The press conference with the participation of the IPN President Karol Nawrocki, Ph.D. took place on 14 August 2022 at 12.00 in front of the cathedral at the St. John Paul II square in Kwidzyn.
On the occasion of the 40th the anniversary of the "Bloody Saturday" in Kwidzyn, i.e. the pacification of internees at the local Detention Center, a press conference was held during which the launch of the #archiveofcrimes project was announced.
The resumption of investigations into the communist crimes of the 1980s has been the result of a change in the interpretation by the Supreme Court. The catalogue of cases to be considered as communist crimes against the Polish Nation, humanity and war crimes has been expanded. Actions will be taken by the IPN Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.
During his speech, the IPN President stressed that:
The introduction of Martial Law of 13 December1981 meant crushing the hopes of Poles to regain sovereignty and freedom for nearly a decade. It also meant the death of several dozen people and the condemnation of more than 10,000 persons with disgraceful sentences up to 10 years of imprisonment. But Martial Law also meant internment.
The communists interned activists of "Solidarity" and other patriotic unions in 52 internment centers, which were usually located in prisons. One of such centers was established in Kwidzyn in the spring of 1982.
Referring to the events of "Bloody Saturday", when the interns in Kwidzyn were refused to see their families, Karol Nawrocki recalled the repercussions of the peaceful strike:
The internees were locked up in cells, maltreated, beaten and subjected to the so-called health paths. Their personal belongings were destroyed. Moreover, they were brought before the communist provincial court in Elbląg and sentenced. People who had been unjustly deprived of their liberty were beaten and then tried by communist courts. As we know, those responsible for these crimes never received justice. Only the victims had been tried.
The mission of the Institute is to learn the truth about the crimes committed and to judge the perpetrators, which is required by transitional justice.
As the IPN President, I guarantee that we will strive for the full truth, and bring those responsible for communist crimes to justice, emphasized Dr. Nawrocki.
Then, Prosecutor Andrzej Pozorski, Director of the IPN Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, took the floor, reminding the audience that the Institute of National Remembrance has been already conducting several hundred investigations into crimes committed during Martial Law by communist officials.
The lawlessness of Martial Law cannot be forgotten. There are still many issues that have not been clarified. Moreover, taking into account the time of committing these crimes, there are real chances not only to clarify the circumstances of these events, but also of bringing the perpetrators to court.
Later in his speech, Prosecutor Pozorski pointed out that some of the investigations had been terminated in the early years of the functioning of the Institute of National Remembrance.
Since then, the Institute's archival resources have increased significantly, and the knowledge of the archival resources has also increased (...). In addition, in recent months, very favorable desions have been passed before the Supreme Court.
It is worth emphasizing that for almost 10 years the prosecutors of the IPN Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation have been fighting in the courts to recognize that communist crimes committed during the period of Martial Law in Poland, in accordance with the provisions of international law, constitute crimes against humanity, which do not have a statute of limitations.
Together with President Nawrocki, we want to feel that we have done everything we could. The result of our cooperation and analysis is the decision by the Prosecutor of the Branch Commission [for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation] in Gdańsk to take up a number of cases that were legally discontinued, and the subject of which was the brutal and unlawful beating of interned persons, which occurred on 14 August1982 as part of an objection against limiting contact with families.