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This story has been commented on before, but it seems to have come up again and a decision is imminent.
I've pasted two versions, since they seem to illustrate two sides of one story.
My own view is that she was given asylum in the UK after fleeing trhe Polish pogrom of 1968 and asylum is unconditional; she is accused of crimes carried out as part of her job for a government recognised by the UK as legitimate; and the UK always refused to extradite people back to Poland for political reasons during the PRL years, even when General Wolińska was a prosecutor. To send her back would be an appalling double standard. And she is after all 88.
Here's the Oxford Mail:
Widow faces extradition
By George Hamilton
Helena Wolinska, pictured in her Polish Army uniform
An 88-year-old Oxford widow has dismissed as "political" plans to arrest her on charges she sent a war hero to his death.
A Polish military court has issued a European arrest warrant for Helena Wolinska, who lives in Bardwell Road, North Oxford, after previous attempts to extradite her failed.
Mrs Wolinska is alleged to have masterminded the false arrest of a Polish war hero in a show trial during the country's Stalinist era after the Second World War. She is said to have fabricated evidence against General Emil Fieldorf which led to his execution.
Army leader General Fieldorf refused to cooperate with the secret service of the new communist regime after the war ended.
Mrs Wolinska is accused of inventing charges that he killed Soviet soldiers and anti-Nazi fighters from Poland's Communist underground.
He was executed in 1953.
Mrs Wolinska is also accused that as a military prosecutor, she arranged for the wrongful arrest of 24 others.
If convicted of the charges, she faces 10 years in prison.
Speaking from her home, Mrs Wolinska said: "I will not speak about this because it is not a criminal case- it is a political one. I do not know why the whole business is coming up again. This is an old case. It is 10 years old."
An extradition request made by the Polish government in 2000, before the country joined the EU, was turned down by the UK.
But now the country is part of the EU, permission to extradite an individual is not required and a court in Warsaw issued the warrant for Mrs Wolinska.
Responsibility for making the arrest lies with the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca). A spokesman said: We never confirm details of arrest warrants."
The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office both said the warrant was a matter for Soca and, as such, they could not comment.
Mrs Wolinska has lived in the UK since 1972. Her husband, Wlodzimierz Brus, a Fellow at Wolfson College, died in August.
And here's from 'poland.pl' if you can survive the bad English:
Poland demands surrender of Stalinist prosecutor from UK
A European Arrest Warrant has been issued by the District Military Court in Warsaw for Helena Brus-Wolinska, a Stalinist era military prosecutor.
For years Polish authorities have been demanding the surrender of Wolinska, who is resident in London since 1968.
She is charged with compliance in the death of general August Fieldorf, one of the commanders of the underground Home Army during World War Two. He was arrested in 1950 by the Communists. The orders were signed by Wolinska. After a one day mock trial general Fieldorf had been sentenced to death.
In democratic Poland Wolinska has been considered a perpetrator of Communist crimes. Hence, her deeds do not fall into the category of legal prosecution expiration. In August 2006 the UK had officially refused to extradite Helena Brus-Wolinska at the request of a Polish court, quoting health and humanitarian reasons.
The European Arrest Warrant, which replaces and speeds up extradition procedures between EU member states, has been motioned in Wolinska’s case by the Prosecution Department of the National Remembrance Institute in Warsaw.
It's a good job we didn't send all the AK soldiers back to Poland in the 50's when the PRL government requested extradition, and we shouldn't start now.
This Stalininst witch, sorry, poor persecuted little widow, helped to orchestrate the post-war political terror and the judicial murder of Poles.
Her 2 defences:
1. I am a Jewess and Poles are anti-semitic.
2. I was only following orders.
Eichmann, a much bigger murderer, had the following 2 defences in his Israeli trial:
1. I am a German and Israelis are racist.
2. I was only following orders.
Questions of degree? If I were the widower of one of her victims - people put to a painful, premature death to please Soviet slaughter ideologists - I honestly believe that I would have hunted her down personally and butchered her. A death is a death, numbers don't really matter when it comes to murder.
It's a mark of the high level of decency found among Poles that she is still alive.
And don't forget about '68, the time of Dubcek and the Prague Spring, that it was a question of the less radical faction of commies who were more interested in a good life and grabbing as much money for themselves who won out against the more radical, more mixed-Jewish faction, some of whom were then given the chance to emigrate. The (sons of the)losers of '68 went on to set up KOR and the rest is (forgotten) history. Others lay low and ensured through contacts overinflated marks for their children at SGH and other commie lickspittle institutes of self-advancement.
Don't let yourself be swayed by sympathetic articles placed in newspapers by twisted people with excellent contacts.
As for "pogrom" - you should learn some history. The pogrom was of decent Poles caught up by the winds of history fanned by evil people like Wolinska.
And as for comparing Wolinska to AK soldiers stuck in the UK in the 1950s, well I don't really know what to say ...
Economist committed to market reforms and democracy in Poland
Tuesday November 13, 2007
During the brief period of reform enjoyed by Poland in 1956, the political economist Wlodzimierz Brus emerged as a leading theorist of market socialism and an advocate of democracy. After years of persecution, however, he left his native land and settled in Oxford, where he became a professorial fellow at Wolfson College, and has now died, aged 86.
Brus's search for alternative means of economic coordination started while he was working in a Soviet factory during the second world war - he was appalled by the waste that accompanied production under ministerial direction. After the war, he completed a doctoral thesis on the Marxian law of value (market and price relations) under socialism. He was an admirer of Stalin's book, The Economic Problems of Socialism in the Soviet Union, in which the Soviet leader admitted that state planning could not overcome certain "objective" laws of economic development, and his own 1952 textbook (co-authored with Maximilian Pohorille) was notable for its attacks on the so-called "national" - or non-Soviet - road to socialism then advocated in Yugoslavia by Tito and, in Poland, by Wladyslaw Gomulka.
In his most influential work, The General Problems of the Functioning of the Socialist Economy (1961), Brus argued that democracy, as well as market mechanisms, were essential for socialist revival. These arguments were extended in From Marx to the Market (1989, with Kazimierz Laski); they now envisaged a socialism with capital markets and the separation of economic planning from state control.
Born in Plock, in northern Poland, Brus started at the Wolna Wszechnica, a free university providing higher education to students unable to get into Poland's conservative universities, which were reluctant to admit Jews. With the German invasion of 1939, he fled to Lvov, a city in south-eastern Poland occupied by the Soviet Union, now Lviv in Ukraine. He completed his studies there and at Leningrad University, then evacuated to Saratov on the Volga river. He taught briefly, and worked in a factory. Returning to Poland with the First Polish army, he found that his parents and sister had perished in Treblinka.
After the war, Brus headed the propaganda effort of the Polish Workers' party, the wartime successor to the Polish Communist party, which allied with the Polish Socialist party to win constitutional referenda in 1946 and elections in 1947. The following year, he was active in the union of the two groups as the Polish United Workers' party, which ruled Poland for the next 40 years. On completion of his doctorate, he taught at Warsaw University.
In 1955, Brus was appointed vice-chairman of the council to advise the Polish government on economic reforms. The shooting of workers in Poznan in 1956 made all this so much more urgent, but as the economic and political situation stabilised, the Gomulka government lost interest in reform.
As well as criticising the return to bureaucratic economic management of the economy, Brus urged greater democracy. In 1965, he appeared as a defence witness at the trial of Jacek Kuron and Karol Modzelewski for their Open Letter to the Party, calling for real democracy in both party and state. Later, he submitted a defence of the philosopher Leszek Kolakowski, and Kazimierz Pomian, when they were expelled from the party. At the beginning of 1968, realising that his efforts were in vain, he resigned membership.
Shortly afterwards, party authorities commenced a purge of Jews and "revisionists". Many Poles who happened to be of Jewish origin lost their jobs and were forced into exile. Brus hung on as a researcher with the housing institute, but was unable to publish under his own name until 1972. That year, on his way from Glasgow to the US, his son fell ill and he decided to stay in Oxford. He secured a fellowship at Wolfson, and, in 1978, was elected a professorial fellow.
Oxford offered refuge, but he was cut off from politics in Poland, and his view of political economy fitted badly with the western "sovietological" study of eastern Europe. In the 1990s, politically motivated extradition proceedings against his wife, Helena, whom he had married before the war, prevented their return to Poland. In recent years, diabetes and heart problems limited his activity, although his acute observation and memory did not leave him. Helena survives him, as do his daughters Janina and Helena, and son Tomek.
· Wlodzimierz Brus, economist, born August 23 1921; died August 31 2007
- I am a qualified admirer of Kuron, who gets a mention here. You can see how people get a twisted view of Poland when you read articles like this. Oh yes, of course (!!) he faced years of persecution as he tried to turn Poland towards real democracy - yeah, like sure he was a democrat who just happened to be married to an arch-Stalinist, now persecuted because she's Jewish.
Try - a self-seeking opportunist without a shred of humanity who jumped ship to a gullible western university ("He secured a fellowship at Wolfson") when the Russians realised that it was time for a clear-out and the way ahead was to appeal to commie ruling-class greed, not ideology.
The obituary came from the Guardian :)
My last copy paste:
It is also true, however, that many Poles deeply resent Jews who use their Jewishness as an excuse when they are accused of other crimes. Maria Fieldorf Czarska, the General's daughter, says bitterly that she doubts Mrs Brus will ever come to trial: "she will say she is old, she will say she is ill, she will say we are anti-semitic." More than one person points out a curious irony: Senator Bartoszewski, whom Mrs Brus arrested, is best known for having led the Home Army division which was responsible for rescuing Jews. He is also an Auschwitz survivor, and now an honorary citizen of Israel. "Senator Bartoszewski," scoffs Mrs Brus, "I never heard as much about him then as I do now." This may well be true. After all, most of the Home Army officers senior to Senator Bartoszewski were put to death, round about the time Mrs Brus was walking the halls of the Ministry of Defence in her military prosecutor's uniform.
I would like to think that those people she joyfully and brutally put to death thought in their fear-filled last minutes of life that somehow justice would eventually be done to the criminals responsible for this unspeakable barbarity, that somehow decency would win out against all the odds.
I think it's about time all WWII claims, prosecutions & bickering should be laid to rest. It was a terrible time in the world history.
This goes way after the war - this was at a time of cool-headed reflection after the commies had won. There was time to ponder over whose neck the noose should be tightened.
"As for "pogrom" - you should learn some history. The pogrom was of decent Poles caught up by the winds of history fanned by evil people like Wolinska."
Hmmmmm, angry demonstrations in the street with people carrying placards saying "Zionists Go Home", people fired from their job for being Jewish, Jews having to flee the country.
That would fit most people's understanding of what a pogrom is.
What you're talking about are the reasons for the pogrom. By the same sophomoric logic you could say that the St Petersburg and Białystok pogroms in the first decade of the century were in fact spats between the Tsarist regime with all its infighting, the minor commercial class and the emerging industrial proletariat (infighting here too), some of whom were Jewish. The experience of those who had to flee suggests otherwise that these were pogroms.
When it comes down to Ms Wolinska-Brus's case, we can never, ever forget that there were elements, call them rogue elements, or untypical, or maverick, or a tiny minority, or whatever you may want to call them, if you will - but they existed all the same, within the AK and NSZ who perpetrated atrocities, crimes, military actions (again, one can argue till the cows come home about what to call them - but for sure they weren't tea parties) against Polish citizens of Jewish origin. Some of these people went to UK after the war. Prosecutors in the 1950s demended their extradition. We didn't hand them back due to the principle of asylum. Why should we change that now?
And I strongly agree with Ania, that perhaps it's time to draw a line under the horrors of the twentieth century and move forward. I greatly admire the South African 'Truth Commission' - no prosecutions, no recriminations, just a moving forward with the hope of peace and progress for future generations.
"Hmmmmm, angry demonstrations in the street with people carrying placards saying "Zionists Go Home", people fired from their job for being Jewish, Jews having to flee the country.
That would fit most people's understanding of what a pogrom is."
Would it? That's not my understanding of the term. You're defining persecution of a minority group maybe. The word "Pogrom" to me conjures up very violent images - setting fire to people's houses and murdering them in their beds e.g. what they say happened at jedwabne. I guess equivalent historical incidents in ethnic Polish history would be the nightime wolyn massacres by the ukrainians prior to and during wwii (where some of my relatives were murdered in their beds).
Saying this means telling someone to go home or leave a job totally waters down the true emotive nature of the word.
Strangely, Wolinska also persecuted Bartoszewski - in charge of the AK section charged with helping Jews, for which he was rewarded by honorary citizenship of Israel.
Ann Applebaum is the Pulitzer Prize winning Jewish-American journalist married to Radek Sikorski. Another obvious anti-semite, you see.
Wolinska didn't commit war crimes - she committed crimes against humanity in the cold light of day to further her career. Murderers shouldn't get off scot-free just because they evaded justice for a long time.
Although born to a Jewish family (nee Fajga Mindla Danielak), there is no evidence that she ever acted in anything except a secular manner. Her (and other’s) ousting from their party appointments was not so much a pogrom as a purge of what amounted to Trotskyites. Stalin tolerated this Rosa Luxembourg want-to-be, and others like her, because he knew that they would rabidly destroy Polish society. Her ilk murdered millions in the Soviet Union only to be purged in 1938. Her flight in 1968 had nothing to do with religion when the next wave of anti-Polish thugs pushed her and others aside to practice the policies of the Brezhnev era. Wolinskas out, Jaruzelskis in.
Is she a congregant at her local synagogue? Has she sat shiva at the passing of her husband? She should stand trial in Poland and wither the remainder of her days in one of the cold damp cells to which she sent her victims to be tortured and die. Too bad that the death penalty is not an option.
"...because he knew that they would rabidly destroy Polish society. Her ilk murdered millions in the Soviet Union only to be purged in 1938. Her flight in 1968 had nothing to do with religion when the next wave of anti-Polish thugs pushed her and others aside to practice the policies of the Brezhnev era"
She should swing for what she has done.
And of course, her husband found a sanctuary at a leftist 'university' in Great Britian.
Thanks British taxpayers for supporting murdering thugs.
Poles (and British too) are saying all sorts of horrible things. But it's worth remembering the example of John Paul II. He talked a lot about miłosierdie, mercy.
Perhaps it's time to follow his example a bit.
By the way, Oxford isn't generally considered a leftist university. Especially this week.
And I still think we should reflect on what JPII would have done with her.
JPII spoke of the reciprocal exchange of grace, and certainly espoused the virtue of forgiveness. This is not to say that he or Christian teaching inherently speak of capital punishment never being suitable. On the contrary, Judeo-Christian dogma is clear:
Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
Exodus 21:1: "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death."
Verses 33-34 "So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it."
Deuteronomy 19:11-13: "But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities: Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. Thine eye shall not pity him”
As Poland does not have the death penalty this is not really relevant.
ps. using bible quotes to support arguments is not appropriate. You can find a quote in there to suit any argument.
I completely agree Ania - especially from the Old Testament. I mean come on, you can find a lot of crazy stuff in there which you would not want to apply to modern day ethics.
Yeah, let's not get biblical - I only get 'spiritual' on Friday nights!
I am not thumping a bible at anyone but pointing out that the current prevalent view that we are somehow obligated to forgive every one every thing so as to claim morality is misplaced.
The Old Testament quotes easily but there is no shortage of examples within the New Testament of muscular law enforcement (Romans); the Apostles were just much more wordy. It was the difference between old oral tradition and the epistilatory basis of the new.
As to mercy or forgiveness: you’ll have to show me where she has apologized, done penance or even simply acknowledged her actions.
Plenty of mercy and forgiveness in the New Testament too.
Mercy is for the Lord. We have laws to deliver justice
Justice means many things to many people
Honestly, the title of this should read "War Criminal faces justice at last"
Civil war raged in Poland well into the 1950’s between Russian planted communists (most of whom weren’t even Polish, this is a fact) and the remnants of Polish wartime underground. Most of the atrocities committed by Stalinist lackeys will never come to the full public view anyway…
Because of people like her someone grew up without a father, brother, mother…these people were nothing but state-sponsored terrorists and should be shot on the spot. Public execution would be most appropriate in this case.
"Justice means many things to many people"
What are you, a philosopher?
It has been well established in international law that any language pertaining to limitations does not apply to war crimes.
My friend's mum's two brothers were executed by someone like her or even maybe her. Her mother spent ten years as a political prisoner (spared from death as she was a woman).
Nothing will bring them back or give back lost years. I don't believe vengeance is the way forward in any situation. An eye for an eye is neanderthal thinking.
“An eye for an eye is neanderthal thinking.”
Right…murderers should be rehabilitated in state institutions so they can see the error of their ways…
Blah Blah Blah. Sorry Ania.
I’m surprised you feel this way about this case, given your family background.
"I’m surprised you feel this way about this case, given your family background. "
feeling differently will not help change my family history Mike. Surely you can understand that carrying hatred around inside you only hurts you. It means that the people who carried out these acts have affected the next generation. Doing the same thing to someone else means we have learned nothing.
"Right…murderers should be rehabilitated in state institutions so they can see the error of their ways…"
As I've said already, there is no death penalty in Poland so this is another debate.
Secondly this woman is 88. Is she really going to be aware of much at her age or even care what happens? I don't see the point of pursuing people who are nearly dead themselves. It just makes a joke of it all.
Sure they have affected us. That’s why we who grew up outside of Poland can understand why our parents always insisted we learn Polish, Polish history, etc. Their parents had to fight for it.
Just think how different our parents and their parents’ lives would have been if they could live in a normal, free country.
“Secondly this woman is 88. Is she really going to be aware of much at her age or even care what happens? I don't see the point of pursuing people who are nearly dead themselves. It just makes a joke of it all.”
This is a frequent excuse used by criminals to delay or escape trials altogether.
Going after her (and bringing her to justice, hopefully) sends a message.
“Secondly this woman is 88.”
Doesn’t this mean that she would spend less time incarcerated and thus pay a smaller penalty for assassinating political opponents? There you have it, your desire to reduce her sentence in deference to age is accommodated.
Population of Hell: +1
The service was to have been on Friday, 5th December. However, two days beforehand, the widow was buried in a closed ceremony.
The news didn't escape my attention.
I don't think my views are different to yours on this one.
It still rankles of course that the Guardian and fellow-traveller filth wax lyrical about human rights abuses yet find love in their hearts for Stalinists.