WARSAW — Gen. Mieczyslaw Moczar, a former Communist Party Politburo member who was also once chief of security police, died here Nov. 1, the official PAP news agency reported. He was 72, and the cause of his death was not revealed.
A tough and ambitious hard-liner, Moczar's lengthy political career was marked by controversy. He was long considered a candidate for Communist Party first secretary but was never chosen because of his affiliations with an ultranationalist wing of the party that failed to win Soviet backing.
Born in Lodz, Moczar was a textile worker and was one of the early commanders of the People's Guard, a Communist-backed resistance army that formed inside Poland during World War II.
Supervised Secret Police
Moczar headed the Interior Ministry, which supervises the secret and uniformed police, from 1964 to 1968 and was considered largely responsible for instigating an anti-Semitic campaign that purged Jews from government leadership in 1968. The campaign was viewed as a personal push for power.
He later served two terms in the Politburo, the first from 1970-71. He returned in 1980, when the party fought to put down the threat to Communist rule posed by the newly created Solidarity free trade movement, only to be dropped again during the party's 9th Congress in 1981.