NOTICE OF INTENT TO SUE
Acting on our own behalf we request that:
I. a fragment of the IPN's publication by Slawomir Cenckiewicz entitled Pomorze Gdanskie i Kujawy [in:] Stan wojenny w Polsce 1981-1983 be removed from the Web site http://www.ipn.gov.pl;
II. the following statement be made: The Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (IPN) apologizes to Mariusz Urban, Krzysztof Kaletowski, Marcin Sienkowski, Karol Doerffer, Miroslaw Miklowski, Boguslaw Zbijewski, Piotr Budzinski, Wlodzimierz Heese, Wiktor Hajduk for untrue expressions infringing their personal interest which are contained in a fragment of the IPN's publication by Slawomir Cenckiewicz entitled "Pomorze Gdanskie i Kujawy" [in:] "Stan wojenny w Polsce 1981-1983", published on the Web site http://www.ipn.gov.pl
III. the sum of PLN 10 000 (ten thousand zloty) be paid for the benefit of the Child Health Center in Warsaw within 30 days of receipt of this notice at the latest on pain of the case being filed to court.
G r o u n d s
The Web site of the Institute of National Remembrance - Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation [Instytut Pamieci Narodowej - Komisja Scigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu (IPN)] was updated on December 10, 2002 with fragments of a publication of the Institute of National Remembrance entitled Stan wojenny w Polsce 1981-1983 [Martial Law in Poland 1981-1983] where a text by an IPN employee, S. Cenckiewicz entitled Pomorze Gdanskie i Kujawy [Pomorze Gdanskie and Kujawy] (announced in the introduction as Stan wojenny na Pomorzu Gdanskim i Kujawach [Martial Law in Pomorze Gdanskie and Kujawy]) was published. The publication contains false statements relating to the Independent Political Group [Niezalezna Grupa Polityczna (NGP)] and the National Movement [Ruch Narodowy] which infringe upon our personal interest (http://www.ipn.gov.pl/stan_wojenny_gdansk.html - reference is made to the text under that link as of March 28, 2003).
We appear in this case as individuals who in June and August 1983 were charged with committing the offence under Art. 278 § 1 & 2 of the Penal Code of belonging to the Independent Political Group and leading the National Movement (in December 1983 in two cases the charge was replaced by the offence under Art. 278 § 1 of the Penal Code of belonging to the Independent Political Group and the National Movement). In this case we appear jointly irrespective of current mutual relations. Wojciech Kloc and Marek Finc do not appear.
Discredited are all the persons filing this Notice. Our names as activists of the Independent Political Group, the National Movement, members of its leadership were published multiple times in the publications of Independent Political Group and the National Movement which were printed in thousands of copies. They also appeared in other publications, and following the amnesty, in copies of procedural writs which we distributed.
In the text in question the Institute of National Remembrance provides untrue information that the Independent Political Group was formed in 1978 on the initiative of Department No III of the Provincial Headquarters of the Peoples' Police in Gdansk and that the Secret Police had at least three secret collaborators in the Independent Political Group's Leadership and the Institute presents the 1983 arrest of the National Movement activists in a discreditable way diminishing the scope of repression and insinuating that it was simulated by the security agencies.
It is obvious that the burden to prove the charges is with the party that makes and publicizes them. The IPN has not done so. Below, we present the basic aspects of this matter.
The first public appearance defining us in political terms was on January 19, 1977. The formation of the Independent Political Group was a consequence of the open letter to the Primate of Poland of that date and a following letter of April 1977. It was also a consequence of the establishment of an opposition center operating since 1973 and was related to the formation of the anti-communist opposition in the Wybrzeze Region in the early seventies. Hence, it is not true that the Independent Political Group was established by security agencies inspiration in 1978. Furthermore, the political entity that, according to IPN, NGP had been established to contradict was formed one and a half a year later, in 1979.
The IPN publication is a dangerous attack against the past which is important for contemporary history. It is targeted not only against us but generally against the ethos of the beginnings of the anticommunist opposition, against the past of the people who lived, grew up and formed themselves side by side. They differed in terms of ideology, reference to historic traditions, geopolitics and current politics. They became opponents, however, they were motivated by higher values. The IPN wants to deprive next generations of that past, to impoverish the historical truth and reduce political struggle to a level of police provocation.
According to IPN there were only two orientations in politics at that time: the governing communist system and the "antisocialist opposition", and a superimposed provocation as a method of war. In such a concept any actions different from or non compliant with those of the "antisocialist opposition" are to be identified with the opposing side. It is untrue to present the political situation at that time as bipolar.
When stating that at least three unidentified members of the NGP Leadership were secret collaborators the IPN actually brings that charge against each one of us. The term "NGP Leadership" (although such a formula did not exist) which is used by the IPN refers also to the activists repressed in 1983. Not only each of us can say for himself that he was not a secret collaborator. Based on many years of acquaintance, the experience of working and fighting side by side we can say that none of the NGP and National Movement activist was a secret collaborator.
The June 9, and July 1, 1983 detentions in the National Movement case were made in several cities with the charge of participation and performing leadership functions in a secret association. The authorities subsequently changed the interpretation of the nature of the NGP and the National Movement, beginning with a secret organization the existence of which was discovered by the Secret Police as late as in June 1983; the charge of participating in an association whose existence, political system and activity were to remain secret to State agencies (made by the District Public Prosecutor's Office in Gdansk and then repeated by the District Court in Gdansk upholding the detention); and the modification made by the Provincial Court that: certain manifestations of activity [...] could be or were known to the State agencies, however the actual purpose and political system of the association was not known and to end with the enigmatic expression of the Ministry of Justice that in this case at least the association's political system was a secret.
Art. 278 of the Penal Code was described by the Secret Police as "operational" to preparing an anti-state activity charge and other charges. In fact the case related to the open, unregistered activity of an anticommunist and anti-Solidarity nature carried out by the NGP and by the National Movement later. In their statements the arrested emphasized the open and public nature of the conducted activity and referred to the state of higher necessity which arose from ideological principles and political standpoint of the National Movement.
The investigation was conducted in two directions including the alleged preparations to take over power in Poland with outside help. Reference to the historical pro-Russian orientation in Polish politics and its application in the form of non-communist pro-Soviet orientation was perceived as a threat to the Communist Party's rule in Poland. There is a contradiction already between that thread of the investigations conducted at that time and the current charge that our activity was initiated by the Provincial Headquarters of the Peoples' Police and that there were three secret collaborators allegedly operating in the leadership.
The IPN reduces the issue of repressions related to the 1983 arrests to imprisonment in June and July of that year, which is not true. In late July 1983 we were only released from detention on the basis of the Amnesty Act. And the IPN provides untrue information that it was then that amnesty was applied to us which actually took place as late as in 1984, and in part only. On August 8, 1983 the Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Gdansk decided to exclude from the case covered by the amnesty materials related to the printing of publications of the illegal associations "NGP" and "National Movement" [...] Materials which have been excluded in such a way should be entered under a new DS register number. [...] As the actions of which the persons against whom charges in case No. Ds 21/83 have been made are subject to amnesty, the proceeding against them should be closed in the manner stipulated in the Act. [...]. For those reasons material related to the printing of publications of the illegal associations "NGP" and "National Movement" have had to be excluded for separate proceedings.
When we had been released from custody further actions of the Secret Police against us were continued. Inter alia, in December 1983 they attempted to interrogate the suspects as "witnesses" and in January 1984 they were actually interrogated. Thus, the institution of a witness was abused against persons who were suspects in the given case in order to enforce confirmation that the prohibited activity was continued notwithstanding the release from detention and in order to search for the National Movement's printing facilities. The investigation in the case of the printing of publications of the illegal associations "NGP" and "National Movement" has not been closed to date. Should any further court proceedings be conducted, a presentation of the preserved NGP and National Movement printing machines will be an item of evidence to show that the charge that the NGP was established on the initiative of any kind of special services is preposterous.
On December 31, 1983 the Provincial Prosecutor's Office sent a motion for discontinuing the proceedings in the case (eleven names were listed) pursuant to the amnesty and for ruling that the questioned items of material evidence should be forfeited. In the minutes of the District Court's session held on February 17, 1984 (case ref. No. IV Ko 4/84) with regard to the application of amnesty it was written: The suspects [all the suspects are named] state and it is to be included in the minutes that they refuse to sign the statement reading as Art. 7 item 1 of the Amnesty Act. The wording of the statement which was refused to be signed was the following: I accept that in the event that in the period ending December 31, 1985 I deliberately commit a similar offence for which the penalty of imprisonment will be imposed, the decision on granting the amnesty to me will be quashed, criminal proceedings will be instituted, the penalties which have been remitted or mitigated will be carried out fully or partially, the unpaid court fees and costs will be collected. The court also ruled that the items of material evidence would be forfeited although they had nothing in common with any materials typical of a secret organization.
In such a way materials of considerable value (gathered since 1971) were lost: individual books and studies published in Poland and abroad, tapes with lectures, bibliographical sheets, collections of registered and unregistered publications, collections of press cuttings, typescripts, manuscripts, private correspondence including correspondence of unique historical value, and end even letters with affixed martial law censorship seals. It was also decided that all the NGP and National Movement publications (including works by R. Dmowski, Rev. St. Bartczak, Rev. J. Warszawski SI) should be forfeited even though the issue of the publishers was excluded for separate proceedings.
In the case of the National Movement the court infringed the rights in personam of the suspects/accused to express their free will not to agree to the application of amnesty but to request that the case should be considered in content-related terms. By applying amnesty against such will, thus deciding of the interested parties' fault, the Court made conclusions which were contradictory to the facts of the case. The Minister of Justice refused to file extraordinary appeal.
In this case we do not raise the issue of other repressions. Should court proceedings be initiated in the case, the required motions will be filed both with respect to earlier and later repressive actions. We will also take position with respect to other circumstances accompanying the arrest.
The IPN states that in the studies of the Ministry of Internal Affairs the Independent Political Group is not mentioned as an antisocialist group or it is noted that it should not be included as such. When qualifying the NGP and the National Movement other aspects should be considered. When during the martial law a larger or smaller group or a single opposition activist were arrested, information about it was released in the opposition and official mass media. Such a fact was also publicized by international agencies. When the Secret Police made numerous detentions in several cities on June 9, 1983 no information about it was published by the mass media at that time or later. It was not published even when information on the planned interrogations of several hundred people in connection with the National Movement case was reaching the prison on Kurkowa Street in Gdansk through Solidarity channels. Thus, the method of "silencing to death" was employed consistently. The authorities also lacked an interpretation of the activity of NGP and the National Movement for their internal apparatus which was fed with the concept of bipolar political division.
So as to know that we were an opposition against the so called democratic opposition it is enough to review the publications of the NGP and the National Movement which were distributed on a mass scale from 1978, often in the form of leaflets and posted in public places. The term "democratic opposition" had a negative connotation because of its left-wing origin. It is also a fact that during the martial law we publicly exposed Secret Police agents (vide: Information on "Przeglad Gdanski"). Therefore, access to important studies of the secret services relating to actions against the NGP and the National Movement would be needed.
The manner in which the IPN's material about us has been prepared shows that it is necessary to check the author's credibility, his professional preparation, political background and possibly other links which may be important in that case. Also the criteria and reasons which were followed when employing that person should be checked.
We hope that this matter will contribute not only to the defending of our good name. We are convinced that our claim will contribute to the fact that the truth about the past should be a valuable historical experience for the next generations.