Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Publications Based on Polish Underground Press
The collection contains 149 digitized items, originally produced in English and Polish between 1984 and 1990 by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Polish Underground Publications Unit, on the Polish independent press. Items include bi-weekly press summaries, translated Samizdat articles and monthly reviews, dealing with topics such as the underground Solidarity movement, political prisoners, cultural dissent, the role of the Catholic church and attitudes towards Eastern and Western neighbors.
Polish Samizdat materials were acquired by RFE/RL’s Polish Underground Publications (PUP) Unit—the only national unit dedicated to monitoring the underground press, established in March 1984—either through channels established by its director, Witold Pronobis, private donations, or barter. The PUP Unit established subject files on Polish opposition activists and groups, political prisoners and major subjects discussed in the independent press, and organized the materials which were also used in the Polish Broadcast Department’s daily 20-minute program on Polish samizdat. From the late 1970s onwards, RFE/RL broadcasts based on Polish samizdat materials were mutually beneficial: for the Polish underground, its views reached an audience unprecedented in size, while for the radios, these publications represented a genuine and unmediated source of independent public opinion.
The collection contains three types of RFE/RL publication: (1) Polish Independent Press Summary (PIPS), published bi-weekly in Polish from 1987 to 1990, and which contained copies of major articles, journals’ tables of contents and title pages of new books; (2) Polish Underground Extracts (PUE), published monthly from 1984 to 1986 in English, which contained translated Samizdat articles; and (3) Polish Independent Press Review (PIPR), a continuation of PUE published from 1986 to 1989 in English, and which contained topical reviews of Polish underground journals.