Good man Goodman

My comment on the article Agent Gustav: Geoffrey Goodman, the Fleet Street titan who spied on Harold Wilson by Gabriel Pogrund, Martin Dixon and  Tom Calver in The Sunday Times, 13 June 2020. The text includes the comment I made on the June 8, 2019 article by Jake Kerridge in The Telegraph, ‘Why should my family apologise?’ Kim Philby’s granddaughter Charlotte on her new spy novel.

Characteristically, these Communist spy cases are presented in a moral vacuum. There is a man/woman of ideals, there is a foreign power, but there are no victims. The victims have been sanitized out of the picture. There seems to be only one issue, that of loyalty to the state, which the spy is the citizen of.

Victims? They have not hit or murdered anyone personally, they only delivered information, so why talk about victims?

The defense of informer’s family and his sympathizers follows the familiar line “he was a good man”, an idealist or an intellectual, where the “good” extends into many dimensions.

Quote from the article:

Karen Goodman released a joint statement with her brother, saying she was “surprised” by the extent of her father’s involvement with the StB.

“Our father was a lifelong socialist and at the same time deeply patriotic and devoted to creating a better life for everyone. He was a strong internationalist […]”

Apparently, Goodman’s family and I are using different dictionaries. Our understanding of the word “everyone” is different. It is similar to the difference between “people” and “former people” in the Soviet Union. I think the full sentence should rather be “Our father was a lifelong socialist […] and devoted to creating a better life for everyone, with the exception of former people”. The code-word ‘internationalist’ is basically an admission that he viewed Communist supremacy as desirable and was a faithful disciple of the ideology.

Unsurprisingly, in a recent BBC Radio 4 podcast by David Cannadine about Anthony Blunt, the defense of his spying for the Soviet Union used similar arguments: man of ideals, great, great, great many times over. Here spying for the genocidal dictatorship is presented as an issue of ‘intellectual liberty’.

Then we have the case of Kim Philby and his relatives. In an article in The Telegraph on 8 July 2019, on the occasion of the publication of her spy novel, his granddaughter Charlotte does not seem to have any feelings of shame:

I wonder if Charlotte ever worries about having to explain to her own children what their great-grandfather did. “[…] It’s not like he was, I don’t know if I can say this, but it’s not like he was a Nazi apologist. And also they’ve grown up in Hackney, where Communism isn’t necessarily a dirty word.”

Look ma, no victims.

The victims of Communism have been mostly eliminated from the media, from schools, from public consciousness.

Members of my family, Polish citizens, were imprisoned in Communist concentration camps in the Soviet Union after the second World War. Some were tortured. Their lives were destroyed. The Soviet Communists confiscated their farms. They continued to be harassed and spied upon throughout their life.

My wife and I lost our jobs at state institutions in Poland 2015 after a long and brutal campaign aimed at eliminating us from public life. Typical Communist methods were used against us. I worked at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. My wife was employed at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra.

They attacked also our daughter in her elementary school, where the head teacher and my daughter’s main teacher participated in organized provocations.

Philby, Blunt, Goodman, and many others served those henchmen.

Few years ago I read an interview with the daughter of Rudolf Hoess, who was the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her father was a warm family man. In her words, “he was the nicest father in the world”. His children had a happy childhood. You can also watch part of the interview online.

I do not blame the children or grandchildren for the deeds of their parents or grandparents. However, I expect them and the newspaper writers to have a genuine awareness of the enormity of the Communist crimes and to call things by their true name. If you worked for the criminal Communist regime, that means you worked for the criminal Communist regime.

My family and I are not faceless numbers. We are real people whose lives were devastated as a result of Communist persecution. This is an ongoing story, not a thing of the past.


Consequences of imperialism

My comments on the article We need to talk about empire: a conversation about Britain’s history is overdue by Matthew Syed in The Sunday Times, 14 June 2020.

Imperialism has many aspects and is not limited to race relations.

The imperial view still permeates the world politics. The current world order is an outcome of WWII.

It is useful to compare the Brexiteers’ outrage at the loss of sovereignty to the EU and the decisions made in Yalta regarding Eastern Europe. Forced resettlement, arbitrary redrawing of borders and giving a free hand to the genocidal regime of the Soviet Union was no problem for the UK elites. God forbid, however, if even a tiny fraction of something similar were to happen to the UK!

At the end of the world war, when the enormity of crimes was so obvious, the American and British elites showed that preserving their own narrowly perceived short-term interests was far more important to them than the acceptance that every human being and every human life is valuable. National mythologies were constructed around the fight against Nazism, while Communism gained the status of an acceptable and perhaps even inevitable genocide. The disastrous and illegal deal at Yalta was signed by Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. It was later presented as inevitable and the only possibility.

Yes, the leaders of the so-called ‘free world’ facilitated the loss of my family members’ rightful citizenship, their rights, and their imprisonment in Communist concentration camps, and confiscation of their property. Ethnic cleansing was viewed as acceptable and logical.

Later on they proceeded to lecture people from other countries on the principles of democracy, while denying the self-rule and sovereignty in various parts of the world.

However, decisions that seemed good or reasonable in the UK or in the United States in the short term, in the long term were disastrous also to them.

The Communists of Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have brilliantly exploited this selective and delusional approach to justice and sovereignty.


Vaculik’s 2000 Communist words

My comment on A Czech Dreambook by Ludvík Vaculík review: sex and surveillance in the underground resistanceby Julian Evans in The Telegraph, 30 May 2020.

Vaculik, himself a Communist party membert, is merely a functionary of the Communist mythology.

Vaculik’s “Two Thousand Words” bears all the marks of a fake opposition pamphlet. Communists fabricated fake opposition by the dozens and hundreds, with the Communists playing key roles of course.

This trick has been played in all the Communist countries of Eastern Europe. This was simply pushing the Communist control further by simulating an “opposition”. Now they would be both “for Communism, and even against it”.

It was also a logical expansion of the totalitarian regime. A truly totalitarian regime does not stop at allowing public displays of approval only. A truly totalitarian regime continues to expand and conquers the territory of ideas which would normally be a refuge of those quietly opposing the dictatorship, who would not dare to speak up openly.

Hence Vaculik’s “Two Thousand Words”, a thoroughly Communist work. This is a completely false narrative, giving the oppressed the choice of (A) supporting the so-called hardline Communists, and (B) supporting the “progressive” Communists.

The same game has been played by the Communists in Poland, with people from the core of the regime playing the role of the “opposition” and “reformers”.

Communist regimes of Eastern Europe survived intact the so-called “democratization” of 1989-90 and continue to function after rebranding themselves and redecorating state offices.


Cast of characters

My second comment on Niall Ferguson’s farewell article in his Sunday Times column, My crystal ball missed Brexit but got Donald Trump, 24 May 2020. The first comment, Dizzy with success, was blocked by the paper.

My yesterday’s comment was blocked. Were my few critical words unbearable for this unabashedly self-promoting article in the old, well-established paper?

Was my satirical take on Niall Ferguson’s prophetical prowess with Joseph V. Stalin’s ‘dizzy with success’ Pravda article of 2 March 1930 considered inappropriate? Was the editor concerned about possible violation of copyrights to Stalin’s words?

As a historian, Niall Ferguson is trying to write history of the future before it happens. In the old days person trying to predict the future course of events was futurist. Now they call themselves forecasters or superforecasters in apparent analogy to those predicting tomorrow’s 15pc chance of rain.

The difference between predicting tomorrow’s rain and next year’s events is that weather is not so directly influenced by newspaper articles as is the narrative about the present and the future. Political and economic forecasting in popular media and government agencies is not neutral.

Take a look at the second part of the word ‘forecast’: cast. As in ‘cast of characters’. Think: narrative. Participants of the narrative. Forecasting is shaping and guiding the public narrative. It promotes certain characters, elevating their status, and eliminates others. It is definitely not a neutral activity.

One good example is Niall Ferguson’s article in The Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2011, about Europe in 2021, which was published in a modified form in The Sunday Times on 27 November 2011. Both fictitious and real-life characters are featured in this text. Among them is Radek (Radosław) Sikorski, Ferguson’s friend from Oxford, who was trained by Communist intelligence. Ferguson writes ‘Poland, under the dynamic leadership of Radek Sikorski, the former foreign minister’. This is not forecasting. This is casting.

Finally, I leave the last two paragraphs of my yesterday’s comment unchanged.

On November 3, 2019, Niall Ferguson wrote lots of nonsense about the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’. The concept of the ‘collapse of Communism’ belongs to Communist mythology. Communism has not collapsed. It was a mere change of clothes and an exercise in redecoration.

Although he is not alone in being terribly wrong, being one of the many who are terribly wrong should not be an excuse.


Dizzy with success

Lech S Borkowski's comment following Niall Ferguson's article in The Sunday Times, 24 May 2020, was blocked
Lech S Borkowski’s comment following Niall Ferguson’s article in The Sunday Times, 24 May 2020, was blocked

My comment following Niall Ferguson’s article in The Sunday Times, 24 May 2020, was blocked.

Paraphrasing slightly Joseph V. Stalin’s article in Pravda, 2 March 1930, I would like to say that Niall Ferguson’s successes in the sphere of predicting the future are now being spoken of by everyone. Even his enemies are forced to admit that the successes are substantial. And they really are very great.

But the successes have their seamy side, especially when they are attained with comparative “ease”. Such successes sometimes induce a spirit of vanity and conceit: “I can achieve anything!”, “There is nothing I can’t do!” People not infrequently become intoxicated by such successes; they become dizzy with success, loose all sense of proportion and the capacity to understand realities; they show a tendency to overrate their own strength and to underrate the strength of the enemy.

By focusing on couple of his ealier predictions Niall Ferguson conveniently moves away from history and the failures of the historical folk in understanding and interpreting even the very recent events.

One might even say, that he is trying to write history of the future before it happens. Is he a historian or a futurist? Trying to be both perhaps? Can you be a good historio-futurist, if you get the most recent history completely wrong? I doubt it. But he not only seems to have no doubts, he even gets handsomely paid for it. Where is the ethics in all of this?

Interestingly, the ‘history of the future’ or ‘future history’ is equally appealing to Communists, people he claims to oppose. Hm…

On November 3, 2019, he wrote lots of nonsense about the so-called ‘collapse of Communism’. The concept of the ‘collapse of Communism’ belongs to Communist mythology. Communism has not collapsed. It was a mere change of clothes and an exercise in redecoration.

Although he is not alone in being terribly wrong, being one of the many who are terribly wrong should not be an excuse.


Narrative control with Wikipedia

My comment on The Times’ article Kremlin drops plans for state-approved Wikipedia by Marc Bennetts, May 15, 2020. The text was blocked and did not appear among readers’ comments.

Lech Borkowski

Russia’s decision to abandon the official state-run equivalent of wikipedia does not make much difference. Wikipedia in Eastern Europe is controlled by the same people who control the state anyway. It is a perfect tool for controlling the public narrative about essentially everything. So while its editors are allegedly a bunch of enthusiasts, in fact they are not.

I was fired from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, in October 2015. I was contacted by someone unknown to me on October 28 with the suggestion that a Wikipedia page be made about me. I objected to it, but the page was created anyway. The next day, on October 29, I received a letter dismissing me from my job at the University, signed by a deputy Rector (university vice-president, there are several of them).

If you go to my Twitter feed, @LechSBorkowski, you can watch a brief video I and my wife made in 2016 after we were both fired from our jobs for political reasons.

I looked up the name of the Wikipedia guy on the Internet. He was apparently employed in the law section of one of the Polish dailies. It turned out that Wikipedia pages of the entire Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University were created at the time. This is, of course, atypical and very unusual. I remember that a recent Nobel Prize winner did not have a Wikipedia page. I do not know of any other university where all faculty members of the department, at the last count 124 of them, would have a Wikipedia entry.

If you go to Wikipedia’s Polish section and search for “Lech Borkowski” you will find the entry about me. This entry is arranged in a peculiar way with the aim to control certain keywords that would be associated with me and falsify the narrative about me.

To see the Dept. of Physics page, search for “Wydzial Fizyki UAM”. You will see all the faculty names. The departmental Wikipedia page shows the administrative structure and contains information typically found on institutions’ own websites. In other words, it duplicates information from the institution’s website without providing any new value.

Wikipedia is just another social medium and is easily abused. It is naive to ignore it. It is also naive to believe in a “self-correcting” myth of social media, including Wikipedia.


Dana Zatopkova

My comment on Dana Zatopkova obituary, The Times, March 28 2020.

Earlier comments indicate lack of understanding of what Communism is and the extremely important role played by sportsmen and sportswomen as functionaries of Communist regimes. Communism, like Nazism, is a program of ruthless elimination of people classified as the Other. Who belongs to that category depends on ideology and decisions of the managers of terror. The death to the Other is delivered in various forms, social death being the most common, often accompanied by physical death.

Careers in all spheres of life without exception are reserved for those serving the Communist criminal state. Emil Zatopek served that criminal state with dedication. His career flourished.

Winning Olympic medals does not make anyone a hero. You may be a hero and a person worth praising depending on who you are as a person and depending on choices you make.

It is useful to put things in perspective by comparing Emil Zatopek and his wife Dana to Janusz Kusociński, the Polish runner who won the gold medal in the 10k race at the Olympics of 1932 in Los Angeles.

After the German aggression on Poland in September 1939 Kusociński participated in the defense of Warsaw and was wounded twice. When the German occupation began, he quickly joined an underground military resistance organisation Wilki, the Wolves in English. This was one of the first underground organisations in occupied Poland, perhaps even the first one. It was founded in September and October 1939. As a result of denunciation, Kusociński was arrested by German Gestapo in March 1940, imprisoned and tortured. He was executed by the Nazis on June 21 1940 in Palmiry in a forest west of Warsaw.

When Kusociński joined the resistance, the Communist Soviet Union was an ally of Nazi Germany, having participated in the aggression on Poland in September 1939. Zatopek himself was a Communist and joined the Communist army after WWII. He also signed a despicable public letter condemning Milada Horakova, Czech female lawyer who was a member of underground resistance under the Nazi occupation and active in the politics after WWII. She was falsely accused by the Communists of a plot to overthrow the Communist regime and was executed by hanging.

My wife’s grandfather, Aleksander Głuchowski, was not a sportsman. He was a violinist and an officer of the Polish army in 1939. At about the time when Kusociński was executed by the Nazis, Aleksander was a POW in the Soviet Union in the infamous Kozelsk monastery, where several thousands of Polish officers were held earlier before being transported by train to an execution site in Katyń in western Russia. Aleksander was lucky to get out alive from the Soviet Union, and fought later in the Polish forces on the western front. When he returned to Poland in 1947, he was immediately arrested by the Communist secret police and imprisoned. He died in 1952, not long after his release from prison, at the age of 45. 1952 was also the year of the Olympic games in Helsinki, where Dana Zatopkova won gold and Emil Zatopek won three gold medals.

In 1952 my parents and other family members were starving and fighting for survival in Communist concentration camps in the Soviet Union.

This obituary is nothing but a pro-Communist cleansing of memory.


The Clueless and the Mythmakers

Book review. Comments on The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan and Thatcher and the End of the Cold War by Archie Brown review by Dominic Sandbrook, March 22 2020.

Ah, the Clueless and the Mythmakers, in other words Russian and East European Centre, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

John Paul II was Communist collaborator.

John Lewis Gaddis is wrong. John Paul II celebrated the 26th anniversary of his pontificate on October 15, 2004 with a performance of the Red Army Choir specially invited to the Vatican for this occasion. The concert was broadcast to Italy and Russia. The last song that evening, performed as encore, was Oka, the anthem of the Polish Communist troops formed in the Soviet Union in 1943.

The views of some of the leading historians are hopelessly naive.

Communists took over full control over the Catholic church in Eastern Europe and the Vatican happily played along. There was no chance for an anticommunist priest to rise through the ranks of the church hierarchy. Just see what happened to the Hungarian Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty. He was stripped of his cardinal title by the pope Paul VI for staunchly resisting Communist takeover of the church in Hungary. This decision has not been reversed by John Paul II.

There is also plenty of other evidence, also from everyday life, that conclusions reached in the hallways of University of Oxford or Yale University are simply wrong.

Communist ideology and its practical implementation in many countries are radically different from the western experience. Describing and interpreting it is a cognitive challenge. Looking for truth in the minutes of the Politburo meetings will not get you very far. You may just as well read Pravda.

Communism did not collapse and the Cold War has not been won by the West. If you think you have won but do not understand how it exactly happened, you are in serious trouble.


The Times silent on Yalta 1945

One more comment on Marc Bennetts’ article Stalin’s death liberated us, say activists in The Times, March 6 2020. Two other ones were posted earlier.

The Times remained silent on the 75th anniversary of the Yalta agreement of February 1945.

At the end of WWII leaders of United States and Britain went out of their way to appease the genocidal regime of the Soviet Union. While they championed democracy for their own countries, they made key decisions and signed a pact with the Soviet Union without participation of the representatives of the affected countries of Eastern Europe, thus facilitating further atrocities by the Communists.

This event is often presented as a false alternative: either Yalta agreement or war with the Soviet Union.

At that moment, eastern Poland was occupied by the Soviet Union again, just like in 1939-1941.


The camp thrives

My comment following the review of tv documentary Belsen: Our Story, review: a devastating and dignified oral history of Holocaust horrors, by Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, January 28, 2020
Lech Borkowski

Great documentary.

I made the following note in 2014:

“The last century, beginning with World War I, has seen an incredible devastation of everything. Here in the east-central regions of Europe, especially in Poland, we live on the civilization cemetery. And I am afraid we have not seen it all yet.

Traditionally, the crimes and criminal codes focus on the harm done to human bodies and material objects. What about the incredible devastation of human souls or psyche, if you prefer the latter term?

Are we out of the concentration camp yet? No, we are not. The answer depends somewhat on the definition of the camp. The old, stereotypical image of the concentration camp is the place surrounded by barbed wire, with watchtowers, guards with dogs and emaciated prisoners in striped uniforms.

The idea of the camp, however, is alive and well also today, The camp has not withered away. It thrives.

October 23, 2014”

My both parents were long-time prisoners of Communist concentration camps in the Soviet Union: my father 8 + 2 in exile, my mother 7 years. They were Polish citizens and opposed to Communism. They both survived, luckily, but the trauma was enormous, especially for my mother. For her the war, which started in 1939, when she was twelve years old, has never ended.

More recently, my wife, my daughter, and I learned, that rumours about the liquidation of the camps were vastly exaggerated. Why and how it is possible, you can read at

Irma Grese, the sadistic Nazi camp guard is not such a rarity. A certain Communist woman active in the Soviet Union and Poland was a sadistic torturer, with particular focus on genitalia. She had a PhD in philosophy from Paris obtained between WWI and WWII.

My wife, a pianist and piano teacher, experienced extreme forms of sadism in her place of work, in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra, Poland, between 2011 and 2015. Standing outside the school building, on the street, you would have never guessed, what is happening inside. In this case the camp guards were several of her fellow female employees. These were not accidental forms of social violence. These were methods meticulously scripted and based on the Communist know-how. We have also learned in the process, that these guards are fully protected by functionaries at the higher levels of the state apparatus, all the way to the top, the PM, the president, as well as the prosecutor office.

It is a mistake to think that the camp exists only as an isolated place, surrounded by barbed wire. The Communist state perfected the idea of the camp and developed it much further. This is where we are today.


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