Jerzy Urban

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Jerzy Urban
Born (1933-08-03) 3 August 1933 (age 85)
Łódź, Poland
Nationality Polish-Jewish
Other names Jerzy Kibic, Jan Rem, Jerzy Urbach
Occupation Journalist, commentator, writer, politician
Net worth PLN 105 million (as of 2005)[1]
Spouse(s) 1. Karyna Andrzejewska (divorced)
2. Małgorzata Daniszewska
Children 1 (daughter)
Parent(s) Jan Urban
Maria Urban (née Brodacz)

Jerzy Urban (Polish pronunciation: [ˈjɛʐɨ ˈurban]), also known as: Jerzy Kibic, Jan Rem, Klakson (born 3 August 1933 in Łódź) born Jerzy Urbach, is a Polish journalist, commentator, writer and politician, editor-in-chief of the weekly Nie ("No").


Before 1989[edit]

Urban was born into an assimilated Polish-Jewish family in Łódź. His father was an activist of the Polish Socialist Party as well as the Bund. In 1939, during the issuing of his Soviet ID in Soviet-occupied Lwow, an official confused the letters in his name (chх in Russian, was transcribed as н – corresponding to the Latin n). Nevertheless, his parents decided not to correct the error, a move which possibly saved their lives when Germany seized Lwow in 1941.

Jerzy Urban reportedly attended 17 different primary and high schools and completed his senior high school exams as an external student. He also studied at the University of Warsaw but was expelled. He started his journalistic career at the Nowa Wieś.

From 1955 to 1957, he was a reporter and commentator for the weekly Po prostu, which started during the "rehabilitation" of Władysław Gomułka, who eventually became communist party leader. However, the newspaper was closed by the personal initiative of Gomułka; this symbolized the end of the thaw which the Prime Minister had himself started. The newspaper was shut down mainly because of the biting, uncompromising opinion articles by Urban. Urban himself was officially banned from publishing under his own name. From 1961, he worked for the weekly Polityka, continuing his opinion pieces under pseudonyms. He was eventually totally forbidden from carrying out any journalistic activities. This ban continued until Gomułka lost power as party leader.

From August 1981 to April 1989, Jerzy Urban was a government spokesman and press secretary to General Wojciech Jaruzelski's .[2] He created the tradition of weekly press conferences, transmitted by the Polish television and attended by both Polish and foreign journalists.[2]

In September 1984, during the month before the murder of the priest Jerzy Popiełuszko, he wrote a column "Seanse nienawiści" (hate session), criticizing the priest as an anti-communist Savonarola.[3]

In 1986 Urban masterminded a media story that the United States had betrayed the Solidarity movement. On 3 June he met with a Washington Post reporter and told him that a Polish spy for the CIA, who was later identified as Ryszard Kukliński, was aware of the plan to install martial law in 1981 and had passed that information on to Washington. "The US administration could have publicly revealed these plans to the world and warned Solidarity," Urban said, "Had it done so, the implementation of martial law would have been impossible."[4] At a 6 June press conference Urban alleged that "Washington ... did not warn its allies. It did not boast of its agent as it customarily does." According to Urban, the Reagan administration had "lied to its own people and to its friends in Poland," when it denied having prior knowledge of martial law.

After 1989[edit]

During the semi-free elections in 1989, Urban campaigned as an independent (he was actually never a member of the PZPR). He suffered a landslide defeat and since then gave up attempts to actively participate in politics.

In 1989 he established Nie, a satirical weekly newspaper,[2] infamous for often employing profanity in its pages. He has been the chief editor ever since and the newspaper itself has sizable audience.

In 2005, he was fined by a Polish court for insulting the visiting Pope John Paul II.[5]

Personal life and views[edit]

Urban married three times.[2] He describes himself as atheist.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jerzy Urban - emeryt i milioner". Praca. 21 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Lawrence Weschler (11 December 1995). "Urban Blight". The New Yorker: 54. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Jan Rem, Seanse Nienawiści, "Tu i Teraz", 19 września 1984 r.
  4. ^ Bob Woodward and Michael Dobbs, "CIA had Secret Agent on Polish General Staff," The Washington Post, 4 June 1986, p. A1.
  5. ^, "Criminal Defamation Laws Hamper Free Expression", Retrieved 22 September 2006
  6. ^ "Urban znów szokuje: oszukałem Kościół!". Wiadomosci. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 

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