Like a ready-made Hollywood drama about Cold War-era Eastern Europe, this story begins in the house of Czeslaw Kiszczak, a deceased Communist general and the former Polish interior minister.
It was there that new documents were seized this week that appear to show that Lech Walesa—the shipyard worker and founder of Poland’s anti-Communist Solidarity movement—was a paid informant for the Communist regime he later brought down. Walesa eventually won a Nobel Prize for his democracy promotion and became Poland’s first president after the fall of Berlin Wall.
This is, in some ways, old news. Walesa previously admitted to having been an informant, which was not uncommon at the time. Walesa maintains that he never collaborated with the government then and, in 2000, a special court cleared him of any wrongdoing. (The Polish government still prosecutes Communist-era crimes.)
But the specifics of the documents claim to show new evidence that would link Walesa to actual work for the government from 1970 until 1976.
“Among the documents in the file there are also handwritten and signed with the nickname ‘Bolek,’ confirmations of receipt of money,” a press release read from the Institute of National Remembrance, which is holding the papers.