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Albert Gates

Trial of Sixteen Poles Shows
Moscow Domination of Poland

(June 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 26, 25 June 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A new Polish delegation, headed by former Premier Mikolajczyk and Jan Stanczyk, so-called Socialist leader, has arrived in Moscow to work out the compromise with Stalin as to how they shall be represented in the Polish government and thus end the quarrel among the Big Three. While it is made to appear that President Truman’s representative to Stalin, Harry Hopkins, succeeded in bending the Kremlin oligarch’s will on the Polish question, no really important change will be forthcoming.

All the necessary preparatory work for Russian domination over Poland has already succeeded in wiping out in that country those elements now opposed to the imperialism from the East as they opposed the imperialism from the West. They included not only Polish reactionary nationalists, colonels and landlords, but above all, and in the first place, the heroic elements of the Polish working class, the activists of the Polish Socialist Party, the Jewish fighters of the Bund and the militants of the trade union movement. After the fight against the Nazis which culminated in the Warsaw uprising of last winter, during which the Russian army marked time outside the city, they finally succumbed to the Russian GPU and its Polish assistants, the Lublin government installed by Stalin.

Organizing Poland

Tens of thousands of these people have been wiped out, either by execution, imprisonment or mass deportation to the convict camps in Siberia. The leaders of the Polish people for the most part have truly been liquidated. Even if Stalin does permit Mikolajczyk and Stanczyk and a few of their friends to enter the government, no fundamental change in the Polish situation will follow.

Stalin’s agents will dominate the country. Behind them Stand the GPU and the Russian army ready to insure the rule of these enemies of Polish independence. With all this power at his disposal, Stalin made sure of the deal with Hopkins by barring any Pole who would not in advance agree to Russian domination of Polish policy.

As living proof of Stalin’s attitude we have the case of the “sixteen Poles” which almost became a cause célèbre at the San Francisco Conference. These sixteen Poles include one General Bronislaw Okulicki, commander of the Polish home army and formerly aide to General Bor. He and the other fifteen were arrested and accused of “diversionary” activities against the “Red” army and of having killed more than five hundred of its officers, in addition to “conducting intelligence and spying activity in the rear of the Red Army.”

The press now reports that fifteen, including General Okulicki, of the sixteen prisoners have confessed their guilt. There you have the perfect Stalinist frame-up. We observed this process in the infamous Moscow Trials where afterward the charges and alleged facts were proved to have been false. Then, too, we had confession after confession describing the weirdest plots. All of them were later shown to have been invented by the secret police. We have no doubt that the same kind of “evidence” will be presented and the present Polish defendants found guilty by their “confession.”

It is also possible that as an international political measure, Stalin may grant the defendants clemency. The charge against them is that they maintained “secret” radios with which they contacted the London Polish government. These were the same radios they used during the German occupation. It is also charged that they had weapons – the same weapons they used against the Nazis – but did not turn them over to the Russian army.

The significant fact about the trial of the sixteen Poles is that it is opened simultaneously with the negotiations between Mikolajczyk, Stanczyk and their aides and the Lublin government with Stalin at its side. And there is really nothing strange about this. The Russians have bluntly told the Allies where to get off on the question of Poland, namely, that Russia would brook no interference with its Polish policy.

All talk about the Yalta agreement and Russia’s failure to carry it out are a lot of words, since the whole premise of Yalta was that it acceded to Stalin’s demands on the question of borders and Russia’s right to dominate the country.

The present trial and negotiations arise from the. fact that the overwhelming majority of the Poles are against the Lublin gang, renamed the Warsaw government, and Russian domination over the country. Like all other peoples, the Poles will not stand for a foreign oppressor who bars the way to genuine Polish national freedom and independence.

The Polish desire for national liberation is accentuated because for tens of years the Poles have been oppressed by Russian Czarism. Now they face a new foreign oppressor in Russian Stalinism.

The Poles have always been militant in their national struggles for independence. If they resist the Russianization of Poland today it is because they cannot easily forget that their country was partitioned in 1939 by Hitler and Stalin in accordance with the dictators’ pact dividing tue Polish nation between them.

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