of the interior department of the Polish government in exile in London. He was entrusted with maintaining relations with the Polish Workers party, organized by the "Initiative Group" of Polish communists, headed by Marceli Nowotko, in 1941 (Among the secretaries of the Polish Workers party was Wladislaw Gomulka (see Gomulka, Wladislaw), who later became the communist leader).
In 1945, Baginski was arrested by the Soviet KGB, along with fifteen other members of the underground, controlled by the London-based Polish government. He was released, but soon afterward, in 1946, he was arrested again. In April 1947, he was tried and sentenced for 8 years in prison on trumped-up charges, among which collaboration with the Germans was the most ridiculous. However, later in the same year, he was pardoned by Boleslaw Bierut (see Bierut, Boleslaw), the communist chief and prime minister. In November 1947, he escaped to the West and spent the rest of his life in exile.
Polonsky Antony, and Druiker Boleslaw, The Beginnings of Communist Rule in Poland ( London, 1980); Staar Richard F., Poland, 1944-1962: The Sovietization of a Captive People ( New Orleans, LA, 1962).
Bierut, Boleslaw (1892-1956). Bierut joined the Polish Communist party in 1933. It is likely that he was also an agent of the Soviet KGB, at least after 1936. In 1943, he was chosen by Joseph Stalin to head the newly organized Polish Workers party. He was then sent to Nazi-occupied Poland to direct guerrilla warfare directed by the underground communist organization. Jointly with Edward Osobka-Morawski and Marshall Rola-Zimierski, Bierut chaired the Polish Committee for National Liberation (the so-called Lublin Poles). This was a group of communists and fellow travelers directed by Moscow.
In June 1945, the legislative branch of the Polish national government, called the National Council of the Homeland, was formed under the presidency of Boleslaw Bierut. This appointed body was under the domination of the Muscovite Polish communists. Bierut remained president of the Polish legislature. First secretary of the Polish Workers party, Wladislaw Gomulka (see Gomulka, Wladislaw), was its vice- premier. After the fraudulent elections of 1947, conducted under the watchful eyes of the Soviet army command and the Soviet KGB, Bierut was confirmed as president of the Polish republic. When attending the Twentieth-Congress of the Soviet Communist party in the spring of 1956, he died unexpectedly.
Bierut had modest talents as a leader. However, while he was in office, he managed to spare Poland the show-trials that racked the other East European countries. His policies toward the Polish peasants were, however, as ruthlessly exploitative as those of Stalin. He was also an anti-intellectual, which attitude often manifested itself in the decisions he made. His successor, Edward Ochab (see Ochab, Edward) was only an interim leader who paved the way for the return of Wladislaw Gomulka, purged in 1950, to power.
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Publication information: Book title: Dictionary of East European History since 1945. Contributors: Joseph Held - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 310.
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