Hoover has received the first tranche of papers of Jerzy Józef Wiatr, Polish sociologist and political scientist, an advisor to General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Communist Poland’s head of state. Professor Wiatr was one of the chief ideologues of the ruling Polish United Workers’ Party during the 1980s, the final decade of its existence. He later participated in the roundtable talks that paved the way for a peaceful transformation of the country, was a parliament member, and served briefly as Poland’s minister of education.
Jerzy Wiatr was born in Warsaw in 1931. He graduated from the University of Warsaw in 1954 where he also received his doctorate (1957) and habilitation (1961) in sociology. In 1958 he became head of the department of military sociology at the Military Political College in Warsaw, where he taught until 1968. Simultaneously he was associate professor at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow (1959-1965) and deputy director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences (1965-1969). In 1969 he returned to the University of Warsaw, where he was professor of political sociology, chairman of the department of sociology (1975-77) and dean of social sciences (1977-80). After his retirement from the University of Warsaw (2001) he served as rector of the European School of Law and Administration in Warsaw (2007-2013) and is currently its honorary rector. His research experience includes directorship of the Polish national program of research on social values and styles of consumption (1976-1990) and of the Polish part of two major international projects: International Study on Values in Politics (1965-1971) and Democracy and Local Governance (since 1991). His books were published in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Russia, USA, USSR and Yugoslavia. He was teaching as visiting professor in University of Michigan, UCLA, Boston University, Southern Illinois University, University of British Columbia, University of Manchester, Catholic University of Leuven, University of Ljubljana, and Moscow State University. He received the titles of honorary senator of the University of Ljubljana (2006), honorary doctor of Kursk Academy of Science and Education (2000) and honorary doctor of Oles Honchar National University of Dnipropetrovsk (2013).
Jerzy Wiatr was president of Polish Political Science Association (1964-1967 and 1976-79), vice-president of International Political Science Association (1979-82) and president of Central European Political Science Association (2000-2003). In the IPSA he chaired Research Committee on Local Government and Politics (1971-1979) and Research Committee on Global-Local Relations (2009-2017), He served on the editorial board of International Political Science Review (1980-2000).
Wiatr’s political activities began in 1946 when he joined the youth organization “Wici,” associated with the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). In 1948, after the unification of youth organizations, he served in one of the district boards of the Union of Polish Youth in Warsaw (1949-1950) and joined the Polish United Workers Party in 1949. He remained member of the PUWP until its dissolution in 1990. In the PUWP he served as director of the Central Committee’s Institute for Basic Problems of Marxism-Leninism (1981-1984). He was one of the founders of the Social Democratic Bloc in 1989 and delegate to the last PUWP Congress in January 1990. He then became one of the founding members of the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (SdRP), in which he was a member of the National Council (1990-1999) and chairman of the Warsaw City Council (1991-1996). He was a member of Polish Parliament (1991-2001) and chairman of the Polish Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (1993-1997) as well as member of the Executive Committee of the IPU (1996-97). He served as Poland’s minister of education (1996-1997). After the dissolution of the SdRP he joined its successor party Alliance of Democratic Left, in which he served as chairman of Ethics Commission (2008-2011). He was the president of the Association of Secular Culture (2004-2014) and is now its honorary president. He has received several Polish state decorations, including Commander Cross with Star of “Polonia Restituta” (1996).
The Wiatr papers, in both Polish and English, include unpublished articles, speeches, internal reports and analyses of the PUWP Central Committee’s Institute for Basic Problems of Marxism-Leninism, as well as selected Ministry of Interior Affairs and Central Committee documents pertaining to Jerzy Wiatr. The collection is expected to expand during 2019.
Maciej Siekierski PhD
Maciej Siekierski is curator of the European Collections at the Hoover Institution Library & Archives and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
siekierski [at] stanford.edu