Stefan Michnik

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Stefan Michnik
POL Warsaw WSR Koszykowa2.jpg
Stefan Michnik's place of work at Koszykowa Street in Warsaw, Regional Military Court (Wojskowy Sąd Rejonowy, WSR)
Born 28 September 1929
Drohobycz, prewar Second Polish Republic (now Ukraine)
Other names Karol Szwedowicz
nom de guerre Kazimierczak
Citizenship Polish, Swedish
Occupation Stalinist judge, security agent.[1]
Known for State Security Services (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa)

Stefan Michnik - born 28 September 1929 in Drohobycz (Second Polish Republic, now Drohobych, Ukraine), captain Polish People's Army, is a communist former Stalinist judge operating in postwar Poland; implicated in the arrest, internment and staged execution of a number of Polish resistance fighters.[3] Accused of communist crimes. He lives in Sweden.[4]


Stefan Michnik was the son of Helena Michnik and Samuel Rosenbusch nicknamed "Emil" or "Miłek" (born around 1904). His mother was a Polish-Jewish teacher in Drogobych and the activist of the Communist Party of Western Ukraine as well as the Communist Party of Poland, and the Stalinist Union of Polish Patriots. His father was a Jewish lawyer and communist activist, executed around 1937 in the Soviet Union during the Great Purge.

Michnik's half-brother (on his mother's side) is Adam Michnik.[5]

Stalinist past[edit]

Stefan Michnik became a Stalinist judge in postwar Poland after completing an 8-month course for communist military judges in Jelenia Góra, his only relevant education.[6] He was first recruited by the Information Bureau under the pseudonym Kazimierczak but fired 11 months later for his ineptitude with severance pay of 1,000 zloty.[6] At the beginning of 1951 Michnik was assigned a position with the Regional Military Court (Wojskowy Sąd Rejonowy, WSR) in Warsaw and – only two weeks later – imposed his first sentence against Stanisław Bronarski,[6] charged with membership in the AK, NSZ and NZW. Bronarski (exonerated in post-communist Poland)[7] was given 5 consecutive death sentences and executed on 18 January 1951 at the Mokotów Prison.[7] Michnik took part in the so-called Trial of the Generals dubbed a judicial murder by historians, with 40 death sentences pronounced in the fall of 1951, half of them carried out (see list of the 21 executed officers by name,[8] with Stefan Michnik as one of the sentencing judges).[8] After the collapse of communism he was formally implicated by Poland in the arrest, internment and staged execution of a number of Polish resistance fighters charged with anti-communist activities.[6] Most of them were officers of the Polish Army who fought against Nazi Germany in World War II.[2]

The list of Polish Army officers sentenced personally by Michnik,[9] and rehabilitated without exception (also posthumously) included:

  1. Major Zefiryn Machalla - death sentence given by Michnik, the jury took a joint decision not to allow defense in the proceedings; Machalla's family was not informed about the execution,
  2. Colonel Maksymilian Chojecki - death sentence, not executed,
  3. Major Andrzej Rudolf Czaykowski - death sentence, Michnik participated personally in his execution,
  4. Major Jerzy Lewandowski - death sentence, not executed,
  5. Colonel Stanisław Wecki - lecturer at the Academy of the General Staff, sentenced to 13 years in prison, died as a result of torture,
  6. Major Zenon Tarasiewicz, case Sr 12/52, 12 years
  7. Colonel Romuald Sidorski - editor in Chief of the Quartermaster Review, sentenced to 12 years in prison, died because of lack of medical assistance,
  8. Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Kowalski,
  9. Major Karol Sęk - artilleryman from Radom, officer of the National Armed Forces, death sentence, executed in 1952.

Michnik left Poland for Sweden (he was denied US visa) during the 1968 Polish political crisis. He lived as a retired librarian in a small town of Storvreta near Uppsala.[1][9][10] He is currently in a nursing home in Gothenburg.

He was one of the collaborators in Paris "Culture", where he published as Karol Szwedowicz and under his own name.

Since August 2007 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance deliberated on motion for a request of his extradition.[2] On 25 February 2010 Military Garrison Court in Warsaw at the request of the investigation division of the IPN issued an official arrest warrant for Stefan Michnik.[11] In October 2010 Polish prosecutors issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) on the same basis.[12] On 18 November 2010 the court in Uppsala refused to extradite Stefan Michnik back to Poland explaining that his criminal acts (see communist crime) committed in Poland fall under the statute of limitations in Sweden.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Piotr Gontarczyk, "Agent Michnik", Wprost weekly, No: 30/2007 (1283), accessed 31 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Maciej Korkuć, IPN, "Fachowiec bezprawia. Dlaczego IPN chce ekstradycji stalinowskiego sędziego Stefana Michnika," Wprost weekly, No. 8/2007. See also: Serwis prasowy IPN (press release); 20 February 2007. Institute of National Remembrance
  3. ^ IPN (2007). "Przegląd mediów - 20 lutego 2007". Instytut Pamięci Narodowej. Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Tadeusz M. Płużański. "Stefan Michnik". Oczekujemy kolejnych ekstradycji. Publicystyka Antysocjalistycznego Mazowsza. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Pacholczykowa, Alicja (2010–2011). "Ozjasz Szechter". Polski Słownik Biograficzny. 47. Polska Akademia Nauk & Polska Akademia Umiejętności. p. 585. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dr. Piotr Gontarczyk, Agent Michnik. Wprost, 30/2007 (1283). Page 2 and 3.
  7. ^ a b Paweł Felczak (2012-03-02), Bohaterowie, a nie zbrodniarze. Płock for You. Aktualności.
  8. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Polish Wikisource has original text related to this article: Raport komisji Mazura/Rozdział III
  9. ^ a b Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, IPN, "Sędzia Stefan Michnik Klasowo i politycznie czujny..." Nasz Dziennik, No. 48 (2761), 26 February 2007.
  10. ^ Jerzy Stokowski, "Zbrodnie w majestacie prawa 1944-1956 (III)" Edukacja Prawnicza, 12 (75) December 2005. Made available by Fundacja Pomocy Młodocianym Więźniom Politycznym lat 1944-1956 "Jaworzniacy"; Jerzy Stokowski, Jerzy Prószyński.
  11. ^ Polish Press Agency (PAP), "Wydano nakaz aresztowania stalinowskiego sędziego Stefana M.", 25 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Nakaz aresztowania stalinowskiego sędziego już w Szwecji.", 27 October 2010, accessed 31 January 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aldona Zaorska, Sąsiedzi. Najbardziej okrutni oprawcy polskich patriotów, Warszawa 2012, ISBN 978-83-932704-4-6.