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Spy claims reemerge against Lech Walesa

February 17, 2016

The hero of Polish independence, Lech Walesa, has rejected renewed accusations of working for the Communist-era secret police in the 1970s. Polish officials found documents that might be linked to the issue.

Deutschland Lech Walesa in Berlin
Image: Reuters/M. Schreiber

Former Polish President Walesa fought back against the allegations on Thursday, in the latest chapter of a long-running debate about his past.

"You can't change the facts with your lies, allegations and counterfeits," wrote the 72-year-old Nobel Peace laureate and the former leader of the Solidarity movement.

Walesa published a blog in response to a statement from Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a body tasked with investigating crimes under Nazi and Communist rule.

On Tuesday, IPN said they found a handwritten piece of paper from 1974, describing a conversation between an agent named "Bolek" and a secret police official. The codename "Bolek" is often mentioned as Walesa's alleged alias.

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Authorities also seized six packets of documents and photographs in the house of late Czeslaw Kiszczak, the last interior minister of the Communist regime.

The officials say they learned about the papers from Kiszczak's widow, when she tried to sell them to the Institute for $23,000 (20,000 euros). The institute, however, raided the house, invoking the Polish law which allows the seizure of documents held "illegally."

IPN prosecutors and other experts were checking the authenticity and the contest of the seized material.

Kaczynski vs. Walesa

The current defense minister, Antoni Macierewicz, published a list in 1992 where he named Walesa as "Bolek," along with some 60 other suspected agents. At the time, the former Solidarity leader was serving as the president of Poland.

Walesa has repeatedly denied the spying accusation as "absurd." However, the rumors persisted, even after a special vetting court cleared him in 2000.

In 2008, two Polish historians published a book on the subject.

Former President Lech Kaczynski also claimed that Walesa cooperated with the secret police. Walesa sued the conservative politician, but withdrew the case after Kaczynski died in a 2010 plane crash.

Lech Kaczynski is the twin brother of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the current leader of the ruling Law and Justice party.

dj/kms (AFP, AP)