Jerzy Targalski, a historian, doctor of humanities, political scientist, publicist, and opposition activist in communist-era Poland passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 69.
Jerzy Targalski was born on July 28, 1952 in Łódź. In 1976, he graduated from the Faculty of History at the University of Warsaw, and a year later, he studied in Ancient East Philology at the Institute of Oriental Studies at the University of Warsaw. In the years 1976-79 he was a doctoral student at the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw, and in the period 1980-81 he was a researcher at the Institute of History of the University of Warsaw.
Although he had an episode in the communist party (PZPR), Mr Targalski was an active member of the anti-communist opposition during the Polish People’s Republic (PRL). He collaborated with the Workers’ Defence Committee (KOR) and published a number of underground magazines, he also cooperated with the Paris-based Culture and Radio Free Europe.
In the years 2006-2009, he was a member of the Management Board of Polish Radio.
In the scientific field, Jerzy Targalski dealt with the issues of systemic transformations in Central and Eastern Europe at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, and especially the role of the secret services in these transformations.
He repeatedly pointed out the dangers connected with the excessive role of the Security Service (SB) and Military Information Services (WSI) officers and their secret collaborators in Poland after the political transformation in 1989. He was an avid supporter of lustration and decommunisation.
He was the author of the famous series of publications about the children of the PRL elites, a lecturer at the University of Warsaw, head of the analytical unit of the Military Arts Academy.
In 2020, President Andrzej Duda presented him the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity, and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.