a resolution in Sejm to conduct a lustration of the most important people in the country. This resolution unexpectedly received the support of the majority because its opponents boycotted the vote, hoping that it would not pass due to the lack of a quorum. Mariusz Marasek reported: “The text of the parliamentary lustration resolution, which was submitted by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, had many shortcomings, most of all the lack of an appeal procedure, so when the act was voted on, Macierewicz asked me: ‘what are we going to do with it?’ We were aware of its weaknesses, but we thought it was better to accept it and improve it later by the way of modification process than to outright reject it.” The truth is that Macierewicz had prepared his own resolution, which was to be tabled by one of the ZChN deputies, but Korwin’s initiative was more convenient for the Ministry of the Interior because it was coming from outside the government. One thing is certain, lustration had to be decided on during that session of the Sejm, because Walesa’s announcement of dismissal of Prime Minister Olszewski and the request for dissolution from the Freedom Union (Unia Wolnosci, UW) and KLD all but ensured the collapse of the government.

During the vote on the resolution, Macierewicz abstained because, as he said in 1993, he did not want any semblance that he was exerting pressure or that he was pushing something. The resolution ordered the interior minister to disclose, by June 6, information about UB and SB collaborators among deputies, senators, ministers, provincial governors, judges and prosecutors. It was only in the evening of that day that the Prime Minister could speak by phone with Minister Macierewicz about this sudden resolution and, as he said in an interview enclosed in the book published in August 1992 entitled “Olszewski – the interrupted opening,” only then he realized what the government was facing: “The deputies knew that the government was preparing a lustration bill, they were probably waiting for it, but it was already known that this government would not last much longer. Thus, they were aware that if the government collapses, along with it the idea of lustration would go deep into oblivion, and that at least some actions could therefore be accelerated through this resolution [proposed by Korwin-Mikke].”

Jan Parys emphasized that “lustration was considered as crucial by this government. Olszewski believed that it was necessary to clean up the political life and to free the state from the risk of top officials being dependent on secret and external factors. Together with Antoni, he assumed that after the announcement of this list, several dozen people (out of over 500 people sitting in the Sejm and Senate), would leave the political life by themselves, that the shame mechanism would work. They thought that in the name of the good of the country, these people would not fight and leave. It turned out to be the opposite, because these dozens of people were not only creating commotion, but most of the Sejm was standing in their defense, and in this sense both Jan Olszewski and Antoni had psychologically misunderstood the Polish intelligence, their fellow parliamentarians. Most looked at the implementation of the lustration law as if Antoni, through his legitimate activities, contributed to the creation of a conflict situation, as a result of which the vote of no confidence was used to bring down the government. But the conflict with the President, who put forward the request to dismiss the government, started even before the lustration resolution, in connection with the dispute over the Polish-Russian treaty and the provision of Russian enclaves in Poland, which Olszewski and Macierewicz opposed. This was the reason for Walesa’s frontal attack on government, which sent a famous dispatch to him to Moscow before signing an agreement to withdraw Russian troops from Poland. This dispatch prohibited Walesa from signing an agreement that would hand over the former Soviet bases in Poland to Russian “entrepreneurs” from the GRU and KGB, which Yeltsin demanded.”

The agreement included also a provision that Poland would build settlements in the Kaliningrad Region for Russian officers evacuated from bases in Poland. Walesa agreed to this in secret talks with Yeltsin, but Olszewski’s government public action prevented signing of this agreement. Walesa returned furious and at the airport stated that he did not want to cooperate with this government anymore and sent a letter to the Sejm in this matter. All this happened before the Sejm’s session on lustration and predetermined the fate of this government. In such situation, the lustration resolution was inevitable.

It can be debated whether Antoni as the head of the Interior Ministry implemented this resolution with sufficient precision, but it was not he who prepared it. He was under the pressure of its short deadline and ambiguous language. He was confronted with cold and hard facts, which were brought on by the Sejm decision,” explained Jan Parys.

It is hard to disagree with the statement that the implementation of the lustration resolution was not the main reason for Walesa’s request to dissolve the government, because his decision was made earlier, on June 3. Walesa appointed the young deputy, PSL president, Waldemar Pawlak, as the Prime Minister. The dismissal of Olszewski’s government was only a technical consequence of this decision.

At that time Antoni’s loved ones were terrorized; his wife received calls threatening herself and their daughter Ola. These threats were so serious that the special unit “Grom” commanded by Sławomir Petelicki was assigned to protect the minister and his immediate family. Anyway, it is worth mentioning a significant fact from the beginning of his work with the Interior Ministry: he was shown his … double, which he perceived as a real threat.

The question arises, who was at that time in a more dramatic and difficult situation, Walesa or Macierewicz? The [political opponents] goal to overthrow the myth of brave and spotless leaders was not just about the President, it was about several important people in the public service from the Solidarity circles. The archives’ records showed that Wiesław Chrzanowski – Speaker of the Sejm and ZChN leader, and Leszek Moczulski – KPN leader were also secret collaborators. There were also materials indicating Bronisław Geremek’s cooperation. And although the absolute majority of the disclosed agents were people from Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej, SLD), including the entire top of this party with chairman W. Cimoszewicz, the weight of these three leaders names on the right was serious. It required resilience and moral strength to recognize that truth was always more important than political faction, or political and even physical pressure. Or maybe the thinking was that if the public opinion would find the truth, the Olszewski’s government would be saved? Well, that would be a naive contemplation.

Antoni Macierewicz explained it later this way: “I was acutely aware: if there were no lustration, the result of the vote of no confidence would be the same. We did not face an alternative of either lustration or keeping the government. We had quite different decision facing us: to leave with or without lustration. I conducted talks with Dariusz Wójcik from KPN, the deputy speaker of the Sejm, I showed him the Moczulski’s file and I had no illusions that they would vote against our government regardless of Moczulski’s case. I also showed the file to Chrzanowski when he returned from Australia. I went to meet him at the Okęcie airport and then we went to his home, I showed him the files, and then we had a conversation lasting several hours on how to solve this problem. I thought it was my obligation to offer him some kind of help, just like to Walesa before.” Antoni in an interview in 1993 confessed that what he had to say to Chrzanowski at that time was one of his greatest dramas and agony he had to go through.

In 2019, he still thinks about it: “For years, Chrzanowski’s case was my biggest, I could say terrible, psychological and moral problem. In 1992, Piotr Naimski and Piotr Woyciechowski had no doubt about this, they believed that the facts were obvious and there was nothing to discuss. However, I was not clear whether I was right to disclose his name. For me it was difficult also for personal reasons, we had a similar way of looking at ideological and political issues, we had known each other for years, we cooperated on many matters, but there were also very special relationships concerning Mr. Chrzanowski and my Father, not only because they both were in the Labor Party (Stronnictwo Pracy, SP), but also because they had the same liaison officer, Mrs. Cecylia Weker. She was my father’s student and assistant, but also his superior in the underground Labor Party and played an important role in the life of our family. It was she who in 1946 led Chrzanowski when he tried to escape from communist Poland through a contact in Cieszyn. After a few days it turned out that the contact was compromised, and they returned to Warsaw. The memory of my Father was extremely important to me, and this story was indirectly related to him. All these emotional issues from the past further complicated the Chrzanowski case for me so much that every time he spoke in the media, and he did it very harshly, condemning me, I had feelings that maybe I had done him harm by revealing these documents about him. I thought so until Mr. Cenckiewicz published an article in 2015 about his relationship with the SB Studies Office, namely Colonel Aleksander Makowski. Chrzanowski gave him his last report on the Polish diplomat in France in the autumn of 1989, which meant his cooperation with the SB continued during the Mazowiecki’s administration. Only then I stopped blaming myself.”

This was quite typical for Antoni Macierewicz. On the one hand, firmness and uncompromising nature, on the other, in-depth reflection inclusive of personal accents.

Antoni Macierewicz’s sister, Barbara, recalled that Chrzanowski’s story had been reminisced many times over in the immediate family, in the presence of their mother. Sławomir Cenckiewicz in the extensive study “From ‘Emil ‘to ‘Pertex.’ Wiesław Chrzanowski (1923–2012) in the Secret Security (SB) files” showed how extensive Chrzanowski’s cooperation with the SB was. It lasted intermittently from the 1940s. In the 2016 speech Prof. Cenckiewicz characterized the former president of the ZChN: “Chrzanowski should be considered a tragic figure. He wanted to be active, but it fell on the most expansive phase of the communist terror machinery, which was Stalinism. It permanently broke his spine. It made him a dysfunctional politician because he was self-limiting even after 1989. If he did not have these early terrible experiences, then, in the conditions of lesser repressions after 1954, he would have endured. His was destroyed by his remembrance of what the UB could do to a man. And he ultimately lost to this memory in June 1992, when Minister Macierewicz correctly placed him on the so-called “Ministry of Internal Affairs Agent Resources” list. Then the final political collapse of Chrzanowski and his ZChN formation began, when by dumping Macierewicz, Walerych and Maraska, they thought that the problem of “Cooperator” (Spoldzielca, one of the pseudonyms of Chrzanowski) would be put behind.

Years later, Prime Minister Jan Olszewski summed up Macierewicz’s work as a minister: “Antoni is really a man for impossible missions, in 1991 I could not find anyone else to be the head of the Interior Ministry. If we were to carry out the lustration act, a key issue for the structures and texture of the state, it could only have been done with him. We were unable to finish it because my government’s collapse had been successfully accelerated. It would look different if we had some time. We considered the Ministry of the Interior to some extent even more important than the Ministry of National Defense. Army was a more complex, complicated and multifaceted issue. In everyday life, the communist civil service seemed to pose the greatest threat. We did not fully apprehend the clout of the communist military secret services at the time.”

Krzysztof Wyszkowski assessed Macierewicz’s role in the Olszewski government as the Minister of the Interior: “It is doubtful that Jan Olszewski without Antoni would have decided on such a radical approach to the Moscow betrayal, that is, the creation of Russian companies based on their retreating troops from Poland. It was a well-planned and prepared operation, with far-reaching geopolitical ramifications. It required a great deal of determination and daring to stand up against it. Knowing Olszewski, the Antoni’s stance with the Prime Minister (which could be compared to WWI heroes Sosnkowski and Piłsudski) meant that historical decisions could be made for Poland at that time. ”

Antoni Macierewicz, a man of exceptionally strong and resilient nature, took a step that would be of colossal significance to Poland. He wondered to the very end: “What would be better? To leave it in the shadow, as it had been done thus far, and let the country sink deeper, or pull the mess out and risk the communist retaliation? It was a decision about the future fate of Poland. I was aware of the opponents strength and the degree of risk.

Mariusz Marasek recalls: “I met with Macierewicz just before bringing the lustration materials to Sejm. We were aware that this was dangerous because of the top politicians on the list; some had hoped they would acknowledge the situation and step down under nation’s pressure. The doubts about this matter, however, appeared; for example, Andrzej Zalewski, then the deputy minister at the Ministry of the Interior expressed them. Minister Macierewicz, however, believed that nothing should be done with the list, like removing inconvenient names, without whom it would be easier for people to accept it, in particular Walesa, his ministers, and people like Moczulski or Chrzanowski. This, however, would appear to be cynical and instrumental, thus undermining the credibility of the entire undertaking.

Prime Minister Olszewski received Macierewicz’s list “on the same day as all other recipients, that is on June 4 in the morning. He opened it only a few hours later, when an envoy from the President brought Walesa’s statement questioning our lustration approach and stating that in December 1970, he signed some “3 or 4 documents”. This afternoon, Walesa sent a letter to Sejm, demanding the immediate dismissal of Prime Minister Olszewski and in the evening he arrived at the parliament along with his ministers to overlook the removal of the government.

The public opinion was not prepared for such a turn of events, despite the fact that media, which were almost 100 percent under the control of opponents of lustration, circulated hysterical accusations against Prime Minister Olszewski and Minister Macierewicz. The debate on the dismissal of the government began in the evening, and during the break the Prime Minister went to the public television station to give a short speech to the nation. At that time in the presidential parliamentary salon a meeting took place, immortalized in the film “Night shift”, where Walesa assembled a coalition to vote on Olszewski’s dismissal and designation of Waldemar Pawlak for new Prime Minister. Just before the vote, the Prime Minister gave a speech from the parliamentary podium, and after midnight the vote of no confidence was held. There were 273 voices supporting the resolution, among others UD, KLD, SLD, KPN and PSL, and 119 against it from ZChN, PC, People’s Agreement and Solidarity.

Prime Minister Olszewski stepped down despite the fact that the entire operation was carried out like a coup d’état. In his last two speeches he said that, “former associates of the communist political police pose a threat to the security of free Poland” and put forward a famous key question “To whom should Poland belong?” In his book “The Interrupted Opening” he stated that the coalition that was formed to overthrow his government represented “the common interest of the entire nomenclature and ‘round-table’ circles. This interest supported the existing system, which would be destroyed by the disclosure of files and the lustration process. After thorough lustration, this system would suffer such huge personal losses that there would be no possibility to maintain it. (…) It was a kind of a web, covering thousands of people, in various spheres of life, especially dense in the sensitive channels of the state apparatus.”

The overthrow of the Olszewski government shook a lot of people, some felt it very emotionally, taking hard the return of the old system in a new camouflage, system that was supposed to collapse in 1989. This dramatic evening is still frequently remembered at Antoni Macierewicz’s election meetings: “Some politicians on the right had long thought that Walesa was an independent politician, apparently with different priorities and way of conducting politics, but his goal was the same as theirs and therefore his cooperation with the SB should not be revealed. Some also argued that concealing this case could have saved the Olszewski government and therefore lustration. They had not noticed that this was a man completely politically demoralized and determined to keep the Round Table arrangement at its worst.

Years later, Jan Parys considered yet another hypothesis: “The Prime Minister could have called on the residents of Warsaw to come to the Sejm and rally in defense of the government; then perhaps the deputies would have voted differently, seeing tens of thousands of government supporters standing by the Sejm building. I express this opinion on the basis that numerous demonstrations in Olszewski and lustration support took place over the next year. We were aware that what we did enjoy wide public support. Nonetheless Jan Olszewski was not determined to use this card. He preferred to be a back-room politician rather than a rally leader, such was his personality. Unfortunately, Jan Olszewski was an idealist, he thought that our opponents, guided by the good of the state and Poland in general, would support our budget, which was to be voted on at the turn of June and July. But what they really represented was best shown in the movie ‘Night Shift’. They spoke in an obscene language and were only interested in taking over power, not what was good for the country.”

Piotr Woyciechowski stated that “Nowadays, after almost 30 years, I recognize that Janusz Korwin-Mikke resolution was a provocation directed against the Prime Minister Jan Olszewski’s government in order to overthrow it. The introduction of his lustration resolution to be debated by the Sejm, and then its adoption was a great surprise for us. To this day, we do not know the actual author of the draft of this resolution. We also do not know why the author(s) of this resolution omitted the military secret security agents, instead requesting only the disclosure of SB and UB informers.”

Woyciechowski adds: “We don’t know the answers to many questions. Many doubts have not been resolved to this day. It is true that Jan Olszewski’s government was a minority government. It is true that it had to drift on the choppy waters of the unstable parliamentary majority, but this drift could last for many more months. Antoni Macierewicz was obliged to carry out the provisions of the lustration resolution. This is obvious. His refusal to implement it or an attempt to torpedo it by the political faction, which had slogans of lustration and decommunization on their banners, would be unacceptable to the anti-communist electorate. It can be safely said that in such case the Olszewski’s government would have committed political self-destruction.

The questions mentioned above are important, but Woyciechowski forgot that while disclosure of the SB agents was real, because for several months thanks to Macierewicz he could work on it at the Ministry of Interior Studies Department, the military security files were completely inaccessible and no resolution would make possible their disclosure in a few days that Olszewski’s government had at its disposal. This was best demonstrated in the following years, when Macierewicz as the head of Sejm’s Verification Committee (Sejmowa Komisja Weryfikacyjna, SKW) and the Verification Commission in 2006/2007 needed many months to prepare the disclosure of agents registered by the Internal Military Service (Wojskowa Sluzba Wewnetrzna, WSW), Polish People Republic military intelligence and Military Information Services (Wojskowa Sluzba Informacyjna, WSI).

 

The above text is a fragment from the book (in Polish):

https://bialykruk.pl/ksiegarnia/ksiazki/macierewicz-czlowiek-do-zadan-niemozliwych#tabs-nav

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