Mieczysław Moczar

(b. 1913)

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(b. Łódź 25 Dec. 1913; d. Warsaw, 1 Nov. 1986)

Polish; Minister of the Interior 1964–71 From 1941 to 1945 Moczar served in the Polish Communist resistance, commanding its organization in the Łódź region. After the war he attained the rank of general in the Polish army. He became Minister of the Interior in 1964, and was the main symbol of resistance to Gomułka's regime within the Communist Party. He had support within the police and security services as well as the party as a whole. Moczar's faction was known as the ‘Partisans’ after his role in the wartime resistance and that of many of his supporters. The Partisans felt that Gomułka was subservient to Moscow. The group was typified by nationalism, illiberalism, and hostility to intellectuals and Jews. Moczar manipulated anti-Semitism to win support, though he appeared genuinely to believe that the Jews were the root cause of political dissent in Poland.

During the ‘Six Day War’ in 1967 the majority of Poles sympathized with Israel, regarding the Arabs as Soviet satellites. Gomułka felt threatened by the ensuing wave of anti-Soviet feeling and, to neutralize popular sympathy for Israel, encouraged anti-Semitism. He thus appropriated Moczar's tactics. But the continuance of unrest strengthened Moczar as the representative of law and order. In March 1968 the special police units which he had created brutally put down student demonstrations and it seemed that Moczar was about to seize power. Gomułka was saved by the support of Eduard Gierek, the powerful party boss of Silesia. In December 1970 there was another outbreak of unrest. Moczar's security forces were responsible for the violent repression of workers' demonstrations. Gomułka then resigned in favour of Gierek, whom he saw as the only counterweight to Moczar. Gierek won over many of Moczar's supporters and in June 1971 replaced him as Minister of the Interior with Stanislaw Kania. Moczar was given an honorific position.

Subjects: Politics.

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