On Sunday, January 4, 2015, Paweł Styrna – Kościuszko Chair research assistant and IWP international affairs student – delivered a presentation at the annual conference of the Polish American Historical Association (PAHA) in New York City.
The lecture was entitled “Paralyzing the Polonia From Within: Communist Secret Police Infiltration of the Polish-American Community” and constituted a brief outline of a much more detailed, research-based scholarly article, which will be published in a forthcoming anthology.
Having explored the historical roots of communist secret police operational tactics, Mr. Styrna discussed the various manners utilized by Warsaw to divide, recruit, and co-opt the Polish-Americans and analyzed the extent of the penetration. He pointed out that the communist secret police treated the Polonia either as an enemy or as a potential asset and continued his exploration into the post-communist era. He concluded by pointing out that scholars should not underestimate the impact of secret police “disintegration” work on the American Polonia’s gradual loss of political influence during the beginning of the twenty-first century.