Official: Documents Show Walesa Collaborated With Communist Regime

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -
FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2015 file photo Poland's former president and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa talks with The Associated Press in Warsaw, Poland. The head of Poland's National Remembrance Institute said Thursday Feb. 18, 2016 that recently seized documents show that Walesa was a paid informant for the communist-era secret security from 1970 to 1976. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
Poland’s former president and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

Recently seized documents show that Poland’s former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa was a paid informant for the communist-era secret security service from 1970-76, the head of Poland’s history institute said Thursday.

A legend of Poland’s successful struggle to topple communism, Walesa has previously acknowledged signing a commitment to be an informant, but has insisted he never acted on it. In 2000 he was cleared by a special court, which said it found no evidence of collaboration.

Head of the state National Remembrance Institute, Lukasz Kaminski, said that documents seized this week from the house of the last communist interior minister, the late Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, include a commitment to provide information that is signed with Walesa’s name and code name, “Bolek.” There are also pages of reports and receipts for money signed by Walesa.

The 279 pages of documents seem to be authentic and will be made public in due course, Kaminski told a news conference. He said historians need time to analyze the contents of the documents.

Communism and Moscow’s control were imposed on Poland and other countries in the region after World War II and were despised and opposed by most people. Secret security was the regime’s harsh tool for keeping the people under control, using personal information to blackmail and discredit critics.

The secret service also used to fabricate information about people, a fact that calls for meticulous confirmation of any compromising documents that emerge.

Walesa was the icon of Poland and Eastern Europe’s drive for freedom that abolished communism and brought down the Iron Curtain in 1989, without bloodshed. He founded and led Solidarity from 1980, when it was born out of worker protests, and he was Poland’s president from 1990 to 1995.

Walesa, 72, speaking from Venezuela where he is traveling, suggested the papers are fake.

“There can exist no documents coming from me. I will prove that in court,” he said.