Polish Cold War hero memorabilia presented in Warsaw

Several hundred letters, documents and memorabilia of the Polish Cold War-era hero Generał Ryszard Kukliński, which have been submitted for conservation were presented on Friday at the Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) in Warsaw.

“Ryszard Kukliński, the person and archival materials associated with his tragic fate, are an amazing and unique source of information, but also carries an emotional message”, said the deputy head-director of the State Archives Joanna Chojecka.

Among the documents presented are Ryszard Kukliński's passport, issued to him at the beginning of 1998 after rehabilitation, the power of attorney for Józef Szaniawski regarding the organisation of Kuklinski's return to Poland, power of attorney for Józef Szaniawski regarding the organisation of funeral ceremonies of the general and others.

AAN Deputy Director Mariusz Olczak recalled that the documents have been a part of the exhibition which travelled most of Europe and many parts of the world - from West Point to Washington through Strasbourg. “These are places important for passing on the Polish history narrative," he stressed.

Ryszard Kukliński was a Polish officer and Cold War spy for the CIA. Between 1972 and 1981, he covertly provided the United States with 35,000 pages of mostly Soviet secret documents about Warsaw Pact's strategic plans regarding the use of nuclear weapons, technical data and military equipment, as well as the intelligence methods used by the Soviets.

After he managed to flee from Poland, on May 23, 1984, he was sentenced to death in absentia for desertion and treason by a military court in Warsaw. In 1995, the Supreme Court lifted the sentence against Kukliński. Two years later, he was rehabilitated. Ryszard Kukliński died on February 11, 2004 in Florida, US.

Click here to read more about General Kukliński.