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“Secret Services Are Meant To Serve”: State Violence in the Autobiographic Memory of Secret Police Officers in Communist Poland (05.2023)
The secret police, along with the political apparatus of a ruling party or administration, created the backbone of communist regimes and constituted the main tool of State violence. The state of the art within studies on the Polish security apparatus—albeit extremely rich—is entirely focused on archival documents. What is missing from the research on the secret police in Poland is an oral history approach. This article is a pioneer attempt at revealing the operative methods of the Służba Bezpieczeństwa (SB) through interviews with former officers. It aims at reconstructing the mechanism that led the officers to victimize dissidents and how they created moral justifications for their deeds. Asking about their career track, successes and failures, relationships with other officers, private life, and details of daily duty, I tried to glean what made the interviewees become perpetrators.
From the publisher's website.