THE CLANDESTINE STUDENT ORGANIZATION 'HELENA', 1950-1951
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This article deals with the anticommunist group 'Helena' which was set up in the student community of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow in 1950. Its founders, Walery Pisarek and Jerzy Saniewski, intended it to spread to all parts of the country. There were to be as many divisions of 'Helena', run by regional commanders, as there were voivodships (ie. seventeen). At the lowest level its members were to form groups of three, under orders from their commanders. They in turn were to carry out orders from the organization's Supreme Council. Apart from its territorial network, 'Helena' was to have a special operations task force. It should come as no surprise that those ambitious plans never came to fruition: the conspiracy could boast of just seven members. They managed nonetheless to write a handful of poems and anticommunist leaflets, apart from attempts at recruiting new members (which nearly led to the creation a cell of their organization in the village of Zofince in the Voivodeship of Lublin) and acquiring firearms in anticipation of World War III. The conspirators dreamt of establishing contacts with the political exiles in London - the difficult mission, which involved illegal border crossing, was entrusted to Marian Tatara, member of 'Helena's' Supreme Council. In early November 1951 the communist Security Service (UB) put an end to the activities of 'Helena'. The secret police had got on its trail on 3 November 1951 during a raid on another clandestine organization, the Steely Poles scout troop. Subjected to brutal investigation, the men spent a few months in prison before their case was heard by a military court. In March 1952 the Military Tribunal in Cracow sentenced six of them to terms of imprisonment ranging from two to six years. They were released one by one in 1953–1955, yet the secret police continued to keep an eye them.
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