Stefan Michnik

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Stefan Michnik
Born28 September 1929
Drohobycz, prewar Second Polish Republic (now Ukraine)
Other namesKarol Szwedowicz
nom de guerre Kazimierczak
CitizenshipPolish, Swedish
OccupationJudge, security agent.[1]
Known forState Security Services (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa)
Stefan Michnik's place of work at Koszykowa Street in Warsaw, Regional Military Court (Wojskowy Sąd Rejonowy, WSR)

Stefan Michnik, born 28 September 1929, in Drohobycz (at the time, part of the Second Polish Republic; now Drohobych, Ukraine), is a former Stalinist military judge of the Soviet-dominated regime in post-World War II Poland, and a former captain in the communist Polish People's Army. He was involved in the politically-motivated arrest, trial, imprisonment and/or execution of a number Polish anti-communist fighters and activists.[2] Many of those persecuted by Michnik also fought against Nazi Germany during World War II, as members of Polish resistance.[3]

After De-Stalinization into exile in 1968, Michnik has lived in Storvreta, Sweden.[4]

After the collapse communism in Poland (1989), Michnik was formally implicated by the Polish justice system in zbrodnie komunistyczne ("communist crimes") relating to his tenure as a military judge.[5]

Life[edit]

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 an activist for the Communist Party of Western Ukraine , 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,[6] the editor-in-chief of the Polish newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza.

Judicial career[edit]

Michnik became a judge in postwar Poland after completing an eight-month course for military judges in Jelenia Góra.[5] He was first recruited by the Information Bureau under the pseudonym Kazimierczak but fired 11 months later, and was given severance pay of 1,000 zloty.[5]

At the beginning of 1951 Michnik was assigned a position with the Warsaw Regional Military Court (Wojskowy Sąd Rejonowy, WSR) and two weeks later imposed his first sentence against Stanisław Bronarski,[5] charged with anticommunist activities, while he was a member of the AK, NSZ and NZW. Bronarski (exonerated in post-communist Poland)[7] was given five consecutive death sentences and executed on 18 January 1951 at the Mokotów Prison.[7] Michnik took part in the 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]

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, and 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, and died because of lack of medical assistance;
  8. Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Kowalski, and;
  9. Major Karol Sęk - artilleryman from Radom, officer of the anticommunist National Armed Forces, and death sentence, executed in 1952.

Emigration[edit]

After being denied a US visa, Michnik fled Poland for Sweden during 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 a contributor to Culture, Polish-émigré literary-political magazine, for which he wrote articles both as Karol Szwedowicz and under his own name.

Since August 2007 the Polish Institute of National Remembrance deliberated on a motion to request his extradition.[3] On 25 February 2010, the 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 alleged criminal acts (see communist crime) committed in Poland fall outside the statute of limitations in Sweden.

On November 8, 2018, the Military Court in Warsaw issued for the second time a European Arrest Warrant in connection with 30 offences that Michnik committed in the years 1952-53 against representatives of the democratic opposition and former members of the Underground State, including unlawful death sentences.[13]

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. ^ IPN (2007). "Przegląd mediów - 20 lutego 2007". Instytut Pamięci Narodowej. Archived from the original on 16 October 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b 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
  4. ^ Tadeusz M. Płużański. "Stefan Michnik". Oczekujemy kolejnych ekstradycji. Publicystyka Antysocjalistycznego Mazowsza. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Dr. Piotr Gontarczyk, Agent Michnik. Wprost, 30/2007 (1283). Page 2 and 3.
  6. ^ Pacholczykowa, Alicja (2010–2011). "Ozjasz Szechter". Polski Słownik Biograficzny. 47. Polska Akademia Nauk & Polska Akademia Umiejętności. p. 585.
  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." Gazeta.pl, 25 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Nakaz aresztowania stalinowskiego sędziego już w Szwecji." Gazeta.pl, 27 October 2010, accessed 31 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Nakaz aresztowania Stefana Michnika". wyborcza.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-11-09.

Further reading[edit]

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