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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » May 28, 2008
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Public Figures Stand Up for Wałęsa
May 28, 2008   
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A group of Polish politicians and prominent media and culture figures have written a letter in support of former Solidarity leader and ex-president Lech Wałęsa ahead of the planned launch of a book detailing his alleged ties with former communist security services.

In the letter, published May 21, they called the book the latest step in a "campaign of hatred and defamation that targets Lech Wałęsa and is designed to destroy Polish national memory." They said the book was aimed at destroying the image and authority of the legendary leader of the Solidarity movement. They also expressed their "highest respect" for Wałęsa, and said they trusted him and wanted to show solidarity with him.

The book is to be published in the next several weeks. Reportedly, it is based on documents provided by historians Sławomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, who work for the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), an authority that keeps and analyzes communist-era files. Reports suggest the book will include previously unpublished early-1970s documents testifying to Wałęsa's supposed contacts with the communist security service, the SB. Allegations that Wałęsa collaborated with the SB, as an agent codenamed Bolek, first appeared in the 1990s. Wałęsa denied the allegations, but the issue has rumbled on for years despite a court ruling in 1995 that the accusations were unfounded.

Wałęsa said he was ready to appear at a press conference promoting the book in order to "ask the writers some questions." He said he would present evidence showing that he was never a communist informer and would reveal the true identity of Agent Bolek.

The appeal in defense of Wałęsa was signed by public figures including former prime ministers Jerzy Buzek and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, former Foreign Minister Władysław Bartoszewski, Nobel Prize-winning poet Wisława Szymborska, and Oscar-winning film director Andrzej Wajda.
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