World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Romuald Spasowski

Article Id: WHEBN0003294074
Reproduction Date:

Title: Romuald Spasowski  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Michael Goleniewski, Polish diplomats, List of Soviet and Eastern Bloc defectors, December 1981, Polish Roman Catholics
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Romuald Spasowski

F. Romuald Spasowski (August 20, 1920 – August 11, 1995), once an ardent Communist and Poland's ambassador to the United States, is best known for having defected at the height of the Solidarity crisis in 1981.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Second U.S. Ambassadorial Tour and Defection 2
  • Later years 3
  • See also 4
  • Sources 5

Early life

Francis Romuald Spasowski was born in Warsaw, Poland. His father, Władysław, was a university professor and leading intellectual. Although not a member of the Polish Communist party, Władysław Spasowski wrote "The Liberation of Man," an important Communist theoretical work, and raised Romuald to believe in Marxism long before it was fashionable in Polish intellectual circles. Romuald studied and then taught at the College of Mechanics until Poland was invaded in 1939.

The Spasowski family was active in the Polish resistance during World War II. Spasowski and his father were arrested several times by the Gestapo. His father committed suicide in 1941 after being tortured by the Nazis. Spasowski hid in his mother's home in Milanówek for a time, where the family harbored several Jewish families. In 1942 he fled to the Soviet Union.

Spasowski served as an officer in the Polish Army division formed in the Soviet Union under Gen. Zygmunt Berling. Intensely loyal to Poland and convinced that Communism held great promise for his homeland, he joined the Polish United Worker's Party, the official Communist party in Poland, and entered government service almost immediately after the war. In time, Spasowski served on the Central Auditing Commission, which maintained and audited the party's finances.

Spasowski was appointed a member of the Polish War Crimes Mission at the Nuremberg trials.

Fluent in both English and Spanish, Spasowski served as Poland's ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1951 to 1953 and then two years as ambassador to Argentina.

Spasowski's first tour as Polish ambassador to the United States lasted from 1955 to 1961. He was the youngest member of the ambassadorial corps at the time. He kept a low profile during the Cold War with the exception his annual appearances at observances marking the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943. His and his family's commitment to religious tolerance led him to denounce Polish anti-Semitism during these occasions. In a speech in 1958, Spasowski said, 'I will not say to you here that in Poland anti-Semitism has been eliminated.'

In 1964, Spasowski represented Poland as a member of the International Commission for Supervision and Control in Vietnam, which was established to mediate peace between Hanoi and Saigon during the Vietnam War. From 1967 till 1971 Spasowski served as Poland's ambassador to India.

In the mid-1970s, Spasowski was named Deputy Foreign Minister in the Polish Foreign Ministry. In the mid-1970s he also served as the Chief of the Polish Military Mission in West Berlin.

Second U.S. Ambassadorial Tour and Defection

Spasowski returned to the United States for a second tour as ambassador in 1978.

Spasowski's wife had been a practicing Catholic for many years. The former Wanda Alina Sikorska was a cousin of Poland's former prime minister, Gen. Władysław Sikorski. Wanda Spasowska's influence and religious views helped undermine her husband's belief in Communism. For years, Spasowski's faith in the Polish Communist regime had been wavering, but the ascension of a Pole to the papacy in 1978 provided the impetus for a clear break. The day Karol Cardinal Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II, Spasowski attended a special Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., taking a place of honor in the first pew. It marked the beginning of an increasingly contentious relationship with the Polish Foreign Ministry.

The formation of Solidarity in September 1980 deeply moved Spasowski. He is said to have privately voiced support for Solidarity's leader, Lech Wałęsa, and the labor movement's goals. Spasowski's daughter and son-in-law, supporters of Solidarity, fled to the United States early in 1981 and received asylum.

In October 1981, the Polish government ordered Spasowski home. He protested, and the recall order was rescinded.

On December 13, 1981, Polish government leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski started a crack-down on Solidarity, declaring martial law.

On the afternoon of December 19, 1981, Spasowski telephoned the U.S. State Department to announce that he was defecting and requesting asylum. The next day he told a worldwide radio audience that he had defected to show support for Solidarity and Lech Wałęsa. "The cruel night of darkness and silence was spread over my country," he said.

The Polish government confiscated his family's property, branded him a traitor and condemned him to death in absentia.

Later years

Spasowski toured the United States throughout the 1980s, denouncing the Communist regime in Poland and playing a leading role in the U.S. Information Agency's anti-Communist television program, 'Let Poland Be Poland'.

In 1985, Spasowski was baptized a Catholic by Philadelphia's Archbishop John Krol.

In 1986, Spasowski published his autobiography, The Liberation of One, and eventually became an American citizen.

After the overthrow of Communist rule in Poland in 1989, Spasowski's death sentence was revoked.

In 1993, Polish President Lech Wałęsa restored Spasowski's Polish citizenship.

Spasowski died at his home in Oakton, Virginia, in 1995. The cause of death was cancer.

Spasowski was survived by his wife, Wanda, and a daughter, Maria Grochulska, of Warsaw. His son, Władysław, died in India in 1970.

See also

Sources

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.