Brest trials

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Satirical drawing from "Hasło Łódzkie" newspaper, 5 October 1930. The text: "From the series: 'Most popular Polish spa towns' - Brest-on-the-Bug." The picture is a reference to the Brest trial and the "Brest elections", when many Polish politicians of the Centrolew party were imprisoned in the Brest Fortress (pictured).

The Brest trials (Polish: Proces brzeski) were among the most famous trials conducted under the Second Polish Republic. Lasting from 26 October 1931 to 13 January 1932, they were held at the Warsaw Regional Court where leaders of the Centrolew, a "Center-Left" anti-Sanation-government political-opposition movement, were tried.


The Polish Sanation government had invalidated the May 1930 election results by disbanding the parliament in August[1] and with increasing pressure on the opposition started a new campaign, the new elections being scheduled for November.[2] Using anti-government demonstrations as a pretext, 20 members of the opposition,[1] including most of the leaders of the Centrolew alliance (from Polish Socialist Party, Polish People's Party "Piast" and Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie") were arrested[3] in September without a warrant, only strictly on the order of Józef Piłsudski and the then Minister of Internal Security, Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski, accusing them of plotting an anti-government coup.[4]

The opposition members (who included the former prime minister Wincenty Witos, and Wojciech Korfanty) were imprisoned in the Brest Fortress, where their trial took place (thus the popular name for the election: the 'Brest election'). A number of less known activists were also arrested throughout the country.[1] They were released after the end of the election in the same month. The Brest trial ended in January 1932, with 10 accused receiving sentences up to three years of imprisonment; the appeals of 1933 confirmed the sentences. The government however gave the accused the choice of emigrating: five of them did so, the other five stayed on in Poland to serve the prison term instead.[3]

L.p. Accused Party allegiance Defender(s) Sentence
1. Herman Lieberman PPS Eugeniusz Śmiarowski, Ludwik Honigwill, Leopold Potok 2.5 years
2. Norbert Barlicki PPS Leon Berenson, Zygmunt Nagórski 2.5 years
3. Stanisław Dubois PPS Stanisław Benkiel, Kazimierz Sterling 3 years
4. Mieczysław Mastek PPS Mieczysław Rudziński, Wacław Barcikowski 3 years
5. Adam Pragier PPS Leon Berenson, Jan Nowodworski 3 years
6. Adam Ciołkosz PPS Jan Dąbrowski, Antoni Landau 3 years
7. Wincenty Witos PSL "Piast" Stanisław Szurlej 1.5 years
8. Władysław Kiernik PSL "Piast" Stefan Urbanowicz 2.5 years
9. Kazimierz Bagiński PSL "Wyzwolenie" E. Śmiarowski, Zygmunt Graliński 2 years
10. Józef Putek PSL "Wyzwolenie" Wacław Szumański, Mieczysław Jarosz (od 02.11.1931), Zygmunt Graliński 3 years
11. Adolf Sawicki SCh Kazimierz Ujazdowski, Tomasz Czernicki declared innocent


  1. ^ a b c Andrzej Paczkowski; Jane Cave (2003). The spring will be ours: Poland and the Poles from occupation to freedom. Penn State Press. p. 28-. ISBN 978-0-271-02308-3. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  2. ^ Timothy Snyder (2005). Sketches from a secret war: a Polish artist's mission to liberate Soviet Ukraine. Yale University Press. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-0-300-10670-1. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b Richard Crampton; Ben Crampton (1997). Atlas of Eastern Europe in the twentieth century. Routledge. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-0-415-16461-0. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
  4. ^ Anna M. Cienciala (Fall 2007) [2002]. "DOMESTIC PROBLEMS AND FOREIGN POLICIES OF INTERWAR EAST EUROPEAN STATES". Retrieved 2011-11-14.

External links[edit]

Media related to Brest trial at Wikimedia Commons