The Reliability of “Files” and Collaboration with the Security Service (SB) in Poland: An Attempt at a Methodological Analysis
Over the course of the last decade, the disclosure in Poland of information regarding the secret collaboration of public figures with the Security Services (SB) has triggered emotional discussions on the reliability of the archival records stored in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Analysis of these discussions enables one to draw a distinction between two opposing views. According to the first, documents stored in the archives of the IPN are incomplete and devoid of accurate information. According to the second, documents produced by the repressive apparatus of the communist state constitute a new type of historical source and contain reliable information.
However, these discussions concerning the reliability of “files” lack methodological rigor and precision. I consider the reliability of the “files” in the light of Gerard Labuda and Jerzy Topolski’s concepts of historical sources. According to this analysis, the “files” do not constitute a new type of historical source requiring a radical rethinking of existing classifications and new interpretive methods. However, one precondition of an adequate interpretation is the acknowledgment of the purpose for which they were created and the functions they played in the communist state. The repressive apparatus collected, selected and stored information on society if they considered this information useful in the maintenance of political control over society. Ignorance of or failure to acknowledge this specific social praxis (and its different forms: manipulation, disintegration, misinformation, etc.) performed by the secret political police is one of the reasons for methodical and heuristic errors committed by historians: the uncritical application of the vision of social life and processes presented in these sources for the construction of the historical narrative.
Keywords: adaptive interpretation, reliability of the historical sources, Gerard Labuda, Jerzy Topolski, surveillance, Security Service, secret political police
The Issue of the Reliability of “Files” for the First Time: An Analysis of an Example
After 2000, as the Institute of National Remembrance (hereinafter the “IPN”) commenced its activity, sources pertaining to or compiled by the communist apparatus of repression became widely available to researchers who study the history of Poland in 1944–1989. However, as soon as some of the findings of research conducted on the basis of archival records of the IPN were published, some journalists, ordinary people and professional historians rejected the historiographical credibility of the documentation created by the Security Service (SB) and its related authorities in the times of the People’s Republic of Poland (PRL).
A symptomatic opinion was expressed by Antoni Pawlak, an oppositional activist, poet and journalist, at the panel discussion arranged at the Chamber Scene of the “Polski” Theatre in Wrocław:
There is something that as we lived in the 1970s, 1980s and earlier—the times the fundamental rule of which (the rule around which our lives were organized) was a lie—books, press, yearly books, economic reports—I do not understand how we can claim that the only base of truth was the Security Service. It boggles my mind.1
More systematic charges were formulated by Karol Modzelewski, nota bene a prominent historian of the Middle Ages, who claimed that the minimal usefulness of these sources to historians was a result of, first, the incompleteness of the source database.
General Kiszczak and his people were the sole masters of the files for as long as six months and they already knew that they would have to hand over the ministry, together with those documents, to their political opponents. From the very beginning it was naive to believe that they left anything in the files that was not appropriate to be read.2
Second, he emphasized the minimal reliability of the archival documents, “In the mind of a person who would seek to conjure the truth about the agency on the basis of unreliable remnants of documentation experience and logic has been replaced with wishes.”3
On the other hand, historians and researchers who used the archival records of the IPN generally believe that this type of archival resource, which is essential to the study of the recent history of Poland, is quite reliable. Joanna Siedlecka, who researched the lives of writers living in the People’s Republic of Poland, made the following observation:
There is a huge and priceless knowledge about writers. After all, the Security Service left us the priceless material. Thanks to it, we know what Herbert said at an author’s meeting in Pcim or in Rzeszów because detailed notes were taken. In my opinion, there are documents, the reliability of which simply cannot be challenged.4
Those who support the use of the resources compiled by the apparatus of repression of the People’s Republic of Poland insist on the usefulness of these materials to scholars of the apparatus of repression itself and those parts of the past that were of interest to the authorities and the police forces.5 In this context, it is stated, inter alia, that it is possible to reconstruct details of many significant events of the political history of the People’s Republic of Poland,6 the history of the opposition and of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarność,”7 and the process of making decisions by authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland.8
This opinion regarding the relatively high reliability of the sources is associated with a warning against a specific vision of the world represented by their authors:
…these archival records have a specific nature (my italics K.B.) that reflects the activity of the Security Service. Therefore, the knowledge included in the documentation made by the communist security apparatus is neither a complete nor a reliable image of the People’s Republic of Poland, but rather constitutes only a glimpse at the reality of the People’s Republic of Poland from the perspective of the interests of the Security Service.9
On the other hand, according to Paweł Piotrowski, “We have to realize that this documentation was created for a specific purpose and portrays the image of the world that the authors saw or wanted to see.”10
The issue of the reliability of the Security Service’s sources was broadly discussed by Adam Leszczyński, who in a chapter of a book published in 2006 and entitled “How Did the Authorities Themselves Lie: The Documentation of the Security Service and of the Polish United Workers’ Party as a Source on the History of the ‘Solidarność’ Trade Union” makes the following assessment:
The reliability of the written sources created by various institutions of the government and of the party, from the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) to the Security Service, leaves a lot to be desired. Since they distort the reality that they try to describe both at the factual level (their authors frequently and intentionally lie) and at the level of interpretation, they are saturated not only with gobbledygook, but also with a specific type of the party’s glimpse of reality.11
Leszczyński refers to the case of the death of the miner Jan Siminiak at the Civic Militia (MO) station in May 1981. In the “Details on Circumstances” cited by the author, the Security Service reported his death as an accident, “At the Civic Militia station, J. Siminiak fought with a Civic Militia officer, fell, and hit his head against the bench. The doctor declared him dead.”12
Leszczyński comments on this description in the following way:
It is impossible to state whether the audience of this report really believed this odd explanation (...). In view of this report, the death of Siminiak was a regrettable accident that befell a habitual drunk and troublemaker (...). It is worth emphasizing that the “Details on Circumstances” is an internal and top-secret document, but a Security Service officer was unable to make a less unilateral description of the event. He provided exactly the same version propagated by the State’s papers, radio and television.13
The document became the basis for a broad assessment of materials made by the Security Service.
This complies with the norm observed by numerous researchers: the Security Service’s documents almost never make mention of any acts committed by their officers that infringed on the law of the People’s Republic of Poland, such as beating or harassing people who were politically inconvenient. These drastic methods are passed over in silence, and when impossible, they are presented in a way that shows the officers in the best light, even if the entire story seems ridiculous.14
The document is criticized in terms of the postulated ideal historical source that includes any and all information on the topic that has captured the researcher’s interest: supports a “proper” interpretation (i.e. an interpretation that conforms with the researcher’s objectives) and contains no evasive or misleading statements. These expectations are not met by any of the sources created by the Security Service, or by other institutions. Leszczyński himself remarks on this, noting that the documents of the Security Service and the Polish United Workers’ Party exaggerated differences in the internal views of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union “Solidarność,” whereas trade union documents omitted any mention of these internal divisions.15
If the contentions contained in a source are knowing lies (as is indicated by the title of the chapter) made to superiors by subordinates, clearly they cannot be regarded as reliable. However, whether or not these statements can be regarded as knowing lies has not been established. A statement can be characterized as a lie when it does not conform to the known details, the person who made the statement was aware of this inconsistency, and he or she intended to mislead the person to whom the statement was addressed. Leszczyński does not support his conjecture with any arguments based on the source data. Yet in order to substantiate the claim that the statements in question were deliberate lies, it would be necessary to prove that the authors of the report on the Siminiak case were aware of inconsistencies with the facts and intended to mislead their superiors. In order to do this, it would be necessary to identify the authors of the report.
In addition, the following sentence is vague, “the Security Service’s documents almost never make mention of any acts committed by officers of the Security Service that infringed on the law of the People’s Republic of Poland, such as beating or harassing people who were politically inconvenient.” It is not clear how the expression “almost never” should be interpreted. Is it a general quantifier or an existential one?
The “Details on Circumstances” cited by Leszczyński was a document made in the Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (hence strictly speaking it was not made by the Security Service, as Leszczyński claims) on the basis of daily reports sent from individual voivodeships and departments of the Ministry, e.g. the Civic Militia, Border Defense Troops (WOP), etc. The key role in the presentation of information was played by a group of people (the so-called distribution list) to whom the reports were sent. If information was addressed to people holding the most prominent positions in the country (a list that came to several dozen names), it referred to general matters. For example, a schedule entitled “Assessments of Establishing the Citizens’ Committee with Lech Wałęsa,” which contained opinions of the “Fighting Solidarity” organization and the Liberal-Democratic Party “Independence,” was addressed to 44 people in the country, including Alfred Miodowicz, whose son Konstanty was an opposition activist of the Freedom and Peace Movement.16 The “Daily Information” was permanently scheduled with the “Events with the Participation of the Civic Militia Officers,” which generally contained information on violations of the law by employees of the Ministry and members of the uniformed services. This schedule was usually addressed to one person in the State, Władysław Pożoga or Czesław Kiszczak (at least in the late 1980s). It seems (although this would be a matter for further research since Leszczyński omits this question) that the document was addressed to a larger group of people, and hence it contained a description of the event on the basis of generally available information. Schedules exclusively addressed to the Minister of Internal Affairs contained information on crimes (or suspicions regarding the commission of a committing crime) committed by the officers of the ministry.
Example 1: On the 5th day of this month, at around 1:00 a.m., the Provincial Office of Internal Affairs in Leszno was informed of a burglary of a shop run by citizen Kuczkowska in B. Chrobrego Street. A tracker dog led officers to the flat, where Paweł Stefański, age 20, was caught. In the flat the officers found the loot (jackets). The arrested was drunk. It turned out that he was a private of the 6th Company of the Operating Battalion of the Motorized Reserves of the Civic Militia (ZOMO) in Poznań (1st year of service) and was on holiday. He confessed that he had broken into the shop.17
This following description was included in the “Information on the Present Operational-Political Situation” sent on 20 May, 1982 from Poznań to Warsaw.
Example 2: On 18 May of this year in the hospital in Lutycka Street, a 19-year-old named Piotr Majchrzak, a student of the Secondary Technical School of Gardening in Poznań, died. The mother of the deceased, Teresa Majchrzak, a teacher in kindergarten no. 39, claims that his death resulted from him having been beaten by officers of the Motorized Reserves of the Civic Militia on the 12 May at 12:00 p.m. in Fredry Street near the church. She managed to find witnesses to the incident who claim that the Civic Militia patrol stopped him when he was running towards tram no. 8, which was arriving at the time. They claim that there was a heated exchange between the officers and P. Majchrzak. The officers allegedly clubbed him. The witnesses claim that P. Majchrzak defended himself with karate (he was a member of the “Feniks” karate club). When he lost his consciousness, the officers called the ambulance, which took him to hospital. The witnesses spoke with Majchrzak’s mother and warned that they would not present their version of the event because they were afraid of possible repressions.18
The Security Service’s documents also contain information on the “harassment of people who were politically inconvenient,” or at least information on plans to do so.
Example 3: In the “Tram Driver” operational verification the following actions were planned to be taken against Jan Lutter, vice-chairman of the Inter-Enterprise Founding Committee “Solidarność” of the Greater Poland Region in 1980: 3) A relevant false story will be used to talk with selected individuals (...) in order to learn more about a figurehead, his/her contacts (...) and learn about his/her interests, weaknesses and tendencies (...). 6) Check the figurehead in the following available records: the Personal Data Office, general registry, Passport Department, criminal record, Traffic Department, Sobering Station (...) 7) Examine the figurehead’s family, his/her past, places of residence and employment in order to determine his or her motives and learn more about his/her personality (...). 9) Use “B” to examine further (...) and document his/her possible hostile activity or situations that discredit him/her (...). 10) By using any and all possible operational measures and possibilities and any and all possible materials that discredit the figurehead, his/her position, among other things, in the workplace and place of residence will be weakened and his/her possible hostile activity will be neutralized.19
These plans and deeds of the Security Service, plans and deeds that could result in violence against or endangering the life of the people targeted, were enigmatically called “disintegrating actions,” “destructive,” “harasser,” or “special actions” according to a “separate plan” or an “annex to such plans,” but such plans could never be made in writing, or if made in writing, they were destroyed.20
The Issue of the Reliability of “Files” for the Second Time, in Light of Jerzy Topolski’s Concept of the Dynamic Historical Source
Opponents in the debate regarding the “low” or “high” reliability of the archival records of the apparatus of repression adopt several common assumptions. They implicitly assume that the reliability of documents is a constant property of historical sources and this property is independent of the problem under discussion or the research questions posed. I contend that this assumption is unfounded. According to Topolski’s concept of the dynamic historical source, “a historical source is (...) any and all sources of historical cognition (direct and indirect), i.e. all information (including theory and information) on the social past, irrespective of its place, together with its communication (channel of communication).”21 Moreover, Topolski differentiates between a potential source and an effective one. He claims that the potential source is everything on the basis of which a historian is able to gain knowledge of the past, whereas the effective source is the group of information that is actually used by a historian.
This manner of apprehending the concept of the historical source implies that its reliability is relative, id est it is affected by the research question actually posed by the historian. The same source may be relatively highly reliable in the case of one research question and less reliable in the case of another. It is worth citing Topolski again:
Therefore, one of the keys that shapes the mechanism of the use or interpretation of source information (in other words, the study of a source) is the research question to which the source is supposed to provide an answer. Without such a question, the source does not tell a historian anything. It remains silent, even if a historian is able to read it. By posing these questions, obviously structured by the historian’s knowledge, which expands beyond the individual source under scrutiny (and the entire methodological consciousness), the historian preliminary models the reality that is the subject of his/her research.22
To characterize the information structure of the source, Topolski used the notion apparatus of Jerzy Kmita’s theory of a sign.23 The Polish philosopher of logic and history assumed that a sign is an activity or a product of human activity that is a result of the intentional communication of a given state of affairs. In addition to signs, there are symptoms that can be divided into humanistic and natural. Humanistic symptoms are human activities or products that are not intentionally created for the purpose of communication by their creator. For example, smoke coming from the chimney means that people are at home and they are making a meal, but this message is not the intentional outcome of the dwellers.
Topolski distinguished three layers of the source information structure. A surface layer of the information structure of the source is a collection of “information that may be extracted from it in the simplest way, id est it is clear without posing questions other than the questions directly included in this collection of information.”24 This refers to the most fundamental questions, such as what, who, where or when. A sign layer of the information structure of the historical source means the possibly intended purpose of the information originally communicated. In contrast, a symptom layer of the information structure contains the possible pieces of information that were not intended to communicate directly with their audience. These pieces of information may reveal the author’s worldview, his/her vision of the social world, or hidden assumptions regarding the political, cultural and economical situation.
Example 4: After October 1956 the Communist party toughened the policy towards the Catholic Church. One of the symptoms of this was the decree of the Ministry of Education of August 1958 that provided for removing crosses from school classes in all schools in Poland. This decision was met with protests of parents and children. In the Zielona Góra voivodeship, such protests were held from 31 August to 15 September 1958 in several dozen rural schools.25 The daily information on protests signed by lieutenant colonel Bolesław Galczewski, 1st security deputy of the commander of the Voivodeship Civic Militia Station, was sent to colonel Marian Janica, a deputy of the director of the Office of the Minister of Internal Affairs. This information included a detailed description of protests in individual places and harsh criticism of the authorities: “what October gave us, September will take,” “we demand religion in schools, we demand crosses, we are not in captivity, Gomułka does not govern himself,” “Poland is a Russian colony,” “What are you doing with this Poland: a Russian republic?” “Gomułka made it but he will be removed as well,” “Crosses were in schools in the time of Hitler, Stalin and Beirut, and now you are removing them.” These statements explicitly show that the conflict was politicized and the protesters’ demands to restore crosses in schools changed into criticism of Gomułka, the system, and Poland’s dependence on the Soviet Union. However, in a collective report of 17 September, 1958 to the Office of the Minister of Internal Affairs lieutenant colonel Galczewski omitted mention of the size of the protest and claimed that, “by analyzing the Catholic clergy, it is said that priests do not officially partake in conflicts arising in individual gatherings. In addition, outside churches the clergy clearly does not stir up people to manifest and protest against the secularization of schools. (...) We still do not have any indications of any reactionaries who have become active because all previous conflicts in the rural areas involved mostly fanatics and women. Moreover, these conflicts are not clearly hostile because these protests are frequently limited to demands to restore religion and crosses in schools.”26
By posing the question of who protested against the removal of the crosses and also where and how, we come to the surface layer of the information structure of the source, id est the aforesaid report. By posing a question regarding what the 1st security deputy of the commander of the Provincial Civic Militia Station in Zielona Góra wished to communicate in his report to the Director of the Office of the Minister of Internal Affairs by omitting mention of the political dimensions of the protests, we come to the sign layer of the information structure of the source. Further on, by posing a question regarding why the 1st security deputy of the commander of the Voivodeship Civic Militia Station in Zielona Góra emphasized that the protesters “were mainly women” (although 3 out of 8 of the people arrested people were men), we come to the symptom layer of the information structure.
One can formulate a preliminary hypothesis that the report omitted the political aspects of the protests in order to communicate to the Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Warsaw that the author of the report was in complete control of his territory. On the other hand, the emphasis of the key role of women in the protests might be a symptom of the belief (hypothetically) shared by the author and his superiors that the proper places for women were the private and religious spheres, hence the collective participation of women in the protests proved the non-political character of the acts.27
The Content of “Files” According to Topolski’s Source Classification
In order to determine more precisely the specificity of the secret collaborator’s denunciation and other operational files, it is necessary to have a more general system of classifying the sources. Topolski accepts the conventional division of historical documents into direct and indirect sources. This division is based on the assumption that direct sources should “directly” reflect the past reality, whereas indirect sources should do it through an informant. This informant can take many forms, such as a chronicler or a diary keeper who informs a historian about a certain fragment of the past reality. The use of indirect sources requires the study of their authenticity and reliability or their internal criticism. As for direct sources, there are no such informants because the direct sources themselves are elements of the historical reality. In this case, only the authenticity of the sources is examined.28 Differences between both types of sources are shown in the following table:29
(1) direct cognition
(2) no intermediary
(3) no need to examine their reliability (authenticity must be examined)
presence of an intermediary
necessity of examining the reliability of the informant
Another way of classifying sources is according to the division between addressed sources and non-addressed sources. The mode of division here is based on the existence of information that directly links the participants of the communication process (type: addressor–information channel–audience), in this case between a source author and a historian (or another recipient). This division does not refer to the material aspect of sources (information carrier), but only to information included in sources.30 Topolski claims that “addressed sources are directly intended as forms of communication, whereas non-addressed sources are not.”31 The intention of communicating information implies that addressed sources contain an element of persuasion that is addressed to the audience, whereas the source itself includes the interpretation of information that it carries.32 According to Topolski, this means that, “A historian who wishes to extract information from such sources must have his own interpretation, i.e. he or she interprets the interpretation already included in the source. The examination of the reliability of the informant, that is to say, whether or not he tells the truth in a given situation (…) is not enough here.”33 In order to extract information on facts from this type of source, a historian must strip the source of its rhetorical, persuasive and interpretative elements.
The addressed sources can be classified into certain categories, depending on whether or not they are addressed to: (1) an audience that is contemporaneous with the source author (e.g. letters, reports, announcements); (2) posterity (funerary inscriptions, documents on a person’s rights); (3) historians (numerous memoirs are kept for this purpose, occasional publications, etc.).34
By combining these two classifications, we obtain the following typology of sources:
Intended or not intended to convey information
Existence or non-existence of the informant
(article published in a daily paper)
(scaffolding after the pyramid)
In terms of the source classification developed by Topolski, it is possible to detect what the secret collaborator’s denunciations mean: they are indirect addressed sources. The specific nature of this type of source is its narrative structure, which is comprised of informative, rhetoric, and ideological-theoretical layers.35 The ideological-theoretical layer covers the interpretation and/or the explanation of facts presented by the source author. This narrative aspect controls the remaining rhetorical and informative layers as well. This control aims to select and hierarchize information carried by the historical source and adequately to apply rhetorical clues that are intended to convince a potential reader of the document to interpret the reality presented by the author (authors) of the source. This interpreter is the historian, who uses knowledge obtained from other sources and various heuristic procedures to strip the source of the theoretical-ideological and rhetorical layers and obtains information regarding relevant historical facts. Therefore, the so-called source optics comprising, among other things, a specific vision of the world and humankind, is not the specificity of the secret collaborator’s denunciations or documents of the Security Service, but rather a general feature of any and all indirect addressed sources.
The secret collaborator’s denunciation as an indirect addressed source is included in category (1), which means that it is addressed to an audience that is contemporaneous with the source (information) author. Hence, I have determined the nearest type to which the secret collaborator’s denunciation belongs. Now, I am going to identify the specific differences of the collaborator’s denunciation. In order to do this, I have to expand Topolski’s classification. I divide indirect addressed sources into sources addressed unlimitedly and limitedly.
An article in a daily newspaper is available to all people who know a given language. However, papers in Studia Logica, for example, are in principle available to everyone who completes a form and orders this journal in a relevant library, but it is doubtful whether these articles are equally comprehensible by everyone. The mode of distributing the source of information constitutes another means of limiting the audience. The state documents classified as “top secret” do not distinguish themselves by their sophisticated terminology (they need to be understood by democratically elected authorities), but access to them is strictly restricted.
In the extreme case of a source that is only addressed to its creator (e.g. a personal memoir) represents a non-addressed source. In this case, it is better to replace the dichotomous division (addressed and non-addressed sources) with a gradable division, depending on the number of persons in the audience to which the source (according to its author’s intentions) is addressed.
Thus we arrive at an understanding of another aspect of the secret collaborator’s denunciation: this is the indirect addressed source addressed to a limited audience. A secret collaborator of the Security Service who made a denunciation, whether handwritten or not, was convinced that his or her cooperation with the Security Service would remain secret and the authorship of the denunciation would remain anonymous to strangers and more specifically to anyone to whom he or she was close or was tied. In an extreme case, the secret collaborator could even be convinced that the information was exclusively provided to the Security Service officer to whom he or she reported. The distinctly outlined group of recipients affected the source language and posed problems with regards to reading the source information (decoding). Topolski distinguished the informant’s ethnic language code, epochal language code (terminological), psychological code and graphical code. The language in the Security Service’s documents pertains to the terminological code: a specific language that needs to be understood and decoded.36 This, however, is not only peculiar to the police denunciation, but a characteristic of all the indirect addressed sources, whether limited or not, including the explicit or implicit ideological vision of the world of its creators.
The question is whether such considerations mean anything concerning the reliability of the denunciation itself and other materials based on it and made by the Security Service. Is an anonymous opinion on Smith expressed by a person who was convinced that Smith would never know its content more reliable than an official opinion on Smith expressed by a person who was aware of the fact that Smith may learn its content?37 It seems that it is impossible to provide general answers to this question. Understanding that Smith will not learn the content of the denunciation of him may affect the conveyance of both misleading information, gossip, and unverified hearsay and reliable information. On the other hand, the possibility of misleading the Security Service by the secret collaborators was limited. As a rule, in a given social environment the Security Service used more than one Security Serviceman. This enabled them to verify the reliability and utility of the information that the agents provided.
The Role of “Files” in the Political Enslavement Practice
Gerard Labuda says that a historical source is
…any psychophysical or social relic that, as a product of human labor and at the same time an object that participates in the development of social life, acquires through this participation the capacity to reflect that development. Because of these properties (i.e. being a product of labor and having the capacity to reflect phenomena), a source is a means of cognition that enables us scientifically to reconstruct social development in all its manifestations.38
Since, according to this concept, “sources are a result of the action of the entire historical process,”39 they should reflect all its fundamental elements, including economic, social, political, and cultural.40 A given historical source should reflect those aspects of the historical process that are the most actively involved in its creation “with particular distinctness.” According to the directive provided by Labuda, “in order to understand the role of a document, an analysis conducted with respect to the historical sphere that contributed to its creation is of fundamental significance.”41
Information collected by the Security Service was used for a certain type of social practice: the political enslavement and enforcement of social control over the whole society. Therefore, the process of recruiting personal sources of information and the collection and selection of knowledge obtained through these sources did not constitute the aim in and of itself. Rather, these processes were used to achieve a certain social practice: the control of individual social milieus. It is worth noting that the forms and methods of this control changed over time. In the early period of the People’s Republic of Poland, open forms of repression were used, including the liquidation of independent civic social environments, whereas in the late period of the People’s Republic of Poland other means were used, as described by Filip Musiał:
not repression, but manipulation, not arrests, but inspiration and disintegration were the fundamental weapons in the Security Service officers’ fight at the close of the People’s Republic of Poland. Therefore, with regards to the activities of the Security Service, a benchmark of success was not the liquidation of a given form or circle of opposition, but rather the acquisition of control over it, either in whole or in part, or the successful dismantling of it. In simple terms, it would be necessary to consider the change that took place in operations of the Security Service as consisting in a shift away from functioning as the “punishing arm” of the Party in the 1940s and 1950s and becoming a specific demiurge whose basic task was to hold all aces behind the scenes on the stage of the Polish opposition in the 1980s. One of the tools that allowed the Security Service to perform these acts was the logistic and informative advantage that resulted from the operation of the informant network. This perspective arises from an analysis of changes in the operational work: we will be able to examine the Security Service’s real effectiveness only on the basis of practical cases, games and combinations.42
It seems that the instructions of the Security Service’s operational work to which Filip Musiał refers were somehow delayed in recording the change that took place in the manner in which social life was controlled in the mid-1970s.43 The core criterion of the recruitment process of the secret collaborators, who operated in various social circles, was first and foremost the ability to exert effective control over them, and not to have broad knowledge of them.
Example 5: A work schedule for the 4th Section of the 3rd Department of the Regional Internal Affairs Office in Wrocław made a plan regarding personal sources of information recruitment consisting of recruiting two secret collaborators in the literary circle, one secret collaborator in the fine arts circle, two secret collaborators in the theatre circle, two secret collaborators in the music circle and two secret collaborators in the culture promotion circle. The section’s work schedule did not, however, stipulate the recruitment of secret collaborators in the Wrocław filmmakers’ circle because there were already as many as eight secret collaborators operating in that sphere, which justified the decision: “since the group of filmmakers and people dealing with the production and distribution of films is flooded with personal sources of information who sufficiently control this circle, new recruitments are not scheduled for this year.”44
As the operational documents of the Security Service demonstrate, there was nothing in which this organization was not interested. The assessments of works by Ryszard Krynicki, which were done, along with similar operations, as part of the “Renegat,” “Sosna” and “Lingwista” operating inquiries, offer telling examples.45
Example 6: Ryszard Krynicki’s political poetry from the early 1970s aroused drew the attention of the Security Service to the poet himself and hence it had to acquaint itself with his poems. In February 1973 the 3rd Department of the Regional Committee of the Civic Militia in Krakow, where Krynicki studied, decided to have an “operating talk” with the poet. In order to prepare for that talk, the Security Service officer who was in charge of the case asked the 3rd Department of the Regional Committee of the Civic Militia in Katowice (previously the poet had lived in the Katowice voivodeship) to describe the poet. The “Opinion,” dated 30 January, 1973 read as follows: “The local literary circle considers Ryszard Krynicki one of the best followers of the ‘poetic linguistic school, the spiritual father of which was Karpowicz, and this fact was, among other things, depicted in two books of poetry (Pęd pogoni, pęd ucieczki, published in 1968, and Akt Urodzenia, published in 1969. Thanks to these books, he was accepted as a member of the Polish Writers Association in June 1971 [...] However, Krynicki’s opinions can be determined primarily by his poems published in the “Odra” monthly, No 10/71, and the “Poezja” monthly, No 12/71, which can be read as anti-party and unmoral.46 The application for the operating talk held on 1 March, 1973 contains much stronger characteristics of Krynicki’s poetry, which “are mainly depicted in political poems that strike our reality in a anti-party and unmoral way. In March 1972, he wrote the poem ‘Podróź pośmiertna,’ a lampoon ridiculing the present reality, which he wanted to publish in the press.”47 The survey records concerning Krynicki include the following description of his poetry: “He writes poems that hostilely ridicule the present reality and alliance with the Soviet Union. Some of them, the poems, are published abroad, e.g. by the Poets’ and Painters’ Publishing House in London.”48
Further assessments of Krynicki’s works were made by Security Service officers from Poznań, to where he moved. The “Information on Ryszard Krynicki” addressed to the Chief of the 3rd Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, dated 28 February, 1974, specifies that poems by Krynicki are “imbued with hatred towards the system, the social and political relationships in the People’s Republic of Poland, and the party apparatus and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.”49 The “Notice on poet Ryszard Krynicki,” dated 12 March, 1974 states that the poet, “through his works protests, criticizes, expresses his pessimism, and negates all undeniable achievements of our reality.”50 These assessments are repeated and amplified in the “Notice on inspection of the ‘Renegat’ operating inquiry,” dated 30 September, 1974, which states that poems by Krynicki “are imbued with furious hatred towards the system, social and political relationships in the People’s Republic of Poland, the party apparatus, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Soviet Union.”51
It is noteworthy that expressions repeated in the first part of the opinion such as “can” and “can be read” may be interpreted as a sign of hesitation on the part of the Security Service officers regarding how to qualify the Krynicki case: opposition features in his poems are a display of poetical extravagance or an intentionally chosen political attitude. Further assessments of poems by Krynicki do not express these doubts, and the assessors accused the poet of being extremely hostile towards the system: showing “furious” hatred towards the system, the party, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Soviet Union.
Can these opinions be interesting and useful for a historian of Polish literature or a literary critic? No, or at most with qualifications. However, this is not because of the primitivism of the analyses (or at least this is not the key factor), but rather because of the established objective. In general, two types of interpretation are used in the humanities: historical and adaptive.52 Interpretations aim to establish the meaning of a literary work, which is usually regarded as the product of the intentional activity of the author of the work. If the interpretation reveals the purpose of the author of the piece of literature, then it pertains to the historical interpretation. In this case, we ask what the author had in mind (what he wished to achieve) when writing this poem and not another. In turn, when the interpreter attributes a specific meaning to the work based on the socio-cultural background of the author, i.e. his or her voice is interpreted as the expression of certain group interests and thus an expression of an objective adapted by a certain group, then this interpretation is called adaptive. Normally, this is the dividing line between the task of a historian of literature who does historical interpretation and that of a literary critic who performs adaptive interpretation.
If this division is applied, then the analysis on Krynicki’s poetry conducted by the Security Service would be rather similar to the adaptive interpretation.53 Their aim was not to seek aesthetical or axiological values of his poems, but to reply to the question as to whether and to what extent they constitute a threat to the system of the People’s Republic of Poland. The prepared plan for an operating talk included a question about the possible directions of Krynicki’s poems and their aims. During his interrogation, the poet replied to this question and said that he wrote love poetry, but his reply was not approved by a Security Service interlocutor because, as the officer stated, further analyses of his poetry did not follow that path. The Security Service’s analysis is useful in a reconstruction of the following: whether and to what extent Krynicki’s poetry represented a threat to the service’s control over social life in the People’s Republic of Poland. The analyses of poetry were only intended to meet this objective.
Conclusions: From the Source Optics to the Historian’s Optics: Methodological Remarks
As a result of the massive introduction of sources once produced by the apparatus of repression into scientific circulation following the establishment of the IPN, historians who had access to those sources were tempted to commit “seven deadly file sins” as described by Włodzimierz Suleja, director of the IPN, Wrocław Branch.54 The discovery and initial scientific circulation of sources which were hitherto unknown and which in principle allowed historians to challenge previous historiographical findings led to pride. Pride was accompanied by greed, expressed by the willingness to introduce “into scientific circulation newer and newer documents, miscellaneous documents, or articles without proper consideration of critical analysis or skills-based processing.”55 There was a certain gluttony in the handling of topics for which a historian is unprepared in terms of his or her skills. This sin was complemented by sloth, i.e. reluctance on the part of the historian to verify findings by consulting sources and the historiography. The formal findings were accompanied by wrath, expressed by giving moral evaluations that undermined the reliability of the findings. When these findings were not accepted by historians, this was met with envy: though wearing a prosecutor’s gown, the historian, subjected to scientific criticism, was forced to prove and still verify his or her findings. This is why, according to Włodzimierz Suleja, history became a field of science subjected to the sin of lust, “scientists take actions to meet political orders so as to use random and partial findings in the utilitarian and short-term power play.”56
It may be true that it is difficult to find a historian who had literally committed the aforementioned “deadly file sins,” but this does not mean that Włodzimierz Suleja’s description is completely groundless. If it is considered as an ideal type of the research attitude, this description more or less accurately summarizes the practice of the empirical historians. It is worth wondering what the origin of this practice is and whether it is an escalating phenomenon.
It seems that one of the reasons behind the commission of these deadly sins is the failure to adhere to the standard rules adopted in the interpretation of historical sources (internal and external criticism, establishment of a list of questions, the use of contextual knowledge, including historiographical findings, etc.). The failure to adhere to these rules in the use of these sources results in the uncritical acceptance of a mode of perceiving the social world as presented exactly by these sources: details concerning facts, the global interpretation of events and processes, the failure to contrast information included in these sources with information drawn from other types of sources and contextual knowledge.
These failures are neither necessarily inscribed in the sources gathered in the IPN nor are they the outcome of a lack of methodological rigor. The IPN’s archival records are not defective, whatever their opponents may claim. They are neither worse nor better than sources that have been collected in other archival records. Nor do they constitute a fundamentally new type of source that requires the profound rethinking of conventional classifications of sources. Their only novelty is that they must be understood in terms of their content because they shed light on the backstage of political power: the mechanisms with which the control and surveillance of society was maintained on a massive scale.
The transgressions specified by Włodzimierz Suleja, which have been committed by historians from and outside of the IPN, were intensified through the circulation of new content-based types of sources on a massive scale. First, heuristic rules of interpretation did not develop because as of yet they have been unable to do so. Second, this novelty effect led to the emergence of the erroneous belief according to which the introduction of the sources made by the apparatus of repression of the People’s Republic of Poland into circulation within the historiography is in and of itself enough to foment a historiographical revolution. In this respect, Sławomir Cenckiewicz’s statement from 2005 is characteristic, “in light of more and more unrestricted access to a new type of source, namely documents of the Security Service, most of the previous studies [about Solidarity – K.B.] (made before 2000) should be considered incomplete, insufficient, outdated or simply unreliable.”57
The revolution in historiography, however, is not only a result of the discovery of new types of sources, but needs also to be associated with new interpretations of these sources and a separate explanation of previously known historical facts. In addition, only a relevant accumulation of historiographical works stimulates methodological reflection on the mode of using the sources, construction of the historiographical narration and explanatory rules. The critical discussion between historians and researchers representing other fields of the sciences and having various theoretical opinions also plays an important role.58
One can find hope for the future in the growing number of works that were written over the course of the past ten years concerning criticism of the sources held by the Institute of National Remembrance,59 and to a lesser extent the methodological and theoretical reflections that have been raised.60 As Włodzimierz Suleja observes:
The security services’ materials are specific sources that yield exceptionally little when processed on a critical and analytical basis. To read this symbolic file, it is not enough only to have standard equipment without essential knowledge of the government structure, its people, directions and techniques of operational actions. It is true that as a rule the Security Service did not forge its documents. This however does not mean that the information included in these documents is the truest truth. But if the researcher, irrespective of his or her field of expertise or experience, does not have any knowledge of the present objectives of the ministry (these objectives have changed) or the system of values professed in this environment (real, not declared, even during meeting of the POP), if he or she does not break this hermetic language code, this specific kind of the Security Service newspeak, then the researcher will fail.61
AIPN = Biuro Udostępniania i Archiwizacji Dokumentów Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej [Archives of the Institute of National Remembrance], Poznan.
AIPN Po 06/215/14/1, 8. Informacja dot.[ycząca] aktualnej sytuacji operacyjno-politycznej [Information on the Present Operational-Political Situation].
AIPN Po 08/923,115. Informacja dotycząca Ryszarda Krynickiego [Information on Ryszard Krynicki].
AIPN Po 060/44/55, vol. 85, 110. Informacja nr 61/58, 17 IX 1958 [Information no. 61/58, 17 IX 1958].
AIPN Po 08/923, 200. Kwestionariusz ewidencyjny [The Survey Record].
AIPN Po 08/923, 194. Notatka dotycząca literata Krynickiego Ryszarda [Notice on Poet Ryszard Krynicki].
AIPN Po 08/923, 271. Notatka z kontroli operacyjnego rozpracowania kryptonim „Renegat”, 30 IX 1974 [Notice on the Inspection of the Renegat Operating Inquiry, 30 IX 1974].
AIPN Po 08/923, 227. Wniosek o przeprowadzenie rozmowy operacyjnej z obywatelem Krynickim Ryszardem, 24 II 1973 [The Application for the Operation Talk with Citizen, Ryszard Krynicki, February 24, 1973].
AIPN Po 08/923, 212. Opinia [Opinion].
Biuro Udostępniania i Archiwizacji Dokumentów Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej [Archives of the Institute of National Remembrance], Wroclaw.
AIPN Wr, 054/960, vol. 8, 58–79, mps. Plan pracy Sekcji IV Wydziału III WUSW we Wrocławiu [The Action Plan of the 4th Section of 3rd Department of the Provincial Internal Affairs Office in Wrocław in 1989].
Biuro Udostępniania i Archiwizacji Dokumentów Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej [Archives of the Institute of National Remembrance], Central, Warsaw.
AIPN, BU 1585/2301, 48. Ważniejsze wydarzenia z udziałem funkcjonariuszy MO. Załącznik do informacji dziennej, 1989-01-05 [More Important Events with Participation of the Civic Militia Officers: An Appendix to Daily Information 1989-01-05].
AIPN, BU 185n/16, 97. Informacja sytuacyjna [The Situational Information].
AIPN, BU 1585/2301, 47. Oceny powołania Komitetu Obywatelskiego przy Lechu Wałęsie. Załącznik do informacji dziennej. Załącznik do informacji dziennej 1989-01-05 [Assessments of Establishing the Citizens’ Committee with Lech Wałęsa. An Appendix to Daily Information 1989-01-05].
“Ankieta historyczna” [Historical Questionnaire]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 3 (2003): 23–50.
“Artyści i SB. Aparat bezpieczeństwa wobec środowisk twórczych. Dyskusja panelowa – 19 kwietnia 2007” [Artists and the Security Service: The Attitude of the Security Apparatus towards Artistic Milieus]. In Artyści a Służba Bezpieczeństwa. Aparat bezpieczeństwa wobec środowisk twórczych [Artists and the Security Service: The Attitude of the Security Apparatus towards Artistic Milieus], edited by Robert Klementowski, and Sebastian Ligarski, 207–40. Wrocław: IPN, 2008.
Bednarek, Jerzy, and Paweł Perzyna, ed. W kręgu teczek. Z badań nad zasobem i funkcjami archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej [In the Circle of the Files: On Research on Resources and Functions of Archives of the Institute of National Remembrance]. Łódź–Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 2007.
Błaszczyk, Tomasz, Krzysztof Brzechczyn, Daniel Ciunajcis, and Michał Kierzkowski, eds. Uwikłania historiografii. Między ideologizacją dziejów a obiektywizmem badawczym [Entanglements of Historiography: Between Ideologization of the Past and Objectivism in Research]. Poznań: IPN, 2011.
Brzechczyn, Krzysztof. “Twórczość Ryszarda Krynickiego w dokumentach SB” [The Work of Ryszard Krynicki in Documents of SB]. Niezależna Gazeta Polska, October 5, 2007, 7–8.
Brzechczyn, Krzysztof. “Protesty przeciwko zdejmowaniu krzyży w szkołach województwa zielonogórskiego w sierpniu-wrześniu 1958 roku” [Protests against Removal of Crosses from Schools of Zielona Góra Voivodeship in August and September, 1958]. In Kultura i społeczeństwo na Środkowym Nadodrzu w XIX i XX wieku [Culture and Society in Środkowe Nadodrze in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries], edited by Przemysław Bartkowiak and Dawid Kotlarek, 234–43. Zielona Góra: Pro Libris, 2008.
Brzechczyn, Krzysztof, ed. Obrazy PRL. O konceptualizacji realnego socjalizmu w Polsce [Pictures of the People’s Republic of Poland: On the Conceptualization of Real Socialism in Poland]. Poznań: IPN, 2008.
Brzechczyn, Krzysztof, ed. Oblicza komunistycznego zniewolenia. Między nauką a literaturą [The Faces of Communist Enslavement: Between Science and Literature]. Poznań: IPN, 2009.
Bułhak, Władysław, Andrzej Chojnowski, Grzegorz Majchrzak, Zbigniew Nawrocki, and Tadeusz Ruzikowski. “Co kryją teczki? O tajnych współpracownikach bezpieki” [What Do the Folders Hide? A Discussion on the Secret Agents of the Security z Andrzejem Chojnowskim]. Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej 3 (2005): 19–20.
Cenckiewicz, Sławomir. “Znaczenie archiwaliów służb specjalnych PRL w studiach nad dziejami NSZZ ‘Solidarność” [The Significance of the Archives of Special Services on the People’s Republic of Poland in the Studies on the NSZZ Solidarność]. In „Solidarność” w imieniu narodu i obywateli [Solidariność on Behalf of the Nation and Citizens], edited by Marek Latoszek, 217–39. Krakow: Arcana, 2005.
Kamiński, Łukasz. “Lingua securitas” [The Language of the Security Service] In Wokół teczek bezpieki. Zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze, edited by Filip Musiał, 393–98. Krakow: IPN, 2006.
Kamiński, Łukasz. “Władza wobec opozycji 1976–1989” [The Attitude of the Authorities towards Opposition, 1976–1989]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 9–32.
Kmita, Jerzy. Wykłady z logiki i metodologii nauk [The Lectures on Logics and the Methodology of the Sciences]. Warsaw: PWN, 1973.
Labuda, Gerard. “Próba nowej systematyki i nowej interpretacji źródeł historycznych” [An Attempt at a New Systematics and New Interpretation of Historical Sources]. Studia Źródłoznawcze 1 (1957): 3–207.
Leszczyński, Adam. Anatomia protestu. Strajki robotnicze w Olsztynie, Sosnowcu i Żyrardowie, sierpień-listopad 1981 [Anatomy of Protest: Workers Strikes in Olsztyn, Sosnowiec and Żyrardów, August – November 1981]. Warsaw: Trio, 2006.
Malinowska, Ewa. “Niekobieca Solidarność” [Unwomanly Solidarność]. In „Solidarność” w imieniu narodu i obywatel, edited by Marek Latoszek, 152–96. Krakow: Arcana, 2005.
Modzelewski, Karol. “Dyktatura ciemniaków” [Dictatorship of Fools]. Gazeta Wyborcza, September 4, 1992, 12.
Musiał, Filip, ed. Osobowe źródła informacji – zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze [Personal Sources of Information: Methodological and Source Studies Issues]. Krakow: Societas Vistulana, 2008.
Musiał, Filip. Podręcznik bezpieki. Teoria pracy operacyjnej Służby Bezpieczeństwa w świetle wydawnictw resortowych Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych PRL [Textbook of the Security Service: Theory of the Operational Work in the Light of Publications of the Ministry of Internal Affairs]. Krakow: IPN, 2007.
Musiał, Filip, ed. Wokół teczek bezpieki – zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze [Around the Files of Security Service: Methodological and Source Studies Issues]. Krakow: IPN, 2006.
Musiał, Filip. “Zamiast wprowadzenia: archiwalia komunistycznego aparatu represji” [In Lieu of an Introduction: Archives of the Communist Apparatus of Repression]. In Wokół teczek bezpieki-zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze, edited by Filip Musiał, 38–56. Krakow: IPN, 2006.
Nowak, Leszek. “O interpretacji adaptacyjnej” [On Adaptive Interpretation]. In Sztuka i jej poznawanie, [Art and Its Recognition], edited by Janusz Grad and Teresa Kostyro, 230–45. Poznań: Bogucki 2008.
Nowak, Leszek. “Remarks on the Christian Model of Man and the Nature of Interpretation.” Social Theory and Practice 15 (1989): 107–17.
Nowinowski, Sławomir M., Jan Pomorski, Rafał Stobiecki, eds. Pamięć i polityka historyczna. Doświadczenia Polski i jej sąsiadów [Memory and Historical Policy: Experiences of Poland and Its Neighbours]. Łódź: IPN, 2008.
“Opozycja w działaniach władz PRL. Dyskusja z udziałem Antoniego Dudka, Jerzego Eislera, Andrzeja Friszke, Henryka Głębockiego, Łukasza Kamińskiego i Grzegorza Waligóry” [Opposition in the Activity of the Authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland: Discussion with Antoni Dudek, Jerzy Eisler, Andrzej Friszke, Henryk Głębocki, Łukasz Kamiński, and Grzegorz Waligóra]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 33–67.
Paczkowski, Andrzej. “Archiwa aparatu bezpieczeństwa PRL jako źródło: co już zrobiono, co można zbadać” [Archives of the Security Apparatus of the People’s Republic of Poland as a Historical Source: What Has Been Already Done, What Can be Investigated]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 3 (2003): 9–21.
Paczkowski, Andrzej. “Bardzo krótki słownik wywiadu” [A Very Short Dictionary of the Intelligence Service]. In Wokół teczek bezpieki – zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze, edited by Filip Musiał, 399–404. Krakow: IPN, 2006.
Piotrowski, Paweł. “Metodologia badania dokumentów dotyczących ‘Solidarności’ wytworzonych przez Służbę Bezpieczeństwa” [The Methodology of Research on Documents Concerning Solidarność Produced by the Security Service]. In Wielkopolska “Solidarność” w materiałach aparatu represji (1980–1989) [Solidarność in Wielkopolska in the Documents of the Apparatus of Repression], edited by Waldemat Handke,11–16. Poznań: IPN, 2006.
Stobiecki, Rafał. Historiografia PRL. Ani dobra, ani mądra, ani piękna… ale skomplikowana [Historiography of the People’s Republic of Poland: Neither Good, nor Wise, nor Beautiful… but Complicated]. Warsaw: Trio, 2007.
Suleja, Włodzimierz. “Złudny czar teczek, czyli ‘teczkowe grzechy główne’” [The Deceptive Charm of the Files or the Files’ Seven Deadly Sins]. In Od Piłsudskiego do Wałęsy. Studia z dziejów Polski w XX wieku [From Piłsudski to Wałęsa: Studies from the History of Poland in the Twentieth Century], edited by Krzysztof Persak, Antoni Dudek, Andrzej Friszke, Łukasz Kamiński, Paweł Machcewicz, Piotr Osęka, Paweł Sowiński, Dariusz Stola, and Marcin Zaremba, 512–16. Warsaw: IPN–ISP PAN, 2008.
Suleja, Włodzimierz. “Miejsce Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej w badaniach nad dziejami PRL” [The Place of the Institute of National Remembrance in Research on the History of the People’s Republics of Poland]. Dzieje Najnowsze 42, no. 3 (2010): 81–112.
Topolski, Jerzy. Teoria wiedzy historycznej [Theory of Historical Knowlegde]. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1983.
Topolski, Jerzy. Metodologia historii [Methodology of History]. Warsaw: PWN, 1984.
Topolski, Jerzy. Jak się pisze i rozumie historię. Tajemnice narracji historycznej [How to Write and Understand History: Secrets of Historical Narrative]. Warsaw: Rytm, 1996.
Witek, Piotr. “Historyk wobec metodologii” [Historian versus Methodology]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 13, no. 2 (2012): 79–102.
Zwiernik, Przemysław. “Rozpracowanie Motorniczego” [Surveillance of Motorists]. Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 347–49.
Zwiernik, Przemysław. “Rozkaz: rozbić podziemie. Działania Służby Bezpieczeństwa wobec poznańskiej opozycji” [Order: Defeat the Underground. The Activity of the Security Service with Regards to the Poznań Oppostion]. Głos Wielkopolski, 9 January, 2007.
1 “Artyści i SB. Aparat bezpieczeństwa wobec środowisk twórczych. Dyskusja panelowa – 19 kwietnia 2007,” in Artyści a Służba Bezpieczeństwa. Aparat bezpieczeństwa wobec środowisk twórczych, ed. Robert Klementowski and Sebastian Ligarski (Wrocław: IPN, 2008), 220.
2 Karol Modzelewski, “Dyktatura ciemniaków,” Gazeta Wyborcza, September 4, 1992: 12.
3 Modzelewski, “Dyktatura ciemniaków,” 12.
4 “Artyści i SB,” 224.
5 Andrzej Paczkowski, “Archiwa aparatu bezpieczeństwa PRL jako źródło: co już zrobiono, co można zbadać,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 3 (2003): 11; Paczkowski’s article details topics the reliable study of which requires documents of the apparatus of repression which were exceptionally valuable; they cover almost all fields of private and public life in the People’s Republic of Poland, Paczkowski, “Archiwa,” 20–21.
6 Andrzej Grajewski, “Ankieta historyczna,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 3 (2003): 36.
7 Sławomir Cenckiewicz, “Znaczenie archiwaliów służb specjalnych PRL w studiach nad dziejami NSZZ ‘Solidarność,’” in “Solidarność” w imieniu narodu i obywateli, ed. Marek Latoszek (Krakow: Arcana, 2005), 218, 220.
8 Andrzej Chojnowski’s opinion in the discussion: “Co kryją teczki? O tajnych współpracownikach bezpieki z Andrzejem Chojnowskim, Grzegorzem Majchrzakiem, Zbigniewem Nawrockim i Tadeuszem Ruzikowskim rozmawia Władysław Bułhak,” Biuletyn IPN 3 (2005): 19–20.
9 Filip Musiał, “Zamiast wprowadzenia: archiwalia komunistycznego aparatu represji,” in Wokół teczek bezpieki-zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze, ed. Filip Musiał (Krakow: IPN, 2006), 56.
10 Paweł Piotrowski, “Metodologia badania dokumentów dotyczących “Solidarności” wytworzonych przez Służbę Bezpieczeństwa,” in Wielkopolska ’Solidarność’ w materiałach aparatu represji (1980–1989), ed. Waldemat Handke (Poznań: IPN, 2006), 13.
11 Adam Leszczyński, Anatomia protestu. Strajki robotnicze w Olsztynie, Sosnowcu i Żyrardowie, sierpień-listopad 1981 (Warsaw: Trio, 2006), 39.
12 Informacja sytuacyjna, IPN, BU 185n/16, 97 quoted in Leszczyński, Anatomia protestu, 40.
13 Leszczyński, Anatomia protestu, 40.
14 Ibid., 40–41.
15 Ibid., 51–54.
16 Oceny powołania Komitetu Obywatelskiego przy Lechu Wałęsie. Załącznik do informacji dziennej, 1989-01-05, IPN, BU 1585/2301, 47.
17 Ważniejsze wydarzenia z udziałem funkcjonariuszy MO. Załącznik do informacji dziennej, 1989-01-05, IPN, BU 1585/2301, 48.
18 Informacja dot.[ycząca] aktualnej sytuacji operacyjno-politycznej. IPN Po 06/215/14/1, 8.
19 Przemysław Zwiernik, “Rozpracowanie Motorniczego,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 347–49.
20 This remark was made by Przemysław Zwiernik, who describes how, as part of “the operating action plan of the Security Service of the Provincial Civic Militia Station in Poznań, aimed at working out and liquidating the existing underground structures of the Independent Self-Governing Trade Union ‘Solidarność in Poznań,’ made in August 1982,” an “annex” was added to the plan in which “special operating care” (an expression used by the Security Service) was applied to father Tomasz Alexiewicz and father Honoriusz Stanisław Kowalczyk. The “annex” to the operating action plan has not yet been found. It is worth mentioning that father Honoriusz died in a car accident the circumstances of which remained shrouded in mystery in April 1983; see: Przemysław Zwiernik, “Rozkaz: rozbić podziemie. Działania Służby Bezpieczeństwa wobec poznańskiej opozycji,” Głos Wielkopolski, January 9, 2007.
21 Jerzy Topolski, Metodologia historii (Warsaw: PWN, 1984), 324.
22 Jerzy Topolski, Teoria wiedzy historycznej (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 1983), 257.
23 Jerzy Kmita, Wykłady z logiki i metodologii nauk (Warsaw: PWN, 1973), 32–33, 210–11.
24 Topolski, Teoria, 263.
25 For further details, see: Krzysztof Brzechczyn, “Protesty przeciwko zdejmowaniu krzyży w szkołach województwa zielonogórskiego w sierpniu-wrześniu 1958 roku,” in Kultura i społeczeństwo na Środkowym Nadodrzu w XIX i XX wieku, ed. Przemysław Bartkowiak and Dawid Kotlarek (Zielona Góra: Pro Libris, 2008), 234–43.
26 Informacja nr 61/58, 17 IX 1958, IPN Po 060/44/55, vol. 85, 110.
27 It is worth citing opinions of female members of the Solidarity underground movement involved in publishing the Tygodnik Mazowsze, “(...) the Security Service didn’t take us for granted. It didn’t cross their mind that a woman, when it’s dark, won’t be afraid of going across the park or along the cemetery. The stereotype that a woman is less intelligent and won’t be part of the underground movement or have operational concepts, find a radio station, or lead this movement (...) in this case it acted for our benefit.” “We had the feeling that we were living in a ‘macho’ state and hence men were caught much more easily, whereas women were beyond all suspicion.”; Ewa Malinowska, “Niekobieca Solidarność,” in “Solidarność,” 141.
28 Topolski, Metodologia, 329.; Idem, Teoria, 260.
29 Idem, Metodologia, 329.
30 Idem, Teoria, 260.
31 Ibid., 260.
32 Idem, Jak się pisze i rozumie historię. Tajemnice narracji historycznej (Warsaw: Rytm, 1996), 340.
33 Ibid., 341.
34 Idem, Teoria, 260.
35 Idem, Jak się pisze, 346.
36 Łukasz Kamiński, “Lingua securitas,” in Wokół teczek bezpieki. Zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze, ed. Filip Musiał (Krakow: IPN, 2006), 393–98; Andrzej Paczkowski, “Bardzo krótki słownik wywiadu,” in Wokół teczek bezpieki, 399–404; Filip Musiał, Podręcznik bezpieki. Teoria pracy operacyjnej Służby Bezpieczeństwa w świetle wydawnictw resortowych Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych PRL (Krakow: IPN, 2007), 325–52.
37 Although a secret collaborator might often have thought that the information he or she passed on was solely for the consumption of the officer to whom he or she reported, about 20 to 30 people in the Ministry had knowledge of the secret collaborator’s registration and access to his or her denunciations; Z. Nawrocki, statements in the discussion: “Co kryją teczki?” Biuletyn IPN 3 (2005): 15–16.
38 Gerard Labuda, “Próba nowej systematyki i nowej interpretacji źródeł historycznych,” Studia Źródłoznawcze 1 (1957): 22; in another version of his definition, Labuda referred to the historical source as “a product of (…) natural and social processes.” (Ibid., 22).
39 Ibid., 24.
40 Ibid., 23, 27.
41 Ibid., 33.
42 Ibid., 323.
43 Łukasz Kamiński, “Władza wobec opozycji 1976–1989,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 9–32, and “Opozycja w działaniach władz PRL. Dyskusja z udziałem Antoniego Dudka, Jerzego Eislera, Andrzeja Friszke, Henryka Głębockiego, Łukasza Kamińskiego i Grzegorza Waligóry,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 4 (2003): 33–67.
44 Plan pracy Sekcji IV Wydziału III WUSW we Wrocławiu, AIPN Wr, 054/960, vol. 8. 78, mps.
45 For further details, see Krzysztof Brzechczyn, “Twórczość Ryszarda Krynickiego w dokumentach SB,” Niezależna Gazeta Polska (October 5, 2007): 7–8.
46 Opinia, AIPN Po 08/923, 212.
47 Wniosek o przeprowadzenie rozmowy operacyjnej z obywatelem Krynickim Ryszardem, 24 II 1973, AIPN Po 08/923, 227.
48 Kwestionariusz ewidencyjny, AIPN Po 08/923, 200.
49 Informacja dotycząca Ryszarda Krynickiego, AIPN Po 08/923, 115.
50 Notatka dotycząca literata Krynickiego Ryszarda, AIPN Po 08/923, 194.
51 Notatka z kontroli operacyjnego rozpracowania kryptonim “Renegat”, 30 IX 1974, AIPN Po 08/923, 271.
52 Leszek Nowak, “Remarks on the Christian Model of Man and the Nature of Interpretation,” Social Theory and Practice 15 (1989): 107–17. Leszek Nowak, “O interpretacji adaptacyjnej,” in Sztuka i jej poznawanie, ed. Janusz Grad and Teresa Kostyrko (Poznań: Bogucki 2008), 230–42.
53 Both types of interpretation are considered correct provided that they comply with some conditions: they contain no self-contradictions, they cover the entire text, etc. These criteria were not met by the interpretation of poetry included in the Security Service activity and focused on one issue, threats to the stabilization of political power in the People’s Republic of Poland.
54 Włodzimierz Suleja, “Złudny czar teczek, czyli ‘teczkowe grzechy główne,’” in Od Piłsudskiego do Wałęsy. Studia z dziejów Polski w XX wieku, ed. Krzysztof Persak, Antoni Dudek, Andrzej Friszke, Łukasz Kamiński, Paweł Machcewicz, Piotr Osęka, Paweł Sowiński, Dariusz Stola, Marcin Zaremba (Warsaw: IPN/ISP PAN, 2008), 512–16. The global assessment of the historiographical output of the IPN, see: Włodzimierz Suleja, “Miejsce Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej w badaniach nad dziejami PRL,” Dzieje Najnowsze 3 (2010): 81–112.
55 Suleja, “Złudny czar,” 513. Cf. Jerzy Eisler’s opinion in: “Ankieta historyczna,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 1, no. 3 (2003): 29.
56 Suleja, “Złudny,” 514.
57 Cenckiewicz, “Znaczenie archiwaliów,” 218. it is also noteworthy that in the aforesaid article this historian contended that the only obstacles that impeded the use of sources made by the apparatus of repression of the People’s Republic of Poland were the incompleteness and disorder of archival records maintained by the IPN.
58 For example, a journalist of a large daily paper critically evaluated the scientific output of a regional IPN branch in a large city and considered it too “conservative” because employees of the Public Education Regional Office of the Institute of National Remembrance (OBEP IPN) revealed too few security secret collaborators in comparison with other branches. About disputes on the history of the People’s Republic of Poland, see: Rafał Stobiecki, Historiografia PRL. Ani dobra, ani mądra, ani piękna… ale skomplikowana (Warsaw: Trio, 2007), 299–345.
59 The following works merit mention in this context: Filip Musiał, ed., Wokół teczek bezpieki – zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze (Krakow: IPN, 2006); Filip Musiał, Podręcznik bezpieki. Teoria pracy operacyjnej Służby Bezpieczeństwa w świetle wydawnictw resortowych Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych PRL (Krakow: IPN, 2007); J. Bednarek, P. Perzyna, ed., W kręgu teczek. Z badań nad zasobem i funkcjami archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej (Łódź–Toruń: Adam Marszałek, 2007); Filip Musiał, ed. Osobowe źródła informacji - zagadnienia metodologiczno-źródłoznawcze (Krakow: Societas Vistulana, 2008). Critically, on the methodological output of IPN, see: Piotr Witek, “Historyk wobec metodologii,” Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość 2 (2012): 79–102.
60 The following works merit mention in this context: Krzysztof Brzechczyn, ed., Oblicza komunistycznego zniewolenia. Między nauką a literaturą (Poznań: IPN, 2009); Krzysztof Brzechczyn, ed., Obrazy PRL. O konceptualizacji realnego socjalizmu w Polsce (Poznań: IPN, 2008); Sławomir M. Nowinowski, Jan Pomorski, Rafał Stobiecki, eds., Pamięć i polityka historyczna. Doświadczenia Polski i jej sąsiadów (Łódź: IPN, 2008), Tomasz Błaszczyk, Krzysztof Brzechczyn, Daniel Ciunajcis, Michał Kierzkowski, eds., Uwikłania historiografii. Między ideologizacją dziejów a obiektywizmem badawczym (Poznań: IPN, 2011).
61 Suleja, “Złudny,” 513.