HRWG Newsletter, January 2017


Trudy Huskamp Peterson

Date Added:

9 February 2017

Archives and accusation. They go together for more reasons than the first letter of each word. Archives have been used to accuse persons and institutions for millennia: what a person or institution did or didn’t do, what he or she knew, who he or she was or is. In January an official report by Poland’s Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow said Lech Walesa, the leader of Poland’s anticommunist Solidarity movement and later the president of Poland, was a Communist paid informant in the 1970s, based on analysis of the handwriting on nearly four dozen documents. As the New York Times reported, “The accusations against Mr. Walesa have been made for more than 20 years, and he has long maintained that they are a result of a vendetta by former Communists.”,Information-on-the-experts-opinion-on-the-...  The Lustration Commission in Macedonia, which reviewed massive quantities of government archives, accused some 300 people of cooperating with the Communist-era secret police. Many of those named challenged the accusations, even when backed by documents, and eventually the government closed the controversial commission. Activists use archives to name and shame corporations for causing environmental damage or for marketing unsafe products. And while archives are good, often very good, evidence, they are not always either complete or easy to use in that way.


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