Jan Hoppe

He was born on 27th of December 1902 in Skierniewice. He graduated from high school in Warsaw and then started studying political science. In high school and during his studies he was a member of the Scout Movement. He voluntarily joined the Polish Army during the Polish-Soviet War in 1920. In pre-war Poland Hoppe lived and worked in Warsaw. In the 30’s he joined the political movement led by Józef Piłsudski and called „piłsudczycy”. He closely cooperated with prime minister and later Marshal of the Sejm (lower house of the Polish parliament), Walery Sławek. Since 1935 until 1938 he was a member of the Sejm. In late 30’s Hoppe was critical towards the policy of the Polish government, president Ignacy Mościcki and Marshal of Polamd Edward Śmigły-Rydz.

In October 1939 after the end of the September Campaign (Germany and the Soviet Union divided and annexed the whole teritory of Poland) he launched an underground organization called „Warszawianka”. A Few months later „Warszawianka” was united with two other organizations: „Grunwald” and „Nowa Polska” which caused the establishment of a new organization called the „Union”. Hoppe became a vice-president of the „Union”. When in early 1943 the „Union” joined the Labor Party - one of four major political forces of the Polish Underground State - he became its vice-president.

During the Warsaw Uprising he was an editor of the„Kurier Stołeczny” newspaper. After the collapse of the Uprising he left Warsaw and continued his activity in the underground Labour Party on the suburbs of the Polish capital. In march 1945 he was arrested by the NKVD and imprisoned in Rembertów. Soon he was moved to the USSR and imprisoned in camp no. 231 (Ivdel in Sverdlovsk Oblast). In September 1946 he was transferred to camp no. 523.

He was released in autumn 1947 and at the beginning of November came back to Warsaw. Before this his colleagues for long months had been trying to help him but they had no information about his fate. Later they found out that he had been arrested and imprisoned as Jan Chmielewski which was his pseudonym under German occupation.

After two years in the Soviet camp his health deteriorated and Hoppe could not go back to political activity. He worked as a journalist. In spite of not being involved in political actions of his colleagues from the „Union” and Labour Party, in February 1949 he was arrested by the communist security apparatus. On a show trial he was accused of cooperation with the Gestapo and in April 1951 sentenced for life imprisonment. He spent two years in prison in Wronki and then was transported to Mokotów Prison in Warsaw.

He was released during the political thaw in summer 1956. Two years later he was rehabilitated and as a compensation he received a small apartment in Warsaw. Because of bad health condition he was receiving life annuity since 1961. Hoppe renewed contacts with his old colleagues in Poland and abroad but he was not active in any organization. During the last years of his life he wrote memoirs (among other things), but he never wrote about the time spent in Soviet camps. He died in 1969.


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