Preliminary Invenotry of the Władysław Gomułka miscellaneous papers

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Collection Summary

Title: Władysław Gomułka miscellaneous papers
Dates: 1950-1983
Collection Number: 2012C49
Creator: Gomułka, Władysław, 1905-1982.
Collection Size: Number of Containers: 3 manuscript boxes (1.2 linear feet)
Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
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.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Languages: Polish

Administrative Information


The collection is open.
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Publication Rights

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Władysław Gomułka miscellaneous papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2012.


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 at . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

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.

Indexing Terms

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--1945-1980.
Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza.

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