To the Editors:
We are now writing to request that you bring to your many readers’ attention the unfortunate case of the Polish journalist and writer of fictions Jan Oszustwo, who at this time and for several months past has been under arrest in the Ukrainian S.S.R. on falsified charges due to his efforts in his works to advance the causes of personal freedom and democratic socialism.
Mr. Oszustwo was for many years writer for the weekly journal “Sport i turystyke” in which capacity he wrote materials which were widely read by all spectrums of the Polish society on matters of sporting and athletic interest. In all these writings however he emphasized moral themes pertaining to rights of individual autonomy and personal freedoms—items of anathema in the communist society which aroused considerable enmity among party and government officials. In 1968, he was officially condemned and removed from his post by the “Association of sporting and touristical journalists” after the publication of his famous tale “World finals in progress: Oswiecim six million; humanity zero,” a reputed fiction which made the equation between German fascisms with cruelties of Soviets in Czechoslovakia and US in Vietnam. Simultaneously this tale traced degradation of individuals in authoritarian society deprived of rights of personal expression, as, e.g., soccer-player made against his will and judgment to submit to wishes of coaches and teammates whose strategy is inhumane and erroneous. Though forced to seek employment as auto mechanic Mr. Oszustwo appeared frequently at public meetings fearlessly to espouse these views. Many among Polish youth had for him great esteem and admiration.
Three months ago while visiting in Lwów, the city of his birth in 1934, and still the home of many of his family though now part of Ukrainian S.S.R., Mr. Oszustwo was arrested on alleged charge of smuggling into USSR various western articles of clothing for which he accepted as payment gold dental fillings in lieu of Soviet currency (both smuggling and export of gold being forbidden by Soviet law). This charge has never been proved nor has he appeared at trial. Reports from informed persons in Lwów and in Warszawa from where we have just returned indicate charge was falsified by Soviet authorities at request of Polish government to silence this spokesman of freedom.
Perhaps those of your readers who value freedom in its many manifestations could send letters to both Soviet, Ukrainian, and Polish governments advocating immediate release of this blameless political prisoner. Though he is not so well known to west as, e.g., Solzhenitsyn, he is nonetheless human being in trouble worthy of such help and attention and likewise fighter in cause of human dignity and liberty. Also write to him to give him hope: in the care of Kiev-west detention prison, Kiev, Ukrainian S.S.R. He understands English.
Aleksander Boleslaw & A. L. Krause
New York City
November 18, 1971