Lustration Clears Official
Brooklyn, N.Y. – An attempt to discredit the Downstate New York Division of the Polish American Congress and one of its vice presidents, Szczepan Janeczko, needed Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (Institut Pamieci Narodowej-IPN) to step in and clear him of false accusations. These accusations attributed Communist connections to him during the years he lived in Poland when the country was still ruled by a Communist regime.
The dishonest charges were made in an anonymous letter to the PAC’s National President, Frank Spula, in Chicago. Mr. Spula considered it an awkward attempt to smear the leadership of one of his organization’s most successful divisions and dismissed it entirely.
In photo: Vice President Szczepan Janeczko (seated left) shows Grazyna Michalski, Treasurer of the Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American Congress, a letter from Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance clearing him of false accusations he had Communist connections when he still lived in Communist-controlled Poland. Standing and looking on are Chet Szarejko, Chair of the PAC Political Activities Committee (left) and NY PAC President Frank Milewski. Photo by Polish American Congress
Having known and worked with Mr. Janeczko for many years, the New York Congress urged him to contact the Institute of National Remembrance to check its records and stop the harassment of this anonymous letter writer. “Everyone was sure the Institute would give someone, as patriotic and as dedicated to the Church as Mr. Janeczko, a complete clearance,” said Frank Milewski, president of the Downstate Congress.
“Mr. Janeczko now has proof of his innocence and, as Americans of Polish descent, we all got a taste how this plague of Communism just doesn’t want to go away. So far, we don’t have any proof who wrote that slanderous letter. We can only suspect,” he said.
As one of the Polish American community’s most anti-Communist organizations, he also explained how the PAC had been deeply involved in supporting the Polish trade union, Solidarity, in its successful fight against Poland’s former Communist rulers.
“We organized and led pro-Solidarity demonstrations on the streets of New York from 1980 to 1988,” he said. Other PAC divisions did the same in the other American cities where they were located.
“The Communist regime hated us for it,” and warned the Polish American Congress not to interfere in Communist Poland’s “internal affairs,”
In addition to his position as vice president of the New York PAC, Mr.Janeczko is national president of the Sea League PL (Liga Morska). The Sea League frequently acts as color guard at patriotic and religious events held in New York.
One of these events is the annual outdoor commemoration the Polish American Congress sponsors to the memory of the heroic Polish priest, Father Jerzy Popieluszko, whom the Communists murdered in 1984.
“This vicious letter was meant to injure Mr.Janeczko and damage his reputation with the Polish clergy in New York’s Catholic parishes. It failed. Mr.Janeczko’s reputation is now stronger than ever,” said Milewski.
Lustration (known in the Polish language as lustracja) is the procedure Mr. Janeczko followed to contact the Institute of National Remembrance and ask this investigative agency to help clear his name.
– Frank Milewski