I was fired from a university in Poland in 2015. A Wikipedia page with my name was created one day before delivery of the letter terminating my employment. I received an email from someone informing about the Wikipedia page. I objected to it but the page was created. To mask the fact that this action was directed against me, a whole set of Wikipedia pages, nearly one hundred of them, were created for all faculty members of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. The information was basically a copy of the most mundane information from departmental web pages. It was an obvious violation of Wikipedia rules. Part of campaign of harassment and stalking, which was here not only institutionalised but also wikipedialised. Yet, when I let member of the Wikipedia board know about it, he ignored the problem.
Wikipedia is a social medium. Any sufficiently strong group can control large parts of it. Control of entries written in less popular languages is illusory. Branches of Wikipedia in different languages reflect power structures within those languages. Wikipedia is just another tool to shape historical and political narratives.
There is no mention of the invasion of Poland in 1939 in the @Wikipedia ‘Soviet Border Troops’ entry. Nothing about killings and terror. Note the vague language: ‘the Border Troops assisted the pacification of the newly acquired Soviet territory adjoining the state border.’ pic.twitter.com/dL6mWK8HLA
However, he is trying to alter the meaning and point finger at someone else.
“I find the text being of poor quality, merely a retelling of an official story. The problem is that Poland is an epicentre of falsifications of both recent European history and contemporary politics.”
These words are equally applicable here.
By the way, I applied to a Polish university for an official transcript of my undergraduate grades twice. I paid the fee. The functionaries refused to issue the document I asked for. The first time they pretended they didn’t know how it should look like. On the second attempt, they sent few pages which do not qualify as official transcript. The first page was stamped with university seal, but the rest were not. This was done on purpose, of course. I was expelled from Polish state institution for political reasons in 2015. I am a physicist, like Marie Curie.
The men in the BBC documentary Borrowed Pasture, Eugeniusz Okołowicz, photographer, and Włodzimierz Bułaj, electrician, were in the Polish Army during September 1939 campaign of WWII, then crossed into Lithuania where they were interned, to avoid capture by either Germans or Russians. Soviets occupied Lithuania in Spring 1940 and transferred the interned Poles to Russian camps. My wife’s grandfather Aleksander Głuchowski was also among them.
The camps, where Włodzimierz/Wlodek Bułaj was held, marked with yellow pins on the enclosed map:
Yukhnov, Kaluga Oblast, from 15 July 1940
Ponoy in the Kola Peninsula, Murmansk Oblast, from 6 June 1941
Yuzha, Ivanovo Oblast
Camps, where Eugeniusz Okołowicz was held are marked by blue pins:
Kozielsk/Kozelsk, from 13 July 1940
Gryazovets, Vologda Oblast, from 2 July 1941 to 3 September 1941
Orange pin is the location of Tatishchevo, Saratov Oblast, where both men arrived in September 1941. This was one of the meeting points for Polish soldiers and their dependants after they were released from the Soviet camps, following the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Note the location of the Ponoy camp at the tip of the Kola Peninsula. It is a barren tundra in an uninhabited land, very far from any human settlements. Soviets referred to it as the ‘Ponoy point’. Number of prisoners at this location was about 4 thousand. Many of them would be dead during the following months, had they been kept there longer. NKVD documents state the POWs were to be used for the construction of an airfield. It is obvious, however, that the death toll would be enormous. That was probably the aim: to kill by exhaustion and hunger.
My wife’s grandfather was in the same camps of Kozielsk/Kozelsk and Gryazovets as Okołowicz. Thousands of earlier Polish POWs from the Kozielsk camp were murdered by the Russians at the Katyn site near Smolensk in April and May 1940. Returning to Poland under Communist/Soviet control after the war was therefore very risky. Many of the Poles interned in Lithuania and later in the Soviet camps lived in eastern Poland, which was occupied by the Soviet Union after the war. This was the case of Głuchowski and could be the case of Bułaj and Okołowicz as well.
Aleksander Głuchowski arrived in Poland in 1947 to reunite with his son he last saw in 1939, his wife having died of hunger, exhaustion and disease in 1945. He was arrested by the Communist secret police and imprisoned. He died in 1952 at the age of 45.
The 22 December 1959 edition of Western Mail (Glamorgan County) noted that cameraman William Greenhaigh served at the mass celebrated at the farm:
Wearing gumboots, he recently served at a Roman Catholic Mass for two elderly Poles on a remote farm in Carmarthenshire.
The BBC Welsh television unit, of which he is a member, was on location, shooting scenes for “Borrowed Pastures” – featuring Polish farmers who have left their native land to settle in Wales.
Coventry Evening Telegraph, 15 June 1960, in the article Tribute to Courage of Polish Farmers:
A happy ending has been provided to one of the most fascinating human interest stories in recent years, which began when about 100 Welsh farms passed into the possession of Polish Ex-Servicemen at the end of the war.
Two such people were Eugeniusz Okolowicz and Wlodek Bulaj, who borrowed enough money to buy infertile acres and ruined buildings of Penygaer Farm, Trawsmawr, Carmarthen, which had stood abandoned for 20 years.
Neither knew much about farming, but they managed to clear a mountain stream to an old mill and harness a generator. Living on a few groceries and two tins of meat a week, they built up a small herd of cattle and found market for the milk. Also, they found an old tractor, which they bought for £4 10s.
Today, they still work 18 hours a day; their only contact with the rest of the world being a weekly rendezvous with a travelling grocer, and a six-monthly visit of a Polish priest.
The courageous battle of these two men was spotlighted last month in the film, “Borrowed Pasture”, shown on BBC TV, and the Hawker Siddeley Group offered the two farmers one of its new aero-dynamically designed Gloster forage harvesters, worth some £300. An offer which was speedily accepted.
The presentation of the Harvester – built by the same experts who designed Gloster Javelin and Gloster Meteor jet fighters – was made at Penygaer Farm yesterday by a Gloster board member, Mr. W. W. W. Downing.
On Friday, January 6 1961, The South Wales Gazette, Monmouthshire, noted
The BBC Film Unit’s presentation of “Borrowed Pasture” which can be seen on Wednesday, attracted a great deal of attention when it was shown in May last year […]
The film, written and produced by John Ormond, tells the story of two former soldiers in the Polish Army, who settled in a bleak decaying farm on a Carmarthenshire hill-side. […]
The film’s most moving passage deals with loneliness of Wlodek Bulaj, one of the farmers. Bulaj has not seen his wife for 22 years.
John set about the task of helping Bulaj to get Polish and British visas for Mrs Bulaj to come to Wales.
Viewers who had seen the film sent money to help. After months of delay, Mrs Bulaj is now at the farm, having been reunited with her husband in Ormond’s own home. Now she can stay in Britain indefinitely.
The article mentions ‘Polish and British visas for Mrs Bulaj’. This may indicate that the family lived in eastern Poland, occupied by the Soviet Union after WWII.
Here is the scene from the film, in which Włodek is looking at his family pictures. The little daughter he last saw in 1939 has just got married.
However, in 1963, a little over two years after the reunion with his wife, Włodzimierz Bułaj died. What happened to his wife, Mr. Okołowicz, and the farm?
The personal dimension of the story is closely linked with the Communist policy of elimination and separation of anyone not willing to serve the totalitarian system. I mentioned my wife’s grandfather, who was prevented from reuniting with his son, my father in law, and imprisoned upon arrival in Poland in 1947.
Farms of my grandparents on both sides in eastern Poland were seized by Soviet authorities after WWII. Nearly entire family on my mother’s side were sent to concentration camps in different parts of the Soviet Union. Some were tortured. My parents met in the camps. Later on, in the 1980s, Soviet authorities refused permission for my visit to the family still remaining in the Soviet-occupied territory. In 2015, after many years of harassment, my wife and I were expelled from our workplaces at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra and University in Poznań, respectively. Despite official proclamations, the Communist policies continue. I am now in London in the UK, where I came in 2016, while my wife remains in Poland. The story of Bułaj, Okołowicz, Głuchowski, and others like them is not over. It continues.
EU is such a horrible wasteful bureaucracy. In 2017, several of us were driven from London to Truro in Cornwall to distribute some job training/job scheme leaflets paid for by the EU. I worked for a leaflet distribution company at the time. However, this money had to be sent to Brussels by the UK government first and later was sent back to sponsor this bizarre action. Letting some guys in a foreign country decide what is good for Britain, or any other country, and what job training schemes to support means loss of sovereignty.
And what was the carbon footprint of our round trip?
Several years earlier I witnessed a total waste of money provided by the EU to Poland. They sponsored theatrical workshop in a local theatre my daughter’s class was to participate in. The workshop was a fiction and was cut short. Waste of time and waste of money. I am sure the subsequent fictional report looked good on paper.
Another day I came to pick up my daughter from school in Poland and was surprised to find that she was compulsorily subjected to a medical superficial examination she did not need and we parents have not agreed to. When individuals and families are stripped of their fundamental rights and their dignity, that’s totalitarianism. We have not agreed to our daughter being undressed in front of some strange people. This was sponsored by the EU.
To jest fałszywy, inscenizowany konflikt. Zarówno media, jak i rząd należą do tej samej klasy rządzącej, która jest komunistyczną klasą rządzącą. W Polsce nie załamał się też komunizm, ani nie nastąpił powrót do autentyczności w życiu publicznym.
Ludzie Zachodu nie mogą pojąć koncepcji fałszywego konfliktu politycznego rozgrywanego publicznie w celu kontrolowania narracji. Jest to rzecz podobna do ustawionego meczu w sporcie. Konkurencja może być fałszywa również w biznesie.
Dwight Garner in The New York Times, March 8, 2021.
I hope Kaiser recovers his family property. I am very familiar with ‘Kafkaesque hurdles’ in Poland. You need to understand the presence of the red elephant in the room. My wife and I extensively dealt in recent years with state administration, law, legal issues, prosecution office, and through correspondence, with top state officials. The Kafkaesque process is symptomatic of fundamental, deeper issues. This is not anomaly. This is actually modus operandi of the state that does not want to follow its own laws.
In other words, the legal processes and enforcement of the law have been taken outside the law. The law functions only as a theoretical concept. There is theory and there is experiment. Experimental data do not agree with theory.
We have spoken to many lawyers. I would not describe any of them as a ‘normal lawyer’. Kaiser’s difficulties are neither weird nor accidental. They are systemic.
In many ways, WWII hasn’t ended in 1945. I am currently paying mortgage on an apartment in Zielona Góra (German Gruenberg). My presence there is an indirect consequence of WWII. My parents lived in eastern Poland before WWII. They were both prisoners of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia after WWII. Their family properties are located within current Belarussian borders. Their farms were seized by the Soviet authorities during their post-1945 occupation of the area.
Whichever way you look, WWII does not want to go away.
Polish authorities used the service of occupational medicine service against my wife in 2015. They manufactured fake medical statement to expel her from the job of pianist and piano teacher at the State School of Music in Zielona Góra. This was done with the approval of the government. We have detailed evidence, including sound recordings, which are now available on Youtube. My wife was accused by a psychologist of having unspecified delusions. She was forced to visit a psychologist twice as part of a routine occupational medicine checkup under threat of losing her job.
Earlier, we wrote many letters to state officials pointing out violations of law and human rights during an intense campaign against our family which went on for years. We have notified the members of the European Parliament several times. They ignored us. We have also contacted human rights organisations who have remained silent.
Europe likes declarations about human rights but hates to engage with the victims and actually do anything.
My family members, including my parents, all Polish citizens, were prisoners of Communist concentration camps in northern Russia after WWII. There is space at the European Parliament for members of Communist totalitarian organisations but there is no space for victims of Communist methods in a European Union country.
This is a fake, staged conflict. Both the media and the government are the same ruling class and both recruit from the same Communist ruling class. Neither has Communism collapsed in Poland nor has there been a return to authenticity in public life.
The westerners can’t wrap their heads around the concept of a fake political conflict played out in public with the aim to control the narrative. It is like a fixed match in sports. Competition can also be fake in business.
Few years ago I tried to find the doctoral thesis of a well-known Polish Communist ideologue(1) and a prominent high-ranking Party official, presented in media as having a PhD.
[In 2015] I asked in the main library of the university(2) which was listed as the institution of his doctoral studies to locate the thesis. They said they had no information about it.
Newspapers provided no date when the PhD was obtained.
It was also a bit odd that the guy worked in places far from the university his degree was from. How did he do the PhD, while simultaneously holding high-level important jobs in the Party and state administration? We are talking 1950s or early 1960s here. He was later promoted to the full professor.
So, I repeat my question, where is his thesis?
I am also puzzled by the fact that I have never seen anyone ever question his academic credentials. This must be a taboo.
(1) Andrzej Werblan
(2) Adam Mickiewicz University
The article’s author represents an enthusiastic approach to Wikipedia.
Quote from the article:
Dariusz Jemielniak (author of the first ethnography of Wikipedia, Common Knowledge?, in 2014) stresses the playfulness of the whole enterprise. Why else, he asks, would academics avoid it? “When you are a soldier, you do not necessarily spend your free time playing paintball with friends.”
On his webpage, Jemielniak proudly quotes words of praise he received from Zygmunt Bauman, the late sociologist, former political officer (politruk) in the Communist army and member of the Polish Communist party and Communist military intelligence. Bauman himself used Wikipedia texts without providing attribution, see “Problematic elements…” by PW Walsh and D Lehmann (2015). In this context, the comparison of academics to soldiers does not seem out of place.
One day in 2015, someone I didn’t know sent me an email with information that a Wikipedia page in Polish with my name was just created. I replied with an objection. The page was created despite my disapproval. It was 28 October 2015. I was a faculty member at the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. The next day, I received letter terminating my employment.
As it turned out, Wikipedia pages of all the faculty in the Department of Physics were created at the same time. This was most unusual for at least couple of reasons. The information on those pages was of the most trivial type and mostly reproduced information bits usually appearing on academic departmental pages. It was also clear that some of the sentences used in personal descriptions were selected not as a way of describing each person but rather as a way as emphasizing the person as ‘one of many’.
I verified that other University departments and physics departments of other universities in Poland have not received this kind of treatment. So, something significant happened that day in the Polish Wikipedia. When I let someone from the Wikipedia board know about it in 2019, he shrugged it off.
My person and the fact that I was being fired from the faculty of the Department of Physics of the Adam Mickiewicz University were the only reasons for creating the nearly hundred personal Wikipedia pages.
Shortly afterwards, my pianist wife was fired from her job of a piano teacher in the State School of Music in Zielona Góra in Poland, on the basis of a fake document fabricated by the state service of occupational medicine. The authorities have been carrying out an intense bullying and harassment campaign against our family for years. Now they decided to eliminate us from our jobs.
One needs to keep in mind that Wikipedia pages come near the top of Internet searches. If someone somewhere was looking for Lech Borkowski the physicist, it would certainly be picked up by the snippets of code serving the search engines. And indeed, some time later, I could observe how the viewing numbers of the Wikipedia containing my name page rose, whenever I was more active in contacting other people. Wikipedia simply serves as a giant listening device. The information it collects enables identification of people and places looking for certain keywords.
The Polish Wikipedia has nothing to do with its English language counterpart, despite sharing the name. It is used for purposes contrary to those officially proclaimed. It is a social medium and a perfect tool for the exercise of power. Control of information and story telling (in general sense) are among the most basic instruments of power. The individuals controlling Polish Wikipedia are well organised. There is a great degree of similarity with actions of Communist intelligence, both inside and outside the country.
It is no accident that the military Communist political and intelligence officer Bauman praised Jemielniak’s enthusiastic book on Wikipedia. It is also no accident that (1) I was fired from the University (2) Wikipedia page was created to control my narrative. After WWII, my parents were in Communist concentration camps, where they were sent by the likes of Bauman.
And let me emphasize once again that I strongly oppose having a Wikipedia page with my name on it.
PhD, shop assistant at a west London greengrocer’s