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Publications on the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II

The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II took place on 13 May1981 on St. Peter's Square in Rome. The Pope was shot and wounded by Mehmet Ali Agca. Bulgarian and Soviet Special Services officers were mentioned as the likely originators. In 2014, the investigative division of the Institute of National Remembrance discontinued the investigation into this case initiated in 2006 (on the grounds of the termination of criminal proceedings against Todor Ajvazov and Jelio Vassilev, failure to determine other perpetrators and the fact that the perpetrators are not subject to the case law of Polish courts).

PDF versions of books authored by Prosecutor Michał Skwara and Andrzej Grajewski, Ph.D. : “Papież musiał zginąć. Wyjaśnienia Ali Agcy” (2011) [The Pope Had to Die. Ali Agca’s Explanations” ] and  “Agca nie był sam. Wokół udziału komunistycznych służb specjalnych w zamachu na Jana Pawła II” [Agca Was Not Alone. The participation of communist Special Services in the attempted assassination of John Paul II] can be downloaded from the Institute’s Digital Library.

 

In April 2006, the Investigative Division of the Institute of National Remembrance, Katowice Branch initiated an investigation into the attempted assassination of John Paul II. Its most important goals were: to determine the circumstances of the preparation of the assassination, to describe its course in detail and to disclose disinformation activities carried out by the Special Services of the Eastern Bloc in the 1980s.

 

In the course of the investigation, Prosecutor Michał Skwara, accumulated a total of approx. 20 thousand Italian, Bulgarian and German documents. However, the explanations by Mehmet Ali Agca are of particular importance in this context and serve as the primary source for further research and proceedings. His testimony given before Italian judges during the investigation and judicial proceedings in the years 1981–1985, are the subject of the publication “Papież musiał zginąć. Wyjaśnienia Ali Agcy" [The Pope Had to Die. Ali Agca’s Explanations”]. They are of significant probative value. They had never before been published in full and in an annotated version. Agca's hearings were held in the presence of a Turkish translator and protocolled in Italian. The said publication does not contain the original documents, but their certified translations, drafted for the purposes of the investigation conducted by the Institute of National Remembrance. The most important 38 (out of 112) reports from Agca's interrogations were selected for print, either as a whole or in fragments. Each interrogation report constitutes a separate document. The same method had been applied in the course of the investigation. In the materials selected, first of all, the interrogation reports which significantly related to the organization of the assassination, as well as the description of people who played an important role in preparation for the assassination of John Paul II, were taken into account.

 

The published documents also present the variations in Agca's narrative on the subject. They were chosen in a way which would enable the reader to understand how Agca changed his explanations, which themes he initially omitted, which he added, and from which he completely withdrew during further interrogations or in the courtroom. Not only does this publication shed light on the details of subsequent stages of preparation for the assassination of John Paul II thus enabling us to determine the identity of the participants, but it also draws attention to certain leads which were never clarified or further looked into, probably for political reasons. It primarily deals with issues related to Ali Agca's trip to Teheran in the spring of 1980 and the circumstances of his meeting with the KGB officer Major Vladimir Kuzichkin, working undercover as a Soviet diplomat. According to the author of the publication, this allows us to determine the first link in the preparatory process of the assassination of John Paul II, while pointing to the Soviet Union, much more than the so-called Bulgarian lead in the operation of killing the Pope. The publication, remaining a scientific study, also summarizes the current knowledge of the events of 13 May 1981, thwarts various theories related to this event, and points to existing clues, important for establishing the truth about the assassination of John Paul II.


Andrzej Grajewski

 

Andrzej Grajewski and Michał Skwara’s publication entitled“Agca nie był sam. Wokół udziału komunistycznych służb specjalnych w zamachu na Jana Pawła II” (2015) [Agca Was Not Alone. The participation of communist Special Services in the attempted assassination of John Paul II] is quite unique. It contains both a procedural document in the form of the decision to terminate the investigation by the Prosecutor and a scientific article, which constitutes a thorough historical analysis. The dual structure of the book (documentary and analytical) is not a common publishing practice.
Its value lies in the fact that it is based on extensive factual material, presenting the findings of Polish prosecutors in the course of the investigation, supplemented (enriched) by historian Andrzej Grajewski, who has enormous knowledge of the communist Secret Services, with many other important details which allow us to draw binding conclusions about the incident.

(a fragment of the Introduction to the publication written by Prosecutor Ewa Koj)


The publications were issued by the IPN Branch in Katowice and the Gość Media Institute.

 

 

 

 


A book in Italian entitled “Agca non era solo. Sul coinvolgimento dei servizi segreti comunisti nell’attentato a Giovanni Paolo II” will soon be published.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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