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PEOPLE, BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILES

Jakub Herman

Lawyer and communist activist. He published several works on Polish economic and social history. In 1926, he submitted his doctoral thesis to the Yidisher Visnshaftlecher Institut in Wilno.

He was active in the Union of Communist Youth in Poland, and beginning in 1928, also in the Communist Party of Poland. During the years 1928-1939, he worked in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. After the September campaign in 1939, he left Warsaw. Fleeing to the east, he found himself in territories that had been occupied by the Soviet Union and became active in the Communist Party of Belarus. In 1941, he worked in the Polish-language radio station, "Kosciuszko", and directed initiative groups of the Polish Workers' Party (PPR).

In 1944, he co-founded the Central Office of Polish Communists in the USSR, and became Secretary of the National Section of the Main Board of the Union of Polish Patriots. During the years 1944-1956, he was a member of the Political Bureau of the PPR, then of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). In the late 1940's, as a member of the Polish communists in the Kominform, he helped prepare the liquidation of the socialist parties, including Jewish ones. During the years 1945-1952, he was Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the years 1952-1954, he was a member of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers, and in 1949-1954, he was a member of the Commission for Matters of Public Security within the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the PZPR. In 1954-1956, he was the Deputy Prime Minister, responsible for matters of security, for example; this meant that he was one of those responsible for the illegal arrests, torture and judicial murders that were committed during the Stalinist period.

In 1957, he was removed from government and the party, only to return late in life, in the 1980's. Until 1968, he was director of the publishing house "Ksiazka i Wiedza".
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