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Stanisław Radkiewicz (Polish pronunciation: [staˈɲiswaf ratˈkʲevit͡ʂ]; 19 January 1903 – 13 December 1987) was a Polish communist activist with Soviet citizenship, a member of the pre-war Communist Party of Poland and of the post-war Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). As head of the Polish communist secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa or UB) between 1944 and 1954, he was one of the chief organisers of Stalinist terror in Poland. He also served as a political commissar and was made a Divisional General in Communist Poland.

Unlike other individuals responsible for the Stalinist terror in the 1940s and 1950s, Radkiewicz was never held responsible for his crimes, although in 1956, after the Poznań protests and his official "self-critique", he was removed from his post as Minister of Public Security and made Minister of State Agricultural Farms (PGRs).

Early life

Radkiewicz was born in the village of Rozmierki in the Slonimsky Uyezd of the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus).[1] He was the son of farmer Franciszek and Paulina née Lenczewska. He finished third grade.[1] In 1915, during World War I, together with his family he was evacuated by the retreating Imperial Russian Army to Buzuluk in the Samara Governorate, where he worked on local farms. During the Bolshevik Revolution, he joined the Komsomol.[citation needed]

After the Polish-Soviet War, in 1922, his family moved back to their home village, but Stanisław soon moved to the Soviet Union where he worked in the Polish Bureau of the Communist Party of Byelorussia. In 1925, he was sent clandestinely by Moscow back into Poland to take charge of the youth section of the illegal Polish Communist Party (KPP).[1] Three years later, he was arrested for activity against the sovereignty and independence of the Polish Republic and sentenced to four years in prison.[1]

After being released, he served as a functionary of the KPP. He was arrested again in 1937 and served half a year in prison. In 1938, on the orders of Joseph Stalin, the KPP was disbanded and many of its leaders were executed as part of the Great Purge. Radkiewicz, however, was spared as he enjoyed Stalin's confidence[citation needed] and was in fact put in charge by Stalin of liquidating KPP's party cells

Unlike other individuals responsible for the Stalinist terror in the 1940s and 1950s, Radkiewicz was never held responsible for his crimes, although in 1956, after the Poznań protests and his official "self-critique", he was removed from his post as Minister of Public Security and made Minister of State Agricultural Farms (PGRs).

Radkiewicz was born in the village of Rozmierki in the Slonimsky Uyezd of the Grodno Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus).[1] He was the son of farmer Franciszek and Paulina née Lenczewska. He finished third grade.[1] In 1915, during World War I, together with his family he was evacuated by the retreating Imperial Russian Army to Buzuluk in the Samara Governorate, where he worked on local farms. During the Bolshevik Revolution, he joined the Komsomol.[citation needed]

After the Polish-Soviet War, in 1922, his family moved back to their home village, but Stanisław soon moved to the Soviet Union where he worked in the Polish Bureau of the Communist Party of Byelorussia. In 1925, he was sent clandestinely by Moscow back into Poland to take charge of the youth section of the illegal Polish Communist Party (KPP).[1] Three years later, he was arrested for activity against the sovereignty and independence of the Polish Republic and sentenced to four years in prison.[1]

After being released, he served as a functionary of the KPP. He was arrested again in 1937 and served half a year in prison. In 1938, on the orders of Joseph Stalin, the KPP was disbanded and many of its leaders were executed as part of the Great Purge. Radkiewicz, however, was spared as he enjoyed Stalin's confidence[citation needed] and was in fact put in charge by Stalin of liquidating KPP's party cells.[2]

World War II