Agent of Polish communist military secret service and Soviet intelligence to have denounced Rev. Blachnicki

Polish priest’s cooperation with Ukrainians, Russians and representatives of people’s democracies in exile caused considerable anxiety in Moscow – says Łukasz Wolak, PhD, historian, author of the book “Lexicon of activists of the Union of Polish Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany (1951-1993)”.

TVP WEEKLY: How did you come across a Pole working for the Soviet KGB with Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki?

During a preliminary archival research in the archives of the National Remembrance Institute, which I have been doing for over a decade. When materials from the restricted collection were made available to researchers, extremely interesting materials appeared on Polish refugees in Germany, produced by the Military Internal Service, i.e. the military counterintelligence of the Polish People’s Republic. In the 1980s, this man was about 70 years old and none of the Polish community activists in West Germany even suspected that he could be an agent of the communist services.

Who was this person?

It’s the late Marian Litwiniak, an activist of the Union of Polish Refugees in Germany since the 1960s. He is also associated with other organizations in Bavaria, including the Association of Polish War Veterans and the Union of Borderland Soldiers. He found himself in Germany in the 1960s. He was recruited by the 2nd Department of the 2nd WSW (Wojskowa Służba Wewnętrzna – Internal Military Service) Directorate and cooperated with it for several years. He was classified for the lowest category of cooperation, but he was an extremely important person because of the information he provided, which will be discussed in a moment. Starting from this discovery, I began to look at this person again.


It turned out that his biography is full of crazy coincidences and amazing cases. He was born in 1909, so it is not difficult to count that when World War II broke out, he was 30 years old. In the September Campaign of 1939, he took part in the defense of Warsaw, was taken prisoner by the Germans, but escaped from a transport near Sochaczew and probably stayed in this area. Relatively quickly he became involved in the structures of the ZWZ (Związek Walki Zbrojnej – Union of Armed Struggle) near Warsaw. From around 1940, he appeared in Warsaw where he dealt with gold, currency as well as diamonds.

That was the first signal that indicated that he was not a random person. It is puzzling whether he was given such a task, or perhaps his actions resulted from good relations with the occupation authorities. Over time, he expanded his activity and opened another watchmaker’s shop in Bracka St. According to the information contained in the documents, he became involved in the activities of the organization Miecz i Pług (Sword and Plow).

That’s an interesting organization, at one point infiltrated by the Germans and the Soviets.

Yes. According to the information obtained by the military counterintelligence of the Polish People’s Republic, he could have been involved in the murder of a Warsaw jeweler, from whom he had stolen property. Around 1943, he offered to deliver dollars to the Home Army. It soon turned out that this way of earning money brought him considerable profits.

After the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, he joined the “Iwo” Battalion, which was formed at Marszałkowska St. He was wounded during the fighting.

In November 1944, he was arrested by the Germans and imprisoned in the basement of the church at Wolska Street. As a pre-war reserve officer of the Polish Army, he was sent to Oflags Sandbostel and Murnau. In Murnau he was liberated by the American army. In 1945, he forged an assignment card, indicating that he was a liaison officer of the Polish army and thanks to it he got to France.

There he reported to the Polish Military Mission of the Lublin (communist) government and expressed his desire to return to Poland. Already in 1946 he was recruited by the Main Information Board and given the pseudonym “Antil”. At the request of the Military Information, he investigated the milieu of soldiers of the 2nd Corps of the Polish Armed Forces and Home Army in France, England, in the occupation zones of Germany and Belgium.

What was his first assignment?

He was supposed to get to the American occupation zone, near Murnau and Pilzno, as a representative of a newly opened publishing company and make contact with the Warsaw insurgents and Home Army soldiers. It is difficult to say whether he accomplished these tasks.

The main task he was supposed to carry out for the Military Information was to work out the intelligence agents transferred to Poland by the cells of the former 6th Division of the Commander-in-Chief's Staff in London, i.e. the military intelligence structure. And then another set of unusual circumstances began in his life.

What happened?

The correspondence between the MBP – Ministry of Public Security of the Polish People’s Republic - and the Main Information Board shows that around 1946 he was sentenced to six months in a forced labor camp. However, there is no detail describing this event.

In 1947, it was transferred by the communist military counterintelligence to the MBP communications. Then he is contacted by Colonel Adam Gajewski, director of Department I, i.e. the MBP counterintelligence and NKVD officer. During this collaboration, he used the pseudonym “978”.

In the same year, together with Janusz Tobis, he was tasked with founding Transeuropa. This company concluded commercial transactions with Soviet military units stationed in Poland. Most likely, these were transactions commissioned by the MBP.

What was the purpose of this undertaking?

We do not know the purpose of this activity. Perhaps the counterintelligence of the civil security wanted to control commercial transactions between Soviet units in Poland through this project. However, the documents show that the Transeuropa company was not limited to Soviet units. There is also information that his activities were related to an offensive operation against French intelligence.

What was it about?

The task of agent "978" was to contact a representative of French intelligence for recruitment. In 1949, it turned out that the planned operation was successful, because Litwiniak was recruited by Major Hummen, then the military attaché of France in Warsaw. Thanks to this, the MBP counterintelligence identified the French intelligence officer and it was in a way a failure of the French intelligence. This stratagem, although not described, probably allowed the diplomat to be drawn into cooperation with the MBP counterintelligence.

In 1951, the MBP counterintelligence decided to transfer Litwiniak to West Berlin so that he “get recruited” by the American intelligence. To reinforce the legend, he was to be transferred together with two other people, and to provide American services with information about the transfer channel to Poland, which he managed himself. The activities carried out by him at that time were full of ambiguity, mainly due to deficiencies in the documentation, which was emphasized by the officer analyzing Litwiniak’s activities.

Still in 1952, he was supposed to be transferred via Czechoslovakia to Nuremberg. However, there is no information whether he managed to complete this project.

The further part of the transcript shows that Litwiniak’s interlocutors wanted to determine whether he was a collaborator of the Soviet intelligence and was investigating Department VII of the Ministry of Public Security. Litwiniak then denied all the accusations, pointing out that the aforementioned Col. Gajewski knew about his activity.

In 1953, Litwiniak was again involved in another operation of Department I of the MBP. What was it about?

It was an operation code-named “Departure” and was about uncovering of the US intelligence center in West Berlin. In his person, many offensive operational ventures are accumulated at various levels. It can therefore be assumed that under the cover of the MBP operation he could carry out tasks for the Soviet intelligence. This may be evidenced by receipts for funds collected in marks, dollars for tasks carried out in the GDR in 1958.

In 1960, Litwiniak was ordered by Col. Henryk Żmijewski, then deputy director of Department II of the Ministry of the Interior, kept at the disposal of the director of counterintelligence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and then removed from the operational records. In the same year, as the head of the international exchange office of PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society), together with another SB (Służba Beczpieczeństwa – Security Service) officer, he went on business to West Germany. Later findings of the military counterintelligence confirm that it was a civilian counterintelligence operation, and its aim was to enter the sphere of interest of the Western services.

Litwiniak refused to return to his country and decided to stay in western Germany. He ended up in a refugee camp near Nuremberg, and later in Zindorf. There he was subjected to various kinds of interrogations by representatives of Western intelligence services. He left the camp and found employment in the Guard Company of the US Army in Kaiserslautern. There he completed a communication and radiotelegraphy course, and then was transferred to a special unit. In 1961, he left these units, but interestingly, he was still being investigated by the Counter Intelligence Corps, i.e. the American military counterintelligence. Meanwhile he was worked out by Władysław Kawecki, pseudonym “Hill” for the Polish WSW.

The one who, as journalist, saw the graves of Polish officers in Katyń?

The very one. During the war, he worked for a radio code-named “Wanda” in Rome, and later probably worked for American and West German counterintelligence. Then, after an unsuccessful attempt to contact the Department I of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he was recruited by the military counterintelligence of the WSW.
Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki, reproduction from the book “Man of Consistent Faith”, publ. “Light-Life”. Henryk Przondziono / Gość Niedzielny / Forum
The information collected by Kawecki was sent directly to the WSW headquarters in Warsaw. In view of the above, in 1968, the WSW headquarters, due to a number of various doubts, store of the past and unclear operational situations related to Litwiniak’s activity, wondered whether it was worth recruiting him.

Why? After all, he previously worked for Military Information and the MBP.

He lived in the area of influence of American intelligence and NATO secret services. The thread of cooperation was most likely broken when he refused to return to Poland. There were fears of provocation, but in 1972 WSW officers took a risk and established contact with him in Yugoslavia.

This was also due to the fact that in the activities preceding the establishment of contact, Litwiniak indicated in secret correspondence to the WSW that he wanted to renew intelligence cooperation. After meeting a liaison in Yugoslavia, he was given the pseudonym “Lizak” (lit. “Lollipop”) and was classified for the lowest category of registration, actually an informal one: “Secured Person”. The materials collected in the archival resource show that “Lizak” had cooperated with WSW from 1972 to 1984-85.

What was the WSW interested in?

In quite a wide range of topics. First of all, the intelligence activity of NATO countries, including the activities of refugees and dissidents from the so-called people’s democracies and their contacts with Western services, the activity of Radio Free Europe, independence organizations, the activity of Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki, German parties, including the CSU, Ukrainian refugees in Munich. During subsequent meetings, Litwiniak was equipped with means of communication, e.g. with tracing paper, invisible ink, address of the box for communication with the WSW headquarters.

He willingly fulfilled intelligence tasks, first of all providing information about Polish refugees. He also informed about the activity of Volodymyr Lenyk and Anton Melnyk from the Union of Ukrainian Emigrants in Germany, the superior structure of Ukrainian organizations in Western Europe. All the information provided seemed extremely interesting to the military counterintelligence of the Polish People’s Republic, because they gained insight not only into the activities of Polish refugees, but also into the activities of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists operating in Bavaria since the end of the war. And here comes the KGB, because the Soviets were particularly interested in this information.

Okay, but what does all this have to do with investigating Rev. Blachnicki by the KGB?

The investigation of Ukrainian circles in Bavaria by Litwiniak becomes a starting point for the KGB to work out Rev. Blachnicki. The priest not only had good contacts with the Ukrainians in Bavaria, but also undertook joint social and organizational projects with them. Rev. Blachnicki also cooperated with representatives of other nations oppressed by communism, including Russians, Lithuanians, Latvians and Ukrainians. This drew the attention of the military counterintelligence of the Polish People’s Republic and the KGB.

Litwiniak appears in all organizations associated with Rev. Blachnicki. He works in the Christian Service for the Liberation of Nations in Calrsberg, where he is an informal representative of Rev. Blachnicki in Bavaria. He also joins the structures of the board of the Polish-Ukrainian Society. He combines many Polish and Ukrainian circles.

Litwiniak is also interested in the structures of the PPS (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna – Polish Socialist Party) in western Germany, which in the 1980s constituted the largest organizational and political core of Polish exiles in western Germany. He is active in the National Council and the Association of Polish Combatants as well. He also collects information on PSL (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe – Polish People’s Party), because Hanna Chorążyna, head of the office of the Christian People’s Liberation Service, was associated with PSL.

Active anti-communist activists of the new generation also appear in Carlsberg, e.g. Jerzy Jankowski, Wojciech Gruszecki, Andrzej Prusiński, Marek Ciesielczyk, Edward Klimczak, Tadeusz Folek. They too are of interest to Polish military and Soviet intelligence. SIGN UP TO OUR PAGE Litwiniak collects and provides information for the WSW. How does it get to the KGB?

Military counterintelligence forwards Litwiniak’s information to Major General Nyeretin, who, after analyzing it, forwards further questions to, among others, General Teodor Kufel, head of the WSW (1964-1979) and head of the Polish Military Mission in West Berlin (1979-1981) asking for further decisions on specific cases.

What exactly did he ask?

Gen. Nyeretin points to specific things that interested the KGB in a secret letter of 1977 to Gen. Kufel: “It would be desirable to clarify the following issues thanks to your capabilities among the Ukrainian emigrants in Munich: specific actions planned by foreign units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in connection with conference in Belgrade on the 60th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, their organizers, performers, extremist plans of foreign OUN cells, possible terrorist intentions. Opportunity to approach OUN leaders and activists abroad.

What else interested the Russians? There are specific names: Yaroslav Stechko, Slav Stechko, Mudrik, Kashub, Lenkavski, Dembritski, Vashkowich, Gaydama, Gawamay, Korsian and others. Characteristic data about the above persons. Existence of opposition in foreign OUN cells. In relation to Stechko, the nature of the anti-Soviet actions that the established Polish-Ukrainian Discussion Club intends to carry out, i.e. the one that Rev. Blachnicki was later engaged in – and their performers. Data on Ukrainian nationalists leaving for the USSR to carry out hostile actions. Attempts to hold meetings by nationalists with their contacts with the USSR in the territory of socialist countries, including the Polish People’s Republic. Concrete facts, agreements between Ukrainian nationalists and Zionists, Maoists and other anti-Soviet elements abroad. Inflow channels and the use of hostile materials by the Free Europe and Liberty radio station. The relationship between Jewish emigrants and OUN members working in the Ukrainian editorial office of the Svoboda radio station. Information about the situation in the OUN and the possibilities of joining it with a view to disassembling it from the inside in the future.

Did Litwiniak complete the task ordered by General Nyeretin of the KGB?

Yes. In July 1978, the leadership of the military counterintelligence sent to the head of the KGB station in Warsaw, i.e. to the head of the Narew group, Gen. Vitaly Grigorievich Pavlov, a report on the performance by their collaborator of the task that had been requested by General Nyeretin in 1977. Thanks to Litwiniak, the KGB obtained a wide insight into the environment they are interested in and a range of possibilities of infiltrating Ukrainians who later cooperated with Rev. Blachnicki.

And what can you tell us about Dr. Karol H. Sitko?

He appeared in West Germany in the 1960s, in connection with the case of Andrzej Madejczyk, an illegal of the Polish-communist intelligence service and at the same time a collaborator of the BND, who recruited Fr. Konrad Hejmo. Karol Sitko was the founder of several organizations in the USA, e.g. “Freien Press”, "Western Goals-Europe” including the one called Heritage Group Council for Citizenship Education. In the environment of Polish refugees, he was regarded as an activist of the Silesian organization, but strongly associated with compatriots’ circles and West German institutions.

Basically, we know relatively little about him, least of all – who he worked for. He doesn’t appear accidental moments and it should be added that within the framework of the investigation codenamed “Kniaź” he was recruited by the civil intelligence of the Polish People’s Republic in 1979. This contact lasted until the second half of the 1980s.

First the Militia and the Army moved in, then decrees were passed. Helpless Council?

Despite the obvious violation of the constitution, after 1989 no one was brought before the State Tribunal.

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Well, Sitko invited to cooperation with the aforementioned organization, Heritage Group, among others Litwiniak and Rev. Blachnicki. Other people involved in this activity were Jerzy Iranek Osmecki, Stanley Sitko, John Marczuk, Ukrainians: Jerzy Sienkowski and Mirosław Styranka, Slovak Jan Doliński and others. Sitko, in connection with his activities, attracted the attention of the Polish People’s Republic and the KGB intelligence, because he represented programs promoted by the Americans when they started the implementation in 1984 of the 100 million dollar project for anti-communist activities, carried out by distributors: Radio Free Europe, Parisian “Kultura” and Blachnicki’s Christian Peoples Liberation Service, as well as by the Polish-Ukrainian Society and the Ukrainian Liberation Front.

The program financed by the CIA consisted primarily in popularizing anti-communist and anti-Soviet narratives through radio channels, distributing literature, providing material support to opposition circles, and expanding direct personal contacts with dissidents from various republics of the Soviet Union. The wide spectrum of American financial involvement created an extraordinary activity and set in motion channels through which literature and dollars were transferred behind the Iron Curtain to the Solidarity underground and further east to anti-communist activists and organizations.

This allows us to conclude that in this situation we are not only dealing with another communist service in Rev. Blachnicki’s entourage, but for the first time a clear signal that there were Soviet services around the priest.

Don’t the archival materials concerning the Gontarczyks i.e. “Panna” and “Yon” directly indicate this?

No, these are our suspicions that the Russians were in the background of this case. We also have an indication of the STASI and an agent associated with that service. Litwiniak’s collaboration with the military counterintelligence tangibly indicates that the KGB was observing Rev. Blachnicki cooperating with Ukrainian refugees and Americans. Marian Litwiniak was a person who was not only close to Rev. Blachnicki and the Polish-Ukrainian Society, but he also had the ability to introduce agents to these places and make them credible.

What could have caused the Russians to be particularly concerned and cause these circles to be uncovered?

What Rev. Blachnicki spoke in his teachings, namely about the liberation of subjugated nations, which began with the liberation of man at the level of the spirit, from getting rid of all propaganda accretions that were shackles blocking the way to man’s personal freedom. The Russians were very concerned about this, because the “carnival” of Solidarity in Poland caused them to be afraid of the domino effect and they could not cope with the situation in the Polish People’s Republic. But there were other republics they still controlled. Rev. Blachnicki’s cooperation with Ukrainians, Russians and representatives of people’s democracies in exile caused considerable anxiety in Moscow. It aroused the belief that this was the beginning of a creeping revolution that would lead to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The Soviets were also afraid that the $100 million program implemented by American intelligence would make people so aware that they would oppose the authorities. Therefore, they tried to counteract these activities or at least monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, control the smuggling channels and the people involved.

It should also be added that over the years 1986-1987 in various parts of Europe there was a series of deaths of key activists associated either with RWE or with the center in Carlsberg.

Maybe it’s a coincidence?

Perhaps, but during that period Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki dies, Jerzy Jankowski dies in unclear circumstances in a car accident in Poland, Tadeusz Podgórski suddenly dies within six months after retiring from Radio Free Europe and moving to London. This is important information in his case, because he was associated with the CIA and warned Rev. Blachnicki against the Gontarczyks. He was responsible for checking them in connection with the questionnaires that Gontarczykowa submitted to the Security Office of Radio Free Europe. In 1987, Litwiniak also dies.

The number of deaths among people associated with the center in Carlsberg over a short span of time raises the question of whether they were accidental. However, I’ll leave this problem for further research.

– Interviewed by Tomasz Plaskota
– Translated by Dominik Szczęsny-Kostanecki

TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists

Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki (1921-87) was the founder of the Light-Life Movement (aka as the Oasis Movement) and several other Catholic organizations and associations, a lecturer at the Catholic University of Lublin. During the occupation he was a concentration camp prisoner, repressed by the Security Service in the Polish People’s Republic People’s Venerable Servant of God of the Catholic Church. On March 14, 2023, the Institute of National Remembrance announced that his death was a result of murder by poisoning.
Main photo: Monument to Rev. Franciszek Blachnicki in front of the headquarters of the Light-Life Movement Center in Krościenko upon Dunajec. Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Momot
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