WARSAW, DEC. 19 -- The Polish government, after more than a year of disavowing "witchhunts" against Communists, has begun to investigate, publicize and prosecute alleged abuses by former government officials.
In the latest revelation, a prosecutor from the lake region of northeast Poland has charged that the summer dacha of Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, a former interior minister and a principal architect of the martial law crackdown in the early 1980s, was built with government money and materials.
Also this week, details were published in the daily Gazeta Wyborcza of how a former prime minister, Zbigniew Messner, allegedly profited from the black-market sale of a Warsaw home that he had bought from the government at a discount price.
On Monday, the military prosecutors' office announced that it has arrested and charged eight army officers -- three generals and five colonels -- in connection with the Gdansk shipyard riots of 1970. More than 50 people were killed in the riots when the army was ordered to fire on demonstrators.
The spate of public accusations comes on the heels of the presidential victory of Lech Walesa, the Solidarity union leader who vowed during his campaign to bring to justice former Communists who had abused their power.
The departing prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, who is serving in a caretaker role until Walesa is sworn in as president this weekend and can appoint a new premier, repeatedly has warned that witchhunts against former Communists would polarize the country and paralyze the government bureaucracy.
That same point was made this week in a published letter by the best-known target of the new investigations.
Kiszczak, the chief policeman of the martial law period, said the "recent wave of hatred followed by various forms of accusations, revenge and squaring of accounts" violates the 1989 "round-table" agreement in which the Communist Party agreed with Solidarity to allow semi-free elections.
"For the first time in Eastern Europe, power in Poland was transferred to another political orientation in a model and peaceful way," wrote Kiszczak, who served as interior minister in the Solidarity-led government for about nine months, until he was fired by Mazowiecki. Pressure for his dismissal was generated primarily by Walesa.
"Unfortunately, despite the voluntary transfer of power, a trend has been gaining momentum which divides Poles into better and worse human beings," Kiszczak added. "The time has come to put an end to the practices of infinitely squaring accounts with the past."
Kiszczak has said he has "proper invoices, bills and receipts" for all the work done at his summer dacha.
The growing number of investigations aimed at former powerful Communists has raised speculation about what might happen to Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, who steps down on Saturday as president of Poland.
Jaruzelski declared martial law here in 1981 and presided over the arrest and imprisonment of Walesa, as well as many other Solidarity-era leaders now in the government and parliament.
The general has never explicitly said so, but he has implied that he imposed martial law to head off an invasion of Poland by Soviet and other Warsaw Pact troops.
In his farewell address to the Polish people last week, Jaruzelski, 67, issued his most forthcoming apology for ordering martial law.
"The words 'I apologize' may sound banal. However, I cannot find any other words," Jaruzelski said.
He added that as commander of the army he was "responsible for every man and everything." He asked that he alone be held accountable for whatever crimes were committed under his government.