Correspondence, writings, biographical data, and photographs, relating to political conditions in Poland, the defection of
Zdzisław Rurarz to the United States in 1981, and international relations.
Zdzisław Maciej Rurarz was born in 1930 in Pionki, a small town south of Warsaw. He joined a communist youth organization
at sixteen and the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP) several years later. He earned degrees in economics, and taught at
the Warsaw School of Economics through the 1970s, and for a while served as economic adviser to the first secretary of the
PUWP, Edward Gierek. By the time Rurarz was appointed ambassador to Japan, however, he was thoroughly disillusioned with communism
and Poland's role as a Soviet dependency. The rise of the Solidarity trade union and the looming threat of a military crackdown
hastened his decision to defect. In December 1981, when Poland's communist authorities declared martial law and arrested thousands
of Solidarity activists, Rurarz and Romuald Spasowski, Polish ambassador to the United States, protested by renouncing their
allegiance to the Moscow-dominated government in Warsaw and seeking political asylum in the United States. After contacting
US diplomats in Tokyo, Rurarz made a daring escape to the US embassy, along with his wife and daughter. He was immediately
declared a traitor and tried in absentia by a military court in Warsaw. The sentence was death, revocation of his Polish citizenship,
and confiscation of all property.
9 manuscript boxes
(4.5 linear feet)
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