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During the 1970’s and 1980’s, a quiet, unassuming officer in the Polish Army was quickly rising in the ranks. Russia succeeded in beating back the Nazis during World War II, declaring victory in Poland and Eastern Europe. The Polish people, relieved to be rid of Hitler’s monstrous machine, tried to adjust to life under Communism. Yet the Polish people never really relinquished their freedom. Ryszard Kuklinski mirrored the Polish heart. Three things meant everything to him and all Poles, above anything else in life – a deep, unwavering devotion to family, the Church and Poland.
Small in stature, with sandy colored, wavy hair and gentle blue eyes, his laid back, easy going manner and boyish humor hid a sharp intelligence with a keen eye for meticulous detail, as well as a tough constitution and tireless work ethic. These skills did not go unnoticed among the Soviets. However, he learned hard lessons quickly. For example, making an off color joke about communism among the wrong crowd immediately drew suspicion about his loyalty and he was stripped of his high rank. He had to be re-indoctrinated and start over, and it took years to regain his former rank. Another lesson was found in Vietnam, where he was part of an “observation team”. Kuklinski heard about the Americans – nothing good. Yet he saw something different – respect. He noticed the devotion between officer, all military personnel and leader, that none of the fallen, alive or dead, would ever be left behind. They risked all for each other. Love and kindness combined with strength, even during war – he never forgot.
Kuklinski found himself privy to extremely high level information that he was constantly asked to review, rewrite and direct. He commanded troops, composed war games, was trusted to help create the new war machine – the one that he soon realized would decimate his beloved Poland.