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What are Polish opinions regarding Felix Dzerzhinsky?


Bobko 9 | 149
30 Jan 2018 #1
Dzerzhinsky was the first head of the Soviet secret police, the Cheka, which is a forerunner of the KGB, and the modern FSB. He was also perhaps one of the highest ranking Poles in Soviet government, earning the nickname "Iron Felix" from his fellow revolutionaries. While skimming through his biography on Wiki I was surprised to learn that he attended the Wilno Gymnasium at the same time as Pilsudski. What two different Poles, what two different lives....
kaprys 3 | 2,502
30 Jan 2018 #2
In Poland he is known as Bloody Feliks which sums it all.
OP Bobko 9 | 149
31 Jan 2018 #3
he is known as Bloody Feliks which sums it all up

It seems that he was a more complex character, than the way he's been popularly remembered. I was surprised to read in his wiki biography, what Pilsudski wrote about him in his memoirs: "[He] distinguished himself as a student with delicacy and modesty. He was rather tall, thin and demure, making the impression of an ascetic with the face of an icon... Tormented or not, this is an issue history will clarify; in any case this person did not know how to lie."

In other places, he is described as a peculiar murderer, in that he wasn't driven by any of the usual impulses, i.e. lust for power, or banal cruelty/sadism. The consensus being that what defined him was his fanaticism. Now whether this makes much of a difference is a different question.

It's interesting to me that you say he is remembered in Poland as Bloody Felix, when in fact he spent very little time involved in Polish affairs, and for most of the duration of him being a member of the Soviet government Poland was an independent entity outside of his reach (remember, he died in 1926). I thought that the Polish people may have a sort of grudging respect for a former compatriot that had laid the foundations for one of the most powerful and feared intelligence agencies of the 20th century. On the other hand, another thing he is famous for is being a Great Russian chauvinist and an opponent of the right for self-determination for the varied peoples of the Russian Empire. Even Lenin once accused Dzerzhinsky of crass Great Russian chauvinism, to which Dzerzhinsky replied: "I can reproach him (Lenin) with standing at the point of view of the Polish, Ukrainian and other chauvinists."

It's quite hilarious imagining Lenin, a Russian, accusing Dzerzhinsky, a Pole, of being a Russian nationalist and getting "well you're a Polish nationalist" thrown back at him!
delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
31 Jan 2018 #4
I thought that the Polish people may have a sort of grudging respect for a former compatriot that had laid the foundations for one of the most powerful and feared intelligence agencies of the 20th century.

They may have done, but in Communist Poland, he was treated like some sort of mythical figure. That pretty much guarantees hatred towards him, though I can say that not many people accept him as being Polish.


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