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HomeNewsJerzy Urban, spokesman for Polish communist government, dies at 89

Jerzy Urban, spokesman for Polish communist government, dies at 89

WARSAW, Poland — Jerzy City, a spokesman for Poland’s communist-era authorities within the Nineteen Eighties who masterminded state propaganda and censorship for the regime within the closing years earlier than its collapse, has died. He was 89.

His loss of life was introduced on Monday by satirical weekly journal “NIE” (Polish for “No”), which City based and led within the post-1989 period.

City earned a fame for sarcasm within the early Nineteen Eighties when he served because the spokesman for the federal government of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. He served in that function from 1981, the 12 months of a harsh communist crackdown, to 1989, when communist regimes throughout central and jap Europe started collapsing.

City launched weekly authorities information conferences that have been broadcast by Polish tv and attended by Polish and overseas journalists, making him probably the most distinguished and despised faces of the regime.

To many Poles he appeared to personify the federal government’s brutality after dozens have been killed within the 1981 martial legislation crackdown, in addition to its cynicism and contempt for the Solidarity motion, led by Lech Walesa, and the tens of millions craving for freedom.

In 1986, a time of shortages within the communist economic system, City introduced that Poland was gathering blankets and sleeping luggage for the homeless of New York Metropolis.

Poland’s supply to New York adopted the U.S. authorities providing to ship powdered milk to Poland to switch recent milk tainted by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear energy plant catastrophe in Ukraine, which was then a part of the Soviet Union. The U.S. Senate stipulated that nongovernmental companies in Poland distribute the powdered milk to verify it obtained to the folks.

Insulted by the stipulation, the Polish authorities responded with its supply of sleeping luggage and blankets for the New York’s homeless on the situation that the products be distributed by personal teams. Then-New York Mayor Edward I. Koch rejected the supply, calling it silly.

Jerzy City was born within the central Polish metropolis of Lodz on Aug. 3, 1933, the 12 months that Adolf Hitler got here to energy in Germany, to a Jewish household so properly assimilated that he didn’t be taught of his Jewish roots till after World Warfare II had began. City survived the Holocaust hiding within the countryside.

He made his debut as a journalist within the Fifties, and had a fame for being so provocative he usually needed to write beneath a pseudonym.

In an 2020 interview with the Polish version of Newsweek, he described his early dedication to socialism.

“I used to be a zealous Stalinist, which after all didn’t imply that I authorised of the crimes,” he stated.

Within the first semi-free elections in 1989, City’s fame was such that he did not win a seat in parliament — at the same time as another former communist functionaries entered post-1989 political life.

As a substitute he made a brand new function for himself because the writer of the anti-clerical “NIE” and have become a profitable and rich businessman. He additionally continued as a provocateur, going through authorized fits for publishing pornographic pictures and insulting spiritual emotions within the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

In 2005, City was convicted for insulting Polish-born Pope John Paul II — since made a saint by the Vatican — for a 2002 article by which he mocked the pontiff for persevering with to seem in public regardless of his ailing well being.

City is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren and his third spouse, Malgorzata Daniszewska, in response to Polish media reviews.

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