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Gomulka (Wladyslaw) miscellaneous papers
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Title: Władysław Gomułka miscellaneous papers
    Date (inclusive): 1950-1983
    Collection Number: 2012C49
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: Polish
    Physical Description: 3 manuscript boxes (1.2 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Photocopy of memoirs; original letters and notes; police interrogation files; interview transcripts of associates of Gomułka; and photographs; relating to communism in Poland and political conditions in Poland.
    Creator: Gomułka, Władysław, 1905-1982
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 2012.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Władysław Gomułka miscellaneous papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Biographical Note

    Władysław Gomułka, a Polish communist leader, was the first general secretary of the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza (Polish United Workers' Party), serving from October 1956 to December 1970. Suspected by Stalin of trying to turn Poland into another Yugoslavia and, although seen by many sympathetic Poles as trying to find a "Polish road to socialism," Gomułka ultimately failed in his efforts to turn the Polish People's Republic into a modern and prosperous European country. The margin of freedom allowed Poland by Moscow was indeed narrow, but Gomułka's own ideological rigidness and lack of understanding and empathy for Polish national traditions and aspirations led to his demise.
    Gomułka was imprisoned and investigated for "right-nationalist deviation" in preparation for a planned show trial that would strengthen Stalinist orthodoxy in the party. He was held in a Ministry of Public Security villa near Warsaw during most of 1951-54 and interrogated frequently. Unlike some of his former associates and tens of thousands of ordinary Poles, he was not physically abused but was under considerable psychological stress, isolated from his family and sources of outside information. His wife was imprisoned in a nearby house, but the two knew nothing of the other's whereabouts. The couple's son, Ryszard, remained free.
    After Stalin's death and the subsequent "thaw" in the Kremlin, Gomułka was released, in December 1954, and gradually resumed his government and party functions. He died in 1982.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of Gomułka's early memoirs, the interrogation file compiled during his imprisonment in 1951-54, transcripts of oral history interviews with his two secretaries, and other documents and photographs.
    The most important and unique material in the collection documents Gomułka's imprisonment and investigation. The interrogation file includes the undelivered correspondence of Ryszard with his parents. It was never sent to the ministry's archives but was kept by a top member of the old regime.
    The complete typescript of Gomułka's memoirs is the biggest item in the collection. That work, covering the author's life through 1945 and edited by Andrzej Werblan, was published in two volumes in 1994; the original text however, is much longer and covers many events not included in the published version. Additionally, the collection contains transcripts of oral history interviews with two of Gomułka's assistants, Walery Namiotkiewicz and Stanislaw Trepczynski, which were conducted in the Central Committee Archives in 1983, a year after Gomułka's death.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Poland -- Politics and government -- 1945-1980
    Statesmen -- Poland
    Communism -- Poland
    Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza