Correspondence, writings, personal documents, printed matter, and photographs, relating to political conditions and journalism
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.