Controversy surrounds Moskal and Nowak-Jeziorański
Chairman of American Polonia Congress
Edward Moskal caused a scandal on Friday, 20 April when he said that Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was a Nazi collaborator. It has long been known that Nowak-Jeziorański lost a libel lawsuit that he filed against a Nazi official who identified him as an employee of German authorities in occupied Poland. "Nowak-Jeziorański simply worked for the Nazis as a trustworthy and loyal manager of seized Jewish property," wrote Moskal.
Nowak-Jeziorański is a respected Polish figure, who, during the Second World War, sneaked from Poland to unoccupied Europe with information on the situation in Poland. In fact, not to evoke German suspicion, he was also an employee of the German authorities' office in Warsaw. After the war, he was the director of the Polish section of Münich-based Radio Free Europe.
Edward Moskal's statement caused quite a stir among Polish politicians. The scandal broke at the onset of the Second Meeting of Polonia and Poles from Abroad, which is set to take place in Warsaw this week.
"I am outraged by Mr Moskal's statement," said President Aleksander
Kwaśniewski. "I co-operated with Jan Nowak-Jeziorański during Poland's efforts to join NATO and to spread a good opinion about Poland in the US, as well as in our attempts to establish good relations with American Jewish organizations," added Kwaśniewski. The President has stressed this co-operation was never hindered by the fact that Nowak-Jeziorański came from the opposite political camp.
Edward Moskal is to be one of the guests at the Second Meeting of Polonia and Poles from Abroad, where he is scheduled to speak on behalf of the Polish Diaspora. Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Władysław Bartoszewski withdrew from the meeting in protest.
"Mr Moskal, through his statements, clearly shows that the American Polonia Congress does not understand Polish affairs and does not serve our country's interests," said Freedom Union Chairman Bronisław Geremek. "It's a pity that Polish-style politics aim at imputations and taunts," said Social Democrat leader Leszek Miller.
Edward Moskal arrived in Warsaw on Thursday, 26 April. At the airport, he was welcomed by Andrzej Stelmachowski, chief of Wspólnota Polska (Polish Community) and Reverend Henryk Jankowski, a Catholic priest from Gdańsk, known for his extreme right-wing and often anti-Semitic beliefs. Both Stelmachowski and Jankowski defended Moskal.
"It does sometimes happen that Moskal puts certain issues in a way that's hard to accept, but one has to know that there's a mighty organisation behind him," said Stelmachowski. He also said that the
controversy around Moskal and Nowak-Jeziorański is an "internal affair" of the Polonia circles.
Last weekend, under tight security, a top-secret train, "Oklahoma," travelled across Poland along a top secret route to the Czech town of Temelín, carrying 23 tons of uranium for the Temelín nuclear plant.
The Polish Atom Agency, which assured the fuel was hardly radioactive, approved the train's journey. According to unofficial information gathered by the daily Rzeczpospolita, however, the German authorities did not authorise the train to travel through Germany.
The uranium cargo was shipped to Poland from the United States then was loaded on the train, which, in turn, was shielded by railway security services and border guards and escorted by police cars and a helicopter. The Polish Atom Agency's chairman told Radio Szczecin that the uranium was not radioactive and that Poland could not refuse Czechs its transportation, due to international treaties signed by the Polish government.
Authorities at Szczecin were outraged that the whole undertaking was kept secret. "I understand there are secret issues, but in such a case when the security of people is involved, the authorities should have been informed about the cargo. We alerted city services in case of any emergency," said Szczecin President Koćmiel in an interview for Rzeczpospolita daily. Koćmiel also sent a letter to Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, demanding explanations why the potentially dangerous transport was a mystery and asking why "cargo that is dangerous for German citizens is transported through Poland."
As could have been predicted, ecologists protested against "Oklahoma." "Such transport is an effect of politically stronger and richer European countries' taking advantage of our weaker position," said Aleksander Nieczajew, head of Academic Inspectorate of Nature Protection Guard in Szczecin. "If there are any more trains like that, we'll have no other choice but to chain ourselves to the tracks."
At the Międzylesie-Lichkov border crossing between Poland and the Czech Republic, two angry mayors of Czech border communities waited for the train, as they had not been warned about the cargo. Czech Greenpeace wants the routes of similar trains be revealed in the future.
"From the security's point of view, the fewer people know about such cargo, the better. Szczecin's president referred to the train as if it were carrying burnt nuclear fuel, which recently took place in France and Germany and caused ecologists to protest. But this is a wholly different issue," said Witold Łada, deputy head of the Polish Atom Agency, in an interview for Gazeta Wyborcza on Monday 23 April. When asked whether there might be a problem of burnt nuclear fuel's transportation from Temelín through Poland, Łada responded, "If anything, this problem will occur in several years' time. He added, "It is possible that Czech authorities would decide to store burnt fuel on their own territory."
Wojtek Kość, 27 April 2001
Prawo i Gospodarka
Polska Agencja Prasowa
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