Józef Swiatlo's biography remains a web of muddle and mystery. He was a high-ranking official of the communist security apparatus from its earliest phase and co-founder of the 10th Department of the Ministry of Public Security, designed to collect information about party members. The article is divided into five sections. The first presents an outline of Swiatlo's career, focused on his collaboration with the secret services of the USSR and other East European countries in the fabrication of a great conspiracy within the communist parties and, within that scheme, on bis own involvement with the case Noel and Herman Field - secretly imprisoned in Hungary and in Poland respectively. The second part deals with the circumstances of Swiatlo's escape to the American sector of West Berlin in December 1953 and then, in September 1954, the disclosure of his defection followed by a series of broadcasts in the Polish Service of Radio Free Europe in which he spoke in person about the mechanisms and the abuses of the Stalinist system. The third part discusses the reactions to those broadcasts - the dismantling of the Ministry of Public Security and the push for reforms, which gradually loosened the grip of Stalinism. The fourth part looks at the reasons for his defection. The last part examines the reactions of the general public to Swiatlo's radio broadcasts. The author uses materials from the 'Archiwum Akt Nowych' and the Institute of National Memory as well as documents from Russian archives about Józef Swiatlo and the brothers Field.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.