Overview of the Jerzy Urban papers

Finding aid prepared by Hoover Institution Library and Archives Staff
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
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Title: Jerzy Urban papers
Date (inclusive): 1927-2010
Collection Number: 2011C9
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Language of Material: Polish
Physical Description: 8 manuscript boxes (3.2 Linear Feet)
Abstract: Correspondence, writings, personal documents, printed matter, and photographs, relating to political conditions and journalism in Poland.
Creator: Urban, Jerzy, 1933-
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 2011.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Jerzy Urban papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Biographical Note

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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Poland -- Politics and government
Journalism -- Poland


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