A list of 240,000 Polish spies and collaborators was leaked onto the Internet and spread like wildfire through sites. Some sites have even turned it into a searchable database.
Prosecutors said Friday they are investigating the leak of a government index of communist-era secret police files that has landed on the Internet, creating a frenzy among Poles scrambling to find out if their names are on the list.
The uproar over the list, leaked from the institute that makes the files available to victims, historians and journalists, is all the louder because names of informers are mingled with those of victims, causing fear it will stain the innocent.
The issue of secret police files touches a nerve in Poland, where having collaborated with the communist-era authorities is viewed as disgraceful by many. Nonetheless, when a democratic government took over in 1989-90, Poland's leaders declined to make a thorough purge of informers from public life.
Candidates for public office now must simply declare whether they collaborated. There's no penalty for such an admission, but those who falsely deny it and are caught face a 10-year ban from holding office. Some are calling for a wider-ranging effort to expose former collaborators
"This thing is huge. We have recorded around 100,000 Internet searches a day for the list, which is 10 times the number looking for sex," Piotr Tchorzewski, who works at Poland's biggest Internet portal Onet, told Rzeczpospolita daily.
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