In 1977 an official of the Polish censorship left the country with many secret documents. The material, published in Polish in London, here appears in translation with a useful introduction and commentary. There is nothing strikingly new about the operations of censorship in totalitarian countries. What these pages convey is the far-reaching character of the process, the extraordinary detail of the regulations, the absurdity of many of the decisions, and the evident psychoses of the political leadership. In the case of Gierek's Poland, the official myths were so far from the known reality that the censorship helped to bring down the regime instead of sustaining it.
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