Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Jerzy Urban papers
Collection Number: 2011C9
Creator: Urban, Jerzy, 1933-
9 ms. boxes
(3.8 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, personal documents, printed matter, and photographs, relating to political conditions and journalism
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Collection is open for research.
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copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
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[Identification of item], Jerzy Urban papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2011.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog Socrates at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in Socrates is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
A Polish journalist born to a left-wing Polish-Jewish family in Lodz, Urban survived the war in the Soviet Union. He was then
educated in the People's Poland and began his journalistic career in the mid-1950s, during the political "thaw" that ensued
after Stalin's death. A natural contrarian, stubborn and provocative, Urban was frequently in trouble with communist censors.
He found stable employment and relative security on the Party weekly,
Polityka, which was run by a relative liberal, Mieczyslaw Rakowski. When the Solidarity trade union movement emerged in 1980, Urban
criticized and ridiculed its leaders in dozens of columns that he signed as "Rem". In 1981, General Jaruzelski, the first
secretary of the Polish Communist Party and prime minister, made Urban his press secretary. For all intents and purposes,
then, Urban, technically never a Party member, became the official face of the communist regime, its chief propagandist, and
probably the most hated person in the country, a distinction he seemed to enjoy. After the "Roundtable Talks" between the
communists and the opposition, and the June 1989 national elections, which ended the Party's monopoly of power, Urban returned
to private life. In 1990, he founded an anticlerical, semipornographic, largely nihilistic tabloid called
Nie (Polish for No), making him one of the richest men in Poland.
Scope and Content of Collection
Correspondence, writings, personal documents, printed matter, and photographs, relating to political conditions and journalism
in Poland. It includes family documents, materials from his unsuccessful parliamentary run in June 1989, as well as a lot
of published and unpublished texts. Most valuable perhaps are copies of political strategy memoranda submitted by Urban to
General Jaruzelski during 1987-1989.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Poland--Politics and government.