London, June 25 : Lech Walesa, Poland's Nobel Prize-winning former president, who is regarded as one of the heroes of modern Europe, has been called a stooge of the Communist secret police in a new book.
The book claims that the ex-Solidarity trade union leader worked as a secret police informer during Communist rule in Poland.
The potentially devastating charges are contained in a 780-page book, "The Secret Police and Lech Walesa", which has been written by two historians at Poland's Institute for National Remembrance, a government-backed group that specialises in documenting the Communist era.
Now, Poland is in uproar over an intriguing riddle: Was Communism actually destroyed by a Communist agent? If so, why?
In the book, Slawomir Cenckiewicz and Piotr Gontarczyk, make two central claims: The first is that Walesa was an informer for the secret police between 1970 and 1976 under the codename "Bolek". The second is that as President from 1990 to 1995 he borrowed his police file from the Interior Ministry archives and returned it with key pages missing.
According to The Times, Walesa has successfully contested against the claim that he was Bolek.
His argument, backed by a handwriting expert, is that the documents were faked by the secret police to discredit him with the Church hierarchy, to sabotage his relationship with the Polish-born Pope John Paul II and to influence the Nobel Peace Prize committee against making him a laureate.
Most of the documents discovered by the authors at the Institute for National Remembrance (IPN) are photocopies and many of them are unclear.
"We provide clear evidence in our book," Cenckiewicz said, "registration cards, memos, notes from the secret police . . . we know the secret police methods and the way that the archives and registry were run."
Documents implicating Walesa, he said, were found in other archives. "These files still had their original seals and it could be proven that they haven't been opened since the 1970s. Manipulation is out of the question."