More bother in Poland

 The end results of being an Historical Revisionist: Dr Dariusz Ratajczak, a Polish academic now working as a storeman, all because he dared write a book that questioned the details of the 'Holocaust'.

"After almost 4-5 years my 'university penalty' is finishing on 20 October 2003. I sent 45 applications for work to various Polish universities and high schools with the no positive results. One example of many is the following: "You are not an historian - you are a liar".

Of course, there is no chance to work as a journalist either.

After my applications to universities, etc., I received several e-mails and anonymous letters with cutting comments such as:" We see that you have applied for a position, but you will die as a porter".

Well, they are right. Unfortunately, I have no money to establish my own small publishing house and this would solve my situation, Greetings,

Darek"

22 June 2003

From Polish academic

Dr Dariusz Ratajczak

2 May 2003

 

Dear Fredric,

 I have been refused entry to Australia, too. Poles from Australia

(among other things journalists from Tygodnik Polski- Polish Weekly,)

invited me to Australia (15.05-15.06. 2003) for series of lectures.

invited me to Australia (15.05-15.06. 2003) for series of lectures.

The Australian Embassy in Warsaw rejected decisively my application

Greetings, 

Darek

 

Truth Above All

An interview with Dr Dariusz Ratajczak Dr Dariusz Ratajczak

By Zbyszek Koreywo, Tygodnik Polski, Polish Weekly- the main paper for Poles in Australia- July 2002

Zbyszek Koreywo : Where and when was today PhD in History, Dariusz Ratajczak, born?

Dariusz Ratajczak : I was born in Opole, on November 28, 1962, but, just like a considerable majority of the inhabitants of this city,  I am not a native Silesian.   

 ZK :  Who were your parents? What did they do?

DR : My father, Cyryl Ratajczak (b.1928) comes from Wielkopolska.[i] By the way, the name Ratajczak is typical of that region of Poland. My father, the son of Michal Ratajczak, a Wielkopolska insurgent[ii] and volunteer in the Polish-Soviet war, was born in Srem (40 km south of Poznan). My grandfather Michal, a clerk in the local Health Fund,[iii] and local party activist (from 1937, he had belonged to the Christian-Democratic Labor Movement,[iv] ensured a good, comfortable childhood to my father and his brothers. They were a solid and hard-working petit bourgeoisie Wielkopolska family. 

In 1940, my father, then a 12-year-old, was deported  by the Germans for forced labor. Actually, he worked for the German “bauers” throughout the whole war. After his return to Srem, he, along with his father, became active in the Polish People’s Movement;[v] he paid for it with a month long arrest in 1947. By the way, he shared the cell with his father. A year later, with a new first name (Cyryl was replaced with Antoni), he began studies at the Faculty of Law of  Poznan University. 

After completion of studies and practicum, he came to Opole, where he started working on a legal team. My father, today retired, was an outstanding lawyer, of an acknowledged reputation in the Polish legal profession. He defended, among others, one of the Kowalczyk brothers, accused of blowing up the assembly hall in the School of Pedagogy in Opole.[vi] He took part in the political trials during martial law.[vii] Also, he was active in the domain of sport, as a soccer referee. 

My late mother, Alina (her maiden name was Czuchryj), came from the Eastern Borderlands of the Polish Commonwealth. She was born in Chodorow (the eastern periphery of the Lwow district) in an “oil” family. Until the outbreak of war, her father, Stanislaw Czuchryj, worked in Polmin, a purely Polish oil company in the city of Boryslaw. This saved him from deportation to Siberia. The Russians were not so stupid as to get rid of a professional in the field. 

After the war, my mother’s family, following the trail of hundreds of thousands of Poles, arrived in the Western Territories.[viii] There my mother met my father; I and my sister are the result of it. Undoubtedly, the historic experiences of my family, on both the sword and distaff side, had influence on my interest in history. I was in a privileged position, however, because I could fetch information from representatives of two different traditions: the Wielkopolska tradition, and the Eastern Borderlands one. 

Initially, the latter had a greater appeal to my imagination, and that was thanks to my mother, who made me aware that the Russians had stolen the Borderlands from us. To me, an 8- or 9-year-old boy, it was an incredible shock, the more so that, in the elementary school, the teacher tried to confirm us in the belief that the USSR was our greatest friend. Besides, my grandpa and grandma repeated constantly to me that in the East soil was fertile, tomatoes the size of small pumpkins…. This appealed to the child. 

Simply, I started disliking those who had stolen the tomatoes from us, and I automatically carried over this dislike of the Soviets to the local communists. Also, I was lucky that during school holidays my father often took me to watch court proceedings. We would drive throughout the whole country, and he would tell me about grandpa Michal, the Bolshevik war,[ix] and his own imprisonment. 

Actually, I was lost to People’s Poland right from the beginning. I did not join the scouts,[x] nor the Polish-Soviet Friendship Association. Entering high school in Opole, I already knew that history was going to interest me above all. I was by far the best historian and geographer in class; I took part, as one of two representatives of the Opole district, in the Central Historic Olympic Games in Warsaw. 

This enabled me to enter university without preliminary exams. I chose the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, first, because I wanted to make my father happy, and, second, because my Opole colleagues would choose the nearby Wroclaw. But I did not want to study at a varsity denoted by the cryptonym B.B. Alas, this did not signify Brigitte Bardot, only Boleslaw Bierut.[xi] I do not regret that decision. I had truly outstanding professors and capital colleagues. 

Without doubt, the strikes in November-December 1981 hardened and united us. We, fledgling students, had just begun studying, when - there you’ve got it, right away a strike. And so we striked on to 13 December, when the ZOMO[xii] asked us, by the way, politely, to leave the building. Later on - brisk learning, illegal transport and distribution of books, active social life, return to Opole, and, from 1988 on, working in the Opole higher education institution.

 

ZK : Where are the seeds of historical truth sown? Can society function without the knowledge of the past?

 

JR : As I have already mentioned, history has surrounded me at all times. I think, however, that most important is the family milieu, where a man develops his moral, patriotic, and, partially, ideological backbone. Thank God, I was raised in an ordinary Polish home. Today it is not as obvious any more. At present, the majority of young people leave the family home without the baggage of the past, without grandparents’ and parents’ stories about times past. 

At best, those are babblings, such as “ in Gierek’s time[xiii] it was so good.” Schools at every level of education complete the work of destruction. Although the cretinous Marxists are already gone, they have been adequately replaced with empty-headed, politically correct idiots, who are as numerous in Poland as in Australia. Stupidity is not picky about continents, it seems. 

It is they, those good-for-nothing historians, who finish off history, which in their version ceases to be the carrier of truth, the mistress of life, the reason for national pride. It is they who, deliberately, convert history into a handmaid of current political interests of equally morally and intellectually cheap ruling elites. Finally, it is they who decide which fact or historical figure to make prominent, and about which to keep silent to the death. Of course, they do it from the angle of current political usefulness. 

That is why young people know nothing about Dmowski[xiv] (because he is an ultra-patriot, and we are moving toward the post-Freemason hybrid called the European Union), Witos[xv] (because he defended Polish land, and in the European Union land can be transferred to foreign hands), the Silesian Risings[xvi] (because it is Polish nationalism, and Upper Silesia ought to be the place of Polish-German cooperation), the Poznan June of 1956[xvii] (because Jacek Kuron[xviii] et consortes were not there, and the authorities shot only at anonymous Poles), the murder of Bogdan Piasecki[xix] (because Jews committed the murder, so it is not proper to speak about it), et cetera. 

Instead, the Kielce pogrom,[xx] the March events,[xxi] and the Gehenna of the Trockists from the KOR are rattled on about from A to Z, and, in addition, over all this the Holocaust Industry is watching, and talking with the teachers’ mouths into young people our alleged offenses against the Jews. 

Everywhere half-truths, lies, propaganda. But it is not at all madness, but a method leading to the destruction of historical consciousness, to the cutting off from the truly Polish historical heritage, without which the nation cannot exist. A nation is, after all, past, present, and future generations. If we break the first element of the triad, the whole starts making no sense. And that is where the “creativity” of the politically correct correctors of history is leading.

 

ZK :  What were the circumstances of your first contact with  dangerous history?

 

DR : First of all, I must explain that I am a historian and publicist dealing mainly with  most recent history of Poland, so I encounter history, or dangerous topics, very frequently. But it is not I who invent them, nor decide whether they are dangerous or not. It is “social demand,” the obligatory trend, etc., that decide about it, unfortunately. My non-reformability, however, is based on the fact that, unlike others, I am completely not interested in those trends and fashions.

 If there is an uninvestigated historical fact, I investigate it, whether somebody likes it, or not. If there is a problem which requires at least reporting about, or expounding, I report about and expound it. Regardless of whether they accuse me, for instance, of breaking the law. Because of this, I am an easy target for attacks. Such is the lot of a man not caring about censorship (the communist one before, and the politically correct one today). Good God, I didn’t become a historian to write between lines. But to answer your question directly…. Well, in 1986, I defended in Poznan my Master’s thesis “The Poles in the Wilno District 1939-1944 ”  (later on, after additions, I published it in the book form). One of the chapters dealt with the struggles of the Wilno and Nowogrod Home Army[xxii] units with Soviet partisans. 

Having read my work, my mentor, the late professor Ochmanski, a well-known expert on Lithuania  (a disciple of the great Henryk Lowmianski), but also a “cement communist,” who sat on verification committees during martial law, blushed, then kicked me out, with a note: “Change, or no Master’s.”  I came back a week later, to hear at the door: “Have you changed it?” “Yes, I have.” The joke was that I had added a sentence that it was the Soviet units that provoked skirmishes with the Home Army. Ochmanski trusted my word; he did not even glance at the text.

 

ZK : What should a historian’s role be? What is the sine qua non condition for practicing history?

 

DR :  A historian has one basic role to perform. It is to reach the truth. In essence, truth is a historian’s only friend. A historian ought to know that truth has no hues; truth is always clear, and one. Striving after truth, a historian should avoid like fire “friendly” whispers, such as  “any coin has two sides,” “the golden mean,”  “make a compromise,” etc., because they lead him astray, get him closer to lying. After ascertaining the truth – and here we are touching a historian’s other role – the investigator should share the truth with others, regardless of the consequences. After all, truth must have not only an individual dimension, but also a social one. 

Writing, but not for publication, makes no sense, especially in times when lies attack us from every side. It is a waste of time. The other part of your question pertains, in my opinion, to traits which should characterize a historian, because the sine qua non condition for practicing history, that is, freedom of speech, is already a past memory. It has been replaced with political correctness, that is, soc-liberal censorship, or, as somebody has nicely put it, a “tyranny of good intentions.” 

Thus in today grim times the sine qua non condition for practicing history is the historian himself – truthful, independent, immune to punches, and, finally, simply courageous. Yes, we have lived to see times when, jokingly speaking (but it is a bitter joke), a historian should be a cross between an intellectual and a boxer.

 

ZK : Where, when, and in what circumstances did first troubles start ? Was it in an educational institution, or did it take place outside university walls? Who put the initial pressure on you?

 

DR : To answer your question requires bringing up numerous details, including the names of my “worthy harassers.” I would not mind if servility, lying, and – I do not hesitate to use this expression - common boorishness, so typical of our political elites and many scientific workers, saw the light of the day. In 1988, I started working in an Opole learning institution, then called the Silesian Insurrectionists School of  Pedagogy; in 1995, it became Opole University, but without the Silesian Insurrectionists, which was a graceful gesture toward the so-called German minority, growing in strength in Opole Silesia. 

I found a situation there which I would define as a “transformation.” It meant that professors, assistant professors, and so on, were shedding off their PZPR robes, hiding away in the drawers some more disgracing fruits of their up-to-then creativity (all those books commemorating the Soviet October Revolution, and the like), in order to turn into “genuine” democrats. They were authentically frightened that some gigantic inspection was going to take place any moment and deprive them of their high positions. It was only Prime Minister Mazowiecki and his “thick line” that soothed them. Perhaps because of this, later, many of them took a liking to the Freedom Union?[xxiii] From red to pink only one step. 

At that period I buried myself completely in the didactic work. At several departments (including evening classes), I was in charge of courses on most recent history of Poland and Europe, and, besides, I set in motion a historic circle, which once a week grouped students who tried to “remove white stains in history.” Katyn, the USSR and the Warsaw Rising,[xxiv] Operation “Tempest” in the Eastern Borderlands,[xxv] the National Armed Forces,[xxvi] the pro-independence underground after 1944, were among the topics of our interest. Although all this was taking place before the finale of the Oval Table,[xxvii] that is, with censorship still in force, the academic top brass, as I have said already, were not so dumb as not to sense “the wind of change,” so, in effect, we were left alone. In the first half of the 1990s I had already an established position in the university. 

I won’t be bragging when I say that during my classes the classroom was always full. It was nice to hear from the students that I was considered a reliable historian and excellent speaker  (this wasn’t particularly my own achievement, but that of genes inherited from my father, a lawyer), who was not afraid to take up topics that were dangerous from the viewpoint of political correctness, which was pouring, at first unnoticeably, and then like a waterfall, inside the university walls. And, of course, I was standing up to it in plain sight, feeling intuitively that we were facing the danger of replacing communist censorship with its soc-liberal equivalent. What is more, I anticipated that the result of the victorious invasion of political correctness would be a slavish subjugation of the science of history to politics. There has never been my consent to this.

 

[i] Greater Poland, Posnania.  An area  in western and central Poland, drained by the Warta, Odra, and  Wisla. Its main city is  Poznan.

[ii] The Poznan Rising. A military action of the Wielkopolska Polish  population  against the German authorities, launched on 27 December 1918, and settled by the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

[iii] Kasa Chorych. In 1920-34, a self-governing  institution  providing sick leave benefits to the insured and their families.

[iv] Stronnictwo Pracy.

[v] Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe. A political party formed in 1945 (it ceased to exist in 1949). Its leader was Deputy Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk. In opposition to the communist authorities , it advocated, among others, strong self-government and independent family farms. A victim of communist repression.

[vi] In October 1971.

[vii]  Declared on 13 December 1981 by the communist authorities under General Jaruzelski to suppress the Solidarity Trade Union. Suspended on 31 December 1982; lifted on 22 July 1983.

[viii] Ziemie Zachodnie.  A former German territory, ceased to Poland by the Allied Powers during the Potsdam Conference in July-August 1945. 

[ix] Fought in 1919-21; concluded on 18 March 1921 in Riga with a peace treaty, which defined the border between Poland and Bolshevik Russia.  

[x] Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego, ZHP (Association of Polish Scouts). The communist version, created in 1956, of an association, founded  in 1918. Harcerz, in Polish: scout.

[xi]  Boleslaw Bierut (1892-1956). President  in 1947-56; general secretary of the United Polish Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR) in 1948; 1st  secretary of  its Central Committee in 1954-56. An NKVD agent; one of the leading Stalinist figures in Poland, directly responsible for numerous crimes of the secret police apparatus.

[xii]  Zmotoryzowane Odwody Milicji Obywatelskiej (Motorized Reserve Units of Citizen Militia). A police group, whose role was to keep order during turbulent events, such as natural catastrophes. During martial law in 1981-82, the ZOMO were used to disperse demonstrations and break strikes. Notorious for ruthlessness and brutality.  

[xiii] Edward Gierek (1913-2001). 1st Secretary of the PZPR  in 1970-80. His reign was considered more liberal and pro-West than that of his predecessor, Wladyslaw Gomulka.

[xiv] Roman Dmowski (1864-1939). Politician and publicist. Co-founder and leader of the Narodowa Demokracja (National Democracy), a.k.a. the Endecja, a right-wing, national movement. Led the Polish delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. “[P]robably the single most significant figure in modern Polish politics” (Norman Davies). Opponent of Jozef Pilsudski and the Sanacja.

[xv] Wincenty Witos (1874-1945). Politician, farmer leader, publicist; deputy from Galicia (the Austrian Partition) to the imperial Reichsrat in Vienna  in 1911-18.

[xvi] Three risings (1919, 1920, and 1921) of the Polish population  in Upper Silesia against the German authorities.

[xvii] Poznanski Czerwiec 1956. A general strike and street demonstrations of the workers of the Cegielski Metal Factory in Poznan. On 28-29 June 1956, c. 100.000 people demonstrated under the slogan “Bread and freedom.” During the pacification by the units of the Polish army and security apparatus tens of workers were killed.

[xviii]  Jacek Kuron (b. 1934). Politician  and publicist. One of the leading  figures of  the anti-communist opposition in Poland, co-founder in 1976 of the Committee for the Defense of Workers (Komitet Obrony Robotnikow, KOR). In 1956, he belonged to PZPR (expelled in 1964).

[xix] Sixteen-year-old son of Boleslaw Piasecki (1915-79), right-wing politician and publicist. In January 1957, Bogdan Piasecki was abducted and murdered by “unknown perpetrators.” His body was badly mutilated.

[xx] On 4 July 1946 in Kielce (central Poland). In accordance with the official version, 39 Jews were killed by an angry crowd, as a result of a hearsay that Jews had committed a ritual murder on a 9-year-old boy.

[xxi]  The widespread student protests, on 8-11 March 1968,against the communist authorities’ harassment of  students who had taken part in an anti-censorship demonstration. The subsequent political crisis, including an “anti-Zionist” campaign inspired by the authorities, resulted, among others, in emigration from People’s Poland of c. 20.000 persons of Jewish extraction.

[xxii] Armia Krajowa (AK). During WWII, the biggest and strongest Polish underground resistance organization, operating in the pre-war Polish territory.  

[xxiii] A political party, of liberal, conservative-liberal, and Christian profile, founded in 1994. Tadeusz Mazowiecki was its leader from 1995 to 2000. In 1989, as Premier, in a speech to the Sejm (Polish Parliament), Mazowiecki declared: “We are marking off the [communist] past with a thick line.”

[xxiv] Launched by the Home Army on 1 August 1944 against the German garrison in Warsaw. The Soviets refused assistance to the insurgents.  

[xxv] Akcja “Burza.” The military activities, including sabotage, of the Home Army at the rear of the German Army, begun in March 1944 in Volhynia. At times, the Polish units fought arm-in-arm with the Soviet partisans and the Red Army. After the fighting, most of the Home Army units were disarmed by the Soviets, and either incorporated  into the Polish army within the Red Army, or  shipped  to Soviet concentration camps.   

[xxvi] Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (NSZ). An underground resistance organization formed in September 1942, independent from the Home Army. It fought against the Germans and  Soviet partisans. After the war, the NSZ fought the communist authorities. As a result of mass arrests of its members by the communist security apparatus, the organization stopped its activities in 1947. Its leaders were executed.

[xxvii] Okragly Stol. A conference of representatives of  Solidarity (incl. Lech Walesa, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and Jacek Kuron) and communist authorities between  6 February and 5 March 1989 in Magdalenka n. Warsaw. The negotiations made possible the formation of the first non-communist government in post-war Poland.  [xxvii] Greater Poland, Posnania.  An area  in western and central Poland, drained by the Warta, Odra, and  Wisla. Its main city is  Poznan.

[xxvii] The Poznan Rising. A military action of the Wielkopolska Polish  population  against the German authorities, launched on 27 December 1918, and settled by the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

[xxvii] Kasa Chorych. In 1920-34, a self-governing  institution  providing sick leave benefits to the insured and their families.

[xxvii] Stronnictwo Pracy.

[xxvii] Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe. A political party formed in 1945 (it ceased to exist in 1949). Its leader was Deputy Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk. In opposition to the communist authorities , it advocated, among others, strong self-government and independent family farms. A victim of communist repression.

[xxvii] In October 1971.

[xxvii]  Declared on 13 December 1981 by the communist authorities under General Jaruzelski to suppress the Solidarity Trade Union. Suspended on 31 December 1982; lifted on 22 July 1983.

[xxvii] Ziemie Zachodnie.  A former German territory, ceased to Poland by the Allied Powers during the Potsdam Conference in July-August 1945. 

[xxvii] Fought in 1919-21; concluded on 18 March 1921 in Riga with a peace treaty, which defined the border between Poland and Bolshevik Russia.  

[xxvii] Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego, ZHP (Association of Polish Scouts). The communist version, created in 1956, of an association, founded  in 1918. Harcerz, in Polish: scout.

[xxvii]  Boleslaw Bierut (1892-1956). President  in 1947-56; general secretary of the United Polish Workers’ Party (Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza, PZPR) in 1948; 1st  secretary of  its Central Committee in 1954-56. An NKVD agent; one of the leading Stalinist figures in Poland, directly responsible for numerous crimes of the secret police apparatus.

[xxvii]  Zmotoryzowane Odwody Milicji Obywatelskiej (Motorized Reserve Units of Citizen Militia). A police group, whose role was to keep order during turbulent events, such as natural catastrophes. During martial law in 1981-82, the ZOMO were used to disperse demonstrations and break strikes. Notorious for ruthlessness and brutality.  

[xxvii] Edward Gierek (1913-2001). 1st Secretary of the PZPR  in 1970-80. His reign was considered more liberal and pro-West than that of his predecessor, Wladyslaw Gomulka.

[xxvii] Roman Dmowski (1864-1939). Politician and publicist. Co-founder and leader of the Narodowa Demokracja (National Democracy), a.k.a. the Endecja, a right-wing, national movement. Led the Polish delegation to the Versailles Peace Conference. “[P]robably the single most significant figure in modern Polish politics” (Norman Davies). Opponent of Jozef Pilsudski and the Sanacja.

[xxvii] Wincenty Witos (1874-1945). Politician, farmer leader, publicist; deputy from Galicia (the Austrian Partition) to the imperial Reichsrat in Vienna  in 1911-18.

[xxvii] Three risings (1919, 1920, and 1921) of the Polish population  in Upper Silesia against the German authorities.

[xxvii] Poznanski Czerwiec 1956. A general strike and street demonstrations of the workers of the Cegielski Metal Factory in Poznan. On 28-29 June 1956, c. 100.000 people demonstrated under the slogan “Bread and freedom.” During the pacification by the units of the Polish army and security apparatus tens of workers were killed.

[xxvii]  Jacek Kuron (b. 1934). Politician  and publicist. One of the leading  figures of  the anti-communist opposition in Poland, co-founder in 1976 of the Committee for the Defense of Workers (Komitet Obrony Robotnikow, KOR). In 1956, he belonged to PZPR (expelled in 1964).

[xxvii] Sixteen-year-old son of Boleslaw Piasecki (1915-79), right-wing politician and publicist. In January 1957, Bogdan Piasecki was abducted and murdered by “unknown perpetrators.” His body was badly mutilated.

[xxvii] On 4 July 1946 in Kielce (central Poland). In accordance with the official version, 39 Jews were killed by an angry crowd, as a result of a hearsay that Jews had committed a ritual murder on a 9-year-old boy.

[xxvii]  The widespread student protests, on 8-11 March 1968,against the communist authorities’ harassment of  students who had taken part in an anti-censorship demonstration. The subsequent political crisis, including an “anti-Zionist” campaign inspired by the authorities, resulted, among others, in emigration from People’s Poland of c. 20.000 persons of Jewish extraction.

[xxvii] Armia Krajowa (AK). During WWII, the biggest and strongest Polish underground resistance organization, operating in the pre-war Polish territory.  

[xxvii] A political party, of liberal, conservative-liberal, and Christian profile, founded in 1994. Tadeusz Mazowiecki was its leader from 1995 to 2000. In 1989, as Premier, in a speech to the Sejm (Polish Parliament), Mazowiecki declared: “We are marking off the [communist] past with a thick line.”

[xxvii] Launched by the Home Army on 1 August 1944 against the German garrison in Warsaw. The Soviets refused assistance to the insurgents.  

[xxvii] Akcja “Burza.” The military activities, including sabotage, of the Home Army at the rear of the German Army, begun in March 1944 in Volhynia. At times, the Polish units fought arm-in-arm with the Soviet partisans and the Red Army. After the fighting, most of the Home Army units were disarmed by the Soviets, and either incorporated  into the Polish army within the Red Army, or  shipped  to Soviet concentration camps.   

[xxvii] Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (NSZ). An underground resistance organization formed in September 1942, independent from the Home Army. It fought against the Germans and  Soviet partisans. After the war, the NSZ fought the communist authorities. As a result of mass arrests of its members by the communist security apparatus, the organization stopped its activities in 1947. Its leaders were executed.

[xxvii] Okragly Stol. A conference of representatives of  Solidarity (incl. Lech Walesa, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and Jacek Kuron) and communist authorities between  6 February and 5 March 1989 in Magdalenka n. Warsaw. The negotiations made possible the formation of the first non-communist government in post-war Poland. 

 November 8, 2002
TRUTH  ABOVE  ALL  -  an interview with Dr. Dariusz Ratajczak
Part II.


... DR.  (cont.) I prepared a number of "incorrect topics", which I  followed through during classes. Let me mention only a few of them: "Starve the rat, or critically about American feminism", "Freemasonry yesterday and today", "Hitlerism and Communism - common roots", "Does colonialism deserve to be unconditionally condemned ?", "The history of French Algieria", and so on, and so forth. 

The students liked it a lot, but, at the same time, more and more often,  I was called on the carpet by the director of the History Institute, Professor Stanislaw S. Nicieja (privately, the supervisor of my PhD thesis, and, later, the almighty Rector of Opole University). He would tell me, more or less, this: "I don't impose anything on you; you've got excellent term marks, and we appreciate your knowledge. But do you really have to charge like this ?  I know that what you do is based on sources, but do not go against the current, or it may end up bad." Frankly speaking, I didn't listen attentively to the professor, although he was a distinguished expert on "going with the current", which he proved a few years later, when he did not hesitate to sentence me to "devouring", during an action, organized at the "top", whose purpose was to finish off  Dr. Ratajczak.

Those friendly chats over coffee, however, were not the beginning of real troubles, nor was it my defending of my PhD thesis entitled "The Attitudes of the inhabitants of Opole Silesia in the light of the military court sentences in 1945-55".  Here - a short explanation. This work, in spite of its neutral title, was, actually, a 500-page review of communist repression in the Opole district during the first decade of "People's Poland".  Its "uncomfortableness" was based on the fact that I mentioned in it the names of judges, prosecutors, employees of the UB (29), militiamen, and informers, who were responsible for minor and major crimes of that period. It just so happened that in the footnotes appeared the names of daddies of the current employees of Opole University. For this reason, the defense of the thesis took place behind closed doors. 

The beginning of real troubles is connected, of course, with my publishing, in March 1999, of a little journalistic book entitled DANGEROUS TOPICS. Before I move on to the consequences of this publication, let me once again make a few introductory remarks. During the lectures, more than once, I touched on the so-called Jewish subject. This was most justified, especially in the context of most recent history of  Poland. When I was speaking of the functions, structure, and make-up of the Ministry of Public Security, the grim ubecja, I would mention that in this institution there was an overrepresentation of individuals of Jewish extraction, especially on the decision level. When I mentioned the case of  the monstrous murder of Boleslaw Piasecki's son, I would say, in accordance with truth, that all the traces of the murder led to Israel. 

When, finally, I was discussing the attitude of the majority of Jews toward Poland's regaining independence in 1918, and their conduct in the years of the Polish-Bolshevik war, as well as after the Soviet invasion of September 17, 1939, I would state that they were not, by any means, the paragon of patriotic virtue. This irritated the university acabus. The end came eventually, under some pretext, in 1998, when my classes on most recent history of Poland got cut back; they were "transferred" to the 19th century.

This did not help much, because the Jewish  ubeks  could always be replaced with the Jews-Litwaks (30),  who were equally anti-Polish. All in all, this was painful to me, the more so that, firstly, I would always base my lectures on sources, and, secondly, the Jewish subject was not the center of my historic interest. Of course, there was much criticism on my part  there, but this precisely posture is connected immanently with the job I do.

In any case, no one accused me of the infamous anti-Semitism. It was similar in the case of several lectures devoted to Holocaust revisionism, which I had within the university walls in 1997/98. The university authorities murmured a little, whereas students stumbled over one another to attend, because, perhaps for the first time in the history of a Polish university, somebody was objectively relating the opinions of this milieu, one which is a social and historical reality. A milieu - let us add - that includes also Jews. 

By the way, after these lectures, many students demanded from me, behind the stage, a clear attitude toward the theses announced by the revisionists. Invariably, I would reply as follows: "If the revisionists think there were no gas chambers, they are wrong. If they think six million Jews did not perish during the war, they are right. If they state that the Holocaust is not the pivot of the 20th century martyrdom, they are right. Otherwise, we would feel contempt for victims of the Soviet Gulag Archipelago, the Armenian victims of Turkish politics during World War One, or our own countrymen, victims of  German and Soviet savagery in 1939-45.

And what about the poor Tutsis, murdered by the gone-mad members of the Hutu tribe ?  Can victims be divided into better and worse ones ?" As I have mentioned, at the beginning of March 1999, I published, at my own expense, and in the symbolic edition of 320 copies, the book  DANGEROUS TOPICS. I did it in order to leave behind, to record in a journalistic form, a trace of some of my university lectures. One of its subchapters was entitled 'Holocaust Revisionism'. For a month, nothing happened at the university, even though I had personally handed in the first copies to Rector Nicieja and the university "top", with an appropriate, polite dedication. 

A month later, I am being summoned by . no, not the Rector, nor the director of the History Institute, but one of the editors of .the Gazeta Wyborcza (31) who tells me with a smirk: "We'll trample you into the ground for the little book, and the little subchapter on the Holocaust". Well, so it all started out. 

On April 8, the Council of the Pedagogic-Historic Faculty of  Opole University gathers up summarily, and condemns me "spontaneously". Only Prof. Joanna Rostropowicz breaks off, by observing soberly: "I can't condemn Ratajczak, because I haven't read the book. I get the impression that none of the present has read it. Who the hell are those Holocaust revisionists?"


Rostropowicz is right, but never mind that - we are told to condemn, so we are condemning. Stalinism  rises from the dead in Opole. At the same time, the Gazeta Wyborcza, and other left-wing periodicals, the Auschwitz Museum, the Israeli Embassy, the "moral authorities", some members of Buzek's government (32), as well as people from the entourage of President Kwasniewski (the left and right in the same line), begin a sharp assault. Director of the Auschwitz Museum states that I am a neo-Nazi. 

The spokesman for the Israeli embassy, Michael Sobelman, is surprised that "such a man works at a Polish university" (a clear suggestion to "kick me out"). Wladyslaw Bartoszewski (33) sends me to a mental institution, and so on, and so forth. Meanwhile, the frightened Rector Nicieja receives phone calls from the VIPs in the Ministry of National Education, the "Simon Wiesenthal people", and whoever you like, warning him: "If you don't kick out that Ratajczak, your school will be boycotted, and you won't get any grants".

Well, so Rector suspends me from my duties as academic teacher. Alas, he is a trustworthy man, who is sensitive to the direction of the wind of history (today he fulfils the glorious function of a Polish Republic Senator from the SLD). (34)  In April 1999, I was going through hard times. My timid university colleagues turned their backs on me. There came a point when they would not recognize me in the street. It has remained so since. The media were spitting at me.. As if it were not enough that I was suspended from my job, the university was told by the "top" to take me to an academic court. The court lasted a year, and was an open ridicule of justice. 

During the consecutive hearings, I would give 2-hour speeches on the subject of freedom of speech and the right to question. Also, I would make a stand toward the theses announced by the Holocaust revisionists, but the university inquisition seldom pretended to listen to me. The verdict was ready: a disciplinary removal from the university, with a 3-year ban on work in the teaching profession. I had only the satisfaction of intellectually finishing off  Messrs. judges (the moral bottom, and of like legal knowledge), as well as the disciplinary spokesman for Opole University, Prof. Wieslaw Lukaszewski, who, after a year of investigation, was not able to produce even one prosecution witness. 

When I showed to my father Lukaszewski's prosecution statement against me, my father asserted that, compared to Lukaszewski, one Andriei Vyshinsky (35) appeared a good lawyer. Well, but privately Lukaszewski is a psychologist, and the make-up of the academic court consisted of a medieval historian, another psychologist, as well as a priest from the OU Theological Faculty. Indeed, we have interesting priests nowadays.. But at least I was comforted by the attitude of my students. They wrote petitions in my defense to Rector and the press, risking terribly on the occasion. Two of them got immediately suspended from the university. 

When I learned of this, I forbade them any similar acts. Also, with a great relief, I accepted moral support from numerous countrymen. People phoned me all the time, cheering me up. Unusually active was the Polonia (36) in the USA and Canada, who inundated the university with e-mails in my defense. Several letters came also from Australia. Poles felt intuitively that the monstrous machinery of political correctness, operating like a steamroller, was falling down upon one man. I was sinking in a good company, later supplemented by courageous scientists (Miroslaw Dakowski, Rafal Broda, Ryszard Bender, Peter Raina, etc.), as well as equally courageous editors of some newspapers. I would have been a happy man if, at that time, I had fought only the learning institution's cowards and their commanders. But no such thing. In May 1999, my case was taken care of by the public prosecutor's office, which accused me of breaking Article 55 of the Institute for National Remembrance Act. (37)  

This Article, after the fashion of West European and other states, punishes with up to three years in jail for the so-called denial of Nazi crimes. This barely concealed censorship, in force in Poland since January 1, 1999, signifies, in my opinion, the grave of  historiography, because it puts a stop to scientific questioning, without which the historian's job makes no sense. The lawmaker, inspired by the "Holocaust Industry", seems to say: " It all happened so and so; if you try to deviate, we'll clap you up". Very well, I reply, there is no one in his right mind who would deny Nazi crimes (against Jews; that is what this strictly ethnic Act is all about), but nobody will talk into me that it all happened the way that Messrs. Gross, (38) Wilkomirski, (39) and the whole bunch of liars working for the Holocaust Industry (also in Australia there is no shortage of those) wish. Of course, the object of the prosecution's and court's inquiry is the book DANGEROUS TOPICS, that is, its subchapter 'Holocaust Revisionism'.  

My explanation that I merely present the revisionists' opinions appears futile, and so do my attempts to introduce defense witnesses, experts, etc. Well, the court knows better.. I've already got two verdicts, but the end of the affair is nowhere in sight; at present, I face 10 months in jail. It looks as if I have touched on something that causes fury of the mighty of the world, because, logically thinking, one does not persecute for three years a man for dealing with meaningless trifles.

ZK:  How did your scientific career begin ?

DR: In 1986, after getting a university degree, I went back to Opole. On my way, I submitted an application for the School of Pedagogy there. Its processing took two years. It was still the time of flourishing komuna, (39) and, reportedly, some papers from the well-known institution, (41)   (followed me all the way down from Poznan. Thus I remained in suspense, or perhaps not entirely in suspense, because, meanwhile, the Polish People's Army claimed me; it was still full of dumb sergeants, who would be after us for little crosses laid out on our uniforms. 

Formally, in February 1988, I became an assistant lecturer at the History Institute of the School of Pedagogy in Opole. In 1991, I published my first book, THE POLES IN THE WILNO DISTRICT, 1939-44. Four years later, I published  THE TESTIMONY OF FATHER WOJCZEK, whose second, expanded edition appeared the following year. In 1994, I began collecting material for my PhD thesis, devoted, in fact, to Stalinist crimes in the Opole district. I defended it in June 1997, automatically advancing to the position of lecturer at the History Institute of Opole University (formerly, the School of Pedagogy). A little earlier, in 1996, I published, together with Ryszard Miazek, THE HOME UNDERGROUND ARMY, 1949-52. 

In the fall of 1997, I started collecting material for my assistant professor dissertation on Archbishop Boleslaw Kominek. (42) These works got interrupted for known reasons. In April 1999, after publishing DANGEROUS TOPICS, I got suspended, and then fired, in a disciplinary manner, from Opole University, with a 3-year ban on work as teacher. Afterwards, in 2001, I published  EVEN MORE DANGEROUS TOPICS. This year, a second, expanded edition of the book will appear, as well as a new volume from my pen, entitled  THE CASE OF DR. DARIUSZ RATAJCZAK, OR THE UNIVERSITY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. Currently, I work as a night porter in Opole. ... ...


Notes to PART II:

29.  Urzad Bezpieczenstwa Publicznego (Department for Public Security), the UBP, informally UB [oobe] (also derog. ubecja). A political police force, created in July 1944 by the Krajowa Rada Narodowa (Home National Council), a Soviet-controlled Communist organization, acting as the official representation of the Polish nation. In 1945, the UB was placed under the Ministry of Public Security. Formally in charge of internal security of the Polish state, in reality the UB fought ruthlessly any opposition to Communist authority. Its core consisted of  NKVD officers, and its rank-and-file included Communist activists, trained in the Soviet Union, Nazi collaborators, and common criminals. (UB members were referred to by the derogatory term ubeks <italics>).  In December 1956, it was renamed Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa (Security Service), the SB.
30.  Litwacy.  Jews  from Russia proper who, from the late 19th century on, settled in the Russian Partition (Russian Poland).  Some of them came from Lithuania (in Polish: Litwa).
31. The Gazeta Wyborcza (Election Newspaper). A daily, edited in Warsaw since 1989; ideologically close to the Freedom Union. Originally, a Solidarity periodical, supporting the movement's campaign to win election to the Sejm and Senate in 1989. Its editor-in-chief is Adam Michnik.
32.  Jerzy Buzek. Premier  from 1997 to 2001. Of the AWS (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnosc, Solidarity Election Action).
33. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski (b.1922). Historian and politician. In 1940-41, prisoner at Auschwitz.  Member of the Home Army. Co-founder of  the Council For Aid to Jews (Zegota). Imprisoned during the Stalinist period. In 1983-90, lecturer at universities in Munchen, Augsburg, and Eichstatt, Germany. Honorary citizen of Israel (from 1991). Minister of External Affairs in 1995 and 2000-01.
34.  Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej (Democratic Left Alliance).  A coalition of left-wing political parties, created in 1991, and led by former members of the PZPR (which was dissolved in 1990), including President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
35. Andrei Y. Vishinsky (1883-1954). Soviet chief prosecutor during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s.
36. The Polish community outside of  Poland.
37. Instytut Pamieci Narodowej, the IPN. Founded in 1998 to collect documents on the Communist security apparatus, and carry out investigations of Nazi and Communist crimes.
38. Jan Tomasz Gross, author of NEIGHBORS: THE DESTRUCTION OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN JEDWABNE, where he alleges that in the summer of 1941, the Polish inhabitants of a small town Jedwabne in Eastern Poland savagely murdered, for obscure reasons  (plunder ? irrational hatred ?), 1600 Jewish neighbors. Norman Finkelstein calls Gross's book "a kind of Goldhagen for Beginners" and "standard Holocaust Industry literature".
39. Binjamin Wilkomirski, real name: Bruno Doessekker, a Swiss writer, claiming to be a child Holocaust survivor, author of FRAGMENTS:  MEMORIES OF A WARTIME CHILDHOOD. It has been found that he is not Jewish, and was not in concentration camps as a child.
40. Polish derogatory term for the Communist system and its functionaries.
41. The SB (see Note 29).
42. Boleslaw Kominek (1903-74). Archbishop of Wroclaw. During the Stalinist period, prevented by the Communist authorities from residing in Wroclaw and being consecrated. Clandestinely consecrated in 1954; consecration was kept secret until 1956. Cardinal from 1973. ..


End of Part II.

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