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Służba Bezpieczeństwa Ministerstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych (Polish pronunciation: [swuʐba bɛspʲetʂɛɲstfa miɲistɛrstfa spraf vevnɛ̃tʂnɨx]) (Security Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), or just SB, was the internal intelligence agency and secret police established in the People's Republic of Poland in 1956. It was the main organ in PRL responsible for political repression.

SB replaced the earlier Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego (UB, Security Office (UBP, Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego, official name {Public Security Office})) which was the regional branches name of the Ministry of Public Security of Poland (Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego). Until 1990, the name Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego (UBP) has remained the common form of plural ubecy /oo-beh-tsi/ singular ubek /oo-beh-ck/ referring to the SB, and its agents were referred to as esbecy /es-beh-tsi/ plural, singular esbek /es-beh-ck/).

It was replaced by the Urząd Ochrony Państwa in 1990 after the fall of communism.



Służba Bezpieczeństwa (lit. "Security Service", functioning as Secret Police) was established in November 1956 after the dissolution of the Komitet do spraw Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego (Committee for Public Security), which was responsible for the political police, counter-intelligence, intelligence, personal protection and confidential communications. It was the well-known successor of Ministry of Public Security better known as the Urząd Bezpieczeństwa, or UB (Office of Security).

After these changes, the main structure responsible for political police, counter-intelligence, intelligence, criminal police, border guards, correctional facilities, and fire rescue was the Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych or MSW, (Ministry of Internal Affairs), which had been established two years earlier (in 1954) for administrative duties. Służba Bezpieczeństwa became the III Department of MSW.

SB activities

After it was renamed as the SB in 1956, it entered a period of relative inaction during the era of reform instituted by Władysław Gomułka. However, after 1968, it was revived as a stronger body and became responsible for implementing political repression, most notably in the case of the Solidarity movement, the leader of which, Lech Wałęsa, was under constant SB surveillance, until its replacement by the Urząd Ochrony Państwa in 1990 after the fall of communism.

SB victims

One of the most infamous cases was the torture and execution by the SB of a Catholic priest Jerzy Popiełuszko in 1984. Since 1990, several SB operatives have been tried for their crimes. Also, SB is suspected of killing Stanisław Pyjas and Catholic priest Stefan Niedzielak.

See also


  • Henryk Piecuch, Brudne gry: ostatnie akcje Służb Specjalnych (seria: Tajna Historia Polski) [Dirty Games: the Last Special Services Operations ("Secret History of Poland" series)], Warsaw, Agencja Wydawnicza CB, 1998.


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