Strictly controlled, or available to the public? The debate on the of archives of former communist secret services and practical solutions. The case of Poland after the transition to democracy

Dr Władysław Bułhak

Dr Rafał Leśkiewicz

In their complementary speeches in the discussion, Dr Bułhak and Dr Leśkiewicz will both appear in two roles – professional historians and witnesses of history; co-authors of the policy of the Institute of National Remembrance on declassifying the documentation of the former special services of communist Poland.

After a brief outline of the political and historical context, Dr Bulhak will present the perspective of a historian and a specialist in historical education on the discussed subject.  For him, the dissemination of knowledge about the contents of secret archives of the former communist security apparatus was the primary goal of existence, and the main task, and for many also the mission of the Institute of National Remembrance established in 1998 in its present form.  The speaker will refer to the broader concepts of "transition to democracy", "historical policy" and "political justice".

Dr Leśkiewicz's speech will be the voice of a practitioner - historian, lawyer and archivist specialising in archiving and providing access to documentation of former special services, conducted in close cooperation with their contemporary counterparts under the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance. In his part of the presentation, he will discuss the evolution of the rules on access to the secret communist services, with particular reference to the legal acts regulating this process, and its other practical and political aspects.

Dr Leśkiewicz will also briefly present the cooperation between similar archives in the former Soviet bloc countries in the framework of the "European Network of Official Authorities in Charge of the Secret-Police Files”, established in 2008. The achievement of which will be the publication of materials from the multilateral meetings of the Eastern Bloc intelligence services in the years 1955-1988 in the form of a dedicated web portal.

Karl Lorentz Kleve