Ryszard Kapuscinski: Polish historian outed as communist spy

Historians in the News

He was among Poland's most acclaimed and respected writers. His works based on his travels across Africa and Latin America, including his bestknown book The Emperor chronicling the downfall of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, put him on course to be tipped for the Nobel Prize.

So why has the distinguished journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, who died last January at 74, been posthumously "outed" as a spy for the communist-era secret police, and his reputation tarnished for ever?

The revelation, in a Polish weekly magazine last week, which prompted an outraged denial from his widow, was the latest damaging leak to emerge from the Institute of National Remembrance where the secret files are held.

Poland has unfinished business with its Soviet-era past, and the stage-managed leaks by historians with access to the archives are part of a political war as the country moves to expose collaborators almost two decades after the fall of communism.

The debate, now focusing on whether the 53 miles of secret files should be thrown open completely, has split families and the political elite. The turmoil has divided the historic figures of the Solidarity movement, the trade union that opened the way to democracy in Poland.
Read entire article at Independent (UK)

comments powered by Disqus