New Reality – New Problems. Financial Crime in Greater Poland in the Years 1945-1970

Main Article Content

Stanisław Jankowiak

Abstract

Systemic transformation in Poland after the Second World War led to deep transformations within the economy. It did not, however, change the way people thought. Despite the chaos of the post-war period, in which all the negative features shaped in the period of occupation manifested themselves, it seemed that the conceptual leaders of the Polish political and economic life would create new quality. However, it soon turned out that old habits die hard and the system created by communists opened a field for many abuses. This was accompanied by a sense of impunity, as the most prominent personalities in a given region were also involved in economic scandals. All this resulted in the creation of “cliques” in which both prominent Party activists and people put by the Party in high positions (usually also members of the Polish United Workers’ Party, PUWP) played important roles. On the one hand, after 1956, surveillance by the Security Office (UB) or Security Services (SB) was not that strict anymore, and on the other, the so-called “private initiative” started to develop fast – therefore the more “entrepreneurial” individuals started to exploit the situation and gain wealth. Abusing one’s position to organize large-scale thefts was considered relatively normal. This happened in various forms: sometimes directly, but more often by supporting or even organizing private projects with the use of the national, though unsupervised, supply of raw materials or products. This way, the Party members grew richer at the expense of the companies they worked for. This business was relatively widely tolerated by ordinary citizens, who saw it as an excuse to also “organize” goods individually for their own purposes in the companies which employed them. This common belief that “everybody steals” allowed people to justify their own dishonesty. Any attempts to fight this problem failed to produce satisfactory results. The diagnosis, even if correct, had to face reality, in which the pursuit of a better quality of life by the Party elites collided with the officially promoted ascetic lifestyles of the “ideological communists”, who, like Władysław Gomułka, did not understood the new times.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Jankowiak, S. (2017). New Reality – New Problems. Financial Crime in Greater Poland in the Years 1945-1970. Studia Historiae Oeconomicae, 34, 105-128. https://doi.org/10.2478/sho-2016-0007
Section
Articles
Author Biography

Stanisław Jankowiak, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

Stanisław Jankowiak – Professor, head of the Modern Polish History Department of the Adam Mickiewicz University Institute of History. His research concerns Poland’s modern history, particularly political history (fight for power in Poland after the Second World War, the Poznań June, Stalinism, student strikes, the Solidarity movement, systemic transformation after 1989, secret services operation in the Polish People’s Republic), issues of national identity (especially the situation of Germans after the Second World War) and relationships between the church and the state.

References

  1. Archive of New Files (AAN) – National Bank of Poland (NBP).
  2. National Archive in Poznań (APP) – Komisja Specjalna do Walki z Nadużyciami i Szkodnictwem Gospodarczym (KSdWzNiSzG) [Special Commission for Fighting with Fraud and Economic Abuse].
  3. APP – Komitet Wojewódzki Polskiej Partii Robotniczej (KC PPR) [Regional Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party].
  4. APP – Regional Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (KW PZPR).
  5. APP – Regional Party Control Commission (WKKP).
  6. APP – Regional National Council (WRN) in Poznań.
  7. APP – Regional Office in Poznań (UWP).
  8. APP – Municipal Poznań Management (ZM).
  9. Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw (AIPN Warsaw) – Citizens’ Militia Main Headquarters (KG MO).
  10. APP, UWP, sign. 120, Situational report of the Citizens’ Militia Municipal Headquarters in Poznań for the period between April 1, 1945 until April 10, 1945.
  11. AIPN Warsaw, KG MO, sign. 35/888, situational report of the Citizens’ Militia in Poznań region for the period from 1.05–15.05 1945.
  12. APP, KW PPR, sign. 74, Statement of major S. Antosiewicz of November 15, 1945.
  13. APP, KW PPR, sign. 6, Report from the meeting of the executive body of the Regional Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party of September 12, 1945.
  14. APP, WRN, sign. 17, Report from the 7th meeting of the Regional National Council of October 5, 1945.
  15. APP, KSdWzNiSG, sign. 117, Report on abuses of the Main Office for Petroleum Products and Sowing Action in Poznań, July 24, 1946.
  16. AIPN, sign. Po 158/394, Report of the line of fighting with currency trade and smuggle in the Poznań region for February 1950.
  17. AIPN, sign. Po 158/394, Report of the line of fighting with currency trade and smuggle in the Poznań region for June 1950.
  18. AIPN, sign. Po 158/394, Report of the line of fighting with currency trade and smuggle in the Poznań region for the period between October 1 until December 31, 1950.
  19. APP, ZM Poznań, sign. 12, A letter from the prosecutor of the Court of Appeal in Poznań of August 2, 1945.
  20. APP, KSdWzNiSG, sign. 117, Ibidem, The report on the activity of the Delegation of the Special Commission in Poznań for December 1946.
  21. AAN, NBP, sign. 7/21, A report of the National Bank of Poland for the year 1950.
  22. AAN, NBP, sign. 7/21, A report on the line of fighting with the clerical offences, economic abuse and speculation in the Poznań region for the period from October until December 31, 1950.
  23. APP, KSdWzNiSG, sign. 117, A letter of the head of delegation to the executive bureau of the Special Commission of December 15, 1948.
  24. APP, KSdWzNiSG, sign. 117, A letter to the executive bureau of the Special Commission in Warsaw, November 9, 1948.
  25. APP, KSdWzNiSG, sign. 117, Bulletin no. 52 on fighting with illegal livestock and meat trade, February 12, 1949.
  26. APP, WKKP, sign. 3487, A report from the plenary meeting of WKKP in Poznań of June 2, 1959.
  27. Ibidem, speech of Jan Brygier.
  28. Ibidem, speech of Kazimierz Szymański, manager in the “Malta” Paper Plant.
  29. Ibidem, speech of Michał Rudko, the representative of the regional unit for fighting with abuse and thefts at the Regional Committee.
  30. PP, WKKP, sign. 3487, The report of the plenary session of WKKP in Poznań and the unit for fighting with abuse and corruption at the Regional Committee of PUWP Poznań of January 15, 1960.
  31. APP, KW PZPR, sign. 3498, The report of WKKP in Poznań on implementing the Committee plan and the most important matters settled by WKKP and field commissions of October 15, 1961.
  32. APP, KW PZPR, sign. 96, Shorthand report from the plenary session of the Regional Committee of PUWP in Poznań of January 15, 1964.
  33. APP, WKKP, sign. 3497, A note of WKPB in Poznań on the participation in fighting with speculation, abuse and corruption, September 20, 1957.
  34. APP, WKKP, sign. 3497, A note of WKPB in Poznań on the participation in fighting with speculation, abuse and corruption, September 20, 1957.
  35. APP, WKKP, sign. 3497, The report on the performance of WKKP in Poznań for March 1958.
  36. APP, WKKP, sign. 3497, A note of WKPB in Poznań on the performance of Party units for fighting with abuse, theft and the performance of units at the executive boards of the national councils in the Poznań region, January 31, 1959.
  37. APP, KW PZPR, sign. 96, A shorthand report from the plenary session of the Regional Committee of PUWP in Poznań of January 15, 1964.
  38. Ibidem, speech of Jerzy Zasada.
  39. Ibidem, speech of Czesław Borkowski, deputy regional prosecutor.
  40. Ibidem, speech of Leszek Lochyński First Secretary of PUWP County Committee in Czarnków.
  41. APP, KW PZPR, sign. 96, On further increase of social engagement in stabilizing the socialist rule of law, order, security and public order, brochure, 1963.
  42. APP, KW PZPR, sign. 96, A shorthand report from the plenary session of the Regional Committee of PUWP in Poznań of January 15, 1964, Ryszard Strzelecki, Secretary of the Central Committee of PUWP.
  43. Eisler J. (2014), Siedmiu wspaniałych. Poczet pierwszych sekretarzy KC PZPR [The Magnificent Seven. The First Secretaries of the Polish United Workers’ Party Central Committee], Warsaw.
  44. Jankowiak S., Steffen K. [selection and edited] (2001), Województwo poznańskie i szczecińskie [Poznań and Szczecin regions], [in:] Borodziej W., Lemberg H [red.], “Niemcy w Polsce 1945-1950, Wybór dokumentów” [Germans in Poland 1945–1950. Selection of documents], Vol. III, Warsaw.
  45. Jankowiak S. (2008), Wprowadzenie reformy walutowej z 1950 r. w Wielkopolsce [Introduction of the 1950 monetary reform in Greater Poland], [in:] Garbaczewski W., Macyra R. [ed.], “Pieniądz i banki w Wielkopolsce” [Money and banks in Greater Poland], volume 1, Poznań.
  46. Stryjkowski K. (2013), Poznań `45. Ostatni rok wojny i pierwszy rok odbudowy [Poznań 1945. The last year of war, the first year of reconstruction], Poznań.
  47. “The Acts of the Polish United Workers’ Party Central Committee from the second to the third convent”, Warsaw, 1959.