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TOM ARABIANS Arabians Horses Polish


Marsha Parkinson, 1st of September, 2004, Canterbury Farm at Melfield (MD)


Wilejka
chestnut mare, 1976, bred by Michalów Stud
sire line:Kuhailan Haifi d.b.
dam line:Szweykowska

  

Wilejka - her son Wojslaw and Michalow Stud barns in the background
Andrzej Novak-Zemlinski

It is with great sadness that the passing of this incredible soul is told. *Wilejka was an exceptionally beautiful mare, noble to the extreme, gentle to all, and a shining spirit.

I purchased her in Poland, with the blessings of my dear friends Urszula Bialobok, Director Jerzy Bialobok, and the members of the Michalow Stud farm. *Wilejka was 22 at the time, and had not had foals for three years. She was my favorite mare since I had visited Poland for the first time in 1983. Each time I returned, I would search her out, and marvel at her gentle ways, extreme dryness of head with soft eyes, and her ability to make you melt when she looked at you. Her throat was the finest that I have seen, with a lovely arch, and hinge, which entered her head through wide clean jaws. You could fit a large man's fist between her cheeks, which is the way it is supposed to be. Her eyes were filled with wisdom, and overwhelming kindness.

Warmia  (Comet - Wadera) - the dam of Wilejka
photo Zofia Raczkowska

She was shown to be the Polish National Reserve Junior Mare, and to other placements. Her beauty was of such elegance that she almost seemed ethereal. Royal heritage was her breeding, being sired by US & nbs ; National Champion Stallion,*EL PASO and out of the exquisite and treasured COMET daughter WARMIA. *Wilejka was the only chestnut, and the youngest of four full sisters. These were US National Champion Mare, *WIZJA , *WISTULA  and *WERJA , all imported to the US, with *WIZJA being on lease and returned to Poland.

When *Wilejka was to leave to come to the US, the Stud farm turned out in numbers, and gave a going away party for her, so loved was she. She was Urszula's favorite mare, so we became "sisters" and shared the love of this rare creature. The people of Michalow gave me a beautiful pastel drawing of *Wilejka as a gesture of kindness.

Wilejka - at Michalów Stud (1983)
photo Maria Kulisa

*Wilejka was suffering from heaves, and it was the hope that she would improve with a new environment as well as from medicines available in the US. She arrived in Los Angeles tired, but with ears up. A long and hard trip for a 22 year old mare with emphaseyma. The breathing problem was relieved greatly during the flight because I had FedEx'd a bottle of Ventapulmin to Poland for her trip. Worth every penny of the charge for overnight service to Poland!

Wilejka at farm in California
photo Marsha Parkinson

Once in California she began to improve with her breathing, and she gained weight, and was like a youngster again... still, of course, requiring due respect from all around. Given her age, and her potential to revert to heaves, I didn't want to breed her and have her carry a foal. Through the good graces of the powers that be, she was able to produce an embryo, which was transferred into a thoroughbred mare. This resulted in a gorgeous bay filly, sired by *GOLIATwho was born in December of the second year I had *Wilejka. The filly was named Walencia, after the tradition of Poland naming horses by the first letter of the dam, and she was also born in my foaling barn which was nestled in a valencia orange grove.

Walencia  (Goliat - Wilejka) - the last foal of Wilejka
photo from archiv of Marsha Parkinson

*Wilejka was the dam of 15 superb foals over the years. Her most famous offspring is *WOJSLAW Polish National Champion Stallion, Race Sire of the Year for Stakes Winners, and sire of such horses as : *EMANOR US and Polish National Champion;DRUID "best racehorse in 70 years" who sold for $500,000; ESTELKA  Oaks winner, and other halter, performance and race champions. Another son, WETERAN, is owned by Michael Sommer of Germany, and he has posted a photo of this successful stallion on AWH forum under the Kuhailan thread. This stallion has some excellent racing offspring as well. *Wilejka has two daughters who remain in Poland: WORSKLA by *Eukaliptus , WYBBRANKA by Piechur and WILNIANKA by Tallin full sister to *WOJSLAW and Polish Reserve National Champion Junior Mare. Three have been imported to the US, and along with *WOJSLAW  and WALENCIA, all reside at Canterbury Farm.These are *WILENKA Polish Top Five National Champion and full sister to *Wojslaw  *WELTAWA by Arbil and *WYBRANKA by Piechur  All three of these mares are bred to *GANGES or 2005. All are treasured, and are beautiful unto themselves and reflect the elegance and refinement of their mother.

Wojslaw  (Tallin - Wilejka)
photo Stuart Vesty

*Wilejka blossomed for six years in the US, having only minor times when the heaves became evident, usually brought on by weather changes. Sadly emphaseyma is a progressive and incurable disease, so as she aged it would occur sometimes without weather relatedness. Ventapulmin and Dexamethazone would relieve her quickly, and she would be fine for months and months. She lived in Maryland for three years with little effect from the heaves as well, and did babysitting duties with the mares and foals, or with the weanlings. They would follow her like ducklings in a line, and would hang out with her until she got tired of their foolishness and she would gently send them back to their mothers. Visitors would be met at the gate by her, and she would follow us through the fields, wiggling her nose at our pockets for carrots or sugar, which she often found (no surprise there!). She would follow until we left, and then would return, usually at a canter or trot, to her duties as the wise grandmother.

Wilejka at the age of 25
photo from archiv of Marsha Parkinson

Last Thursday, she said it was enough, and she simply made it clear that she was ready to go home. I stroked her head, talked to her in what little Polish I knew, told her that I loved her as did everyone who she touched, and she peacefully slipped away.

Sometimes the tears don't stop. But the joy of knowing her, of sharing her nuzzles, of having her put her head on a shoulder, of just watching her grace and nobility as she grazed in the green fields, and of course, her beautiful legacy reflected in her foals and grandchildren, are the priceless gifts which have enriched all that have been in her presence. She was a once in a lifetime mare.

Do widzenia. Dziekuje bardzo. And bless you my treasured friend.

 

Marsha Parkinson, 1st of September, 2004, Canterbury Farm at Melfield (MD)

 

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  


                                                     By Urszula and Jerzy Bialobok 

Wilejka
chestnut mare, 1976, bred by Michalów Stud
sire line:Kuhailan Haifi or.ar.
dam line:Szweykowska

  

Wilejka - her son Wojslaw and Michalow Stud barns in the background
Andrzej Novak-Zemplinski

We were expecting this news, *Wilejka's asthma worstened and she went very peacefully without much pain". This is how Marsha Parkinson, her owner and friend, describes *Wilejka's last days in a very beautiful and personal letter.

*Wilejka was foaled in Michalow on January 17, 1976. She was the fourth and the last filly of our cross between WARMIA and *EL PASO  The prior three siblings were bays: *WIZJA US National Champion Mare in 1977,  *WISTULA  (1974) and *WERSJA (1975).

Wizja  (El Paso - Warmia) - full sister to Wilejka
photo Jerry Sparagowski

*Wilejka was a chestnut with an irregular blaze. Her right front leg had a stocking and her left hind had some white around the coronet band. She had a beautiful head, very dry with wonderful large intelligent eyes. Her neck was long and very thin at the throat. Her body was smooth with very well pronounced withers and correct legs which we may attribute to her sire, *El Paso. *Wilejka was extremely charismatic and loved people. Her favotite treat was sugar cubes but she was satisfied with an apple or a piece of dry bread as well. If you had nothing in your hands she would come anyway, just to be scratched and patted.

Wilejka - at Michalów Stud (1983)
photo Maria Kulisa

*Wilejka had 15 foals in Michalow and she produced for us some great broodmares:

  • WILIA by Pepton dam of a great race horse WILIAN.
  • WILNIANKA By Tallin a full sister to *Wojslaw and dam of stallion WAWRZYN by Emigrant  WILNIANKA produced also a few excellent fillies -Wiselka; Wienna and Windawa.
  • *WYBRANKA by Piechur
  • *WELTAWA by Arbil
  • WIENIAWA by Monogramm
  • WORSKLA by *Eukaliptus

Wojslaw  (Tallin - Wilejka)
photo Wieslaw Pawlowski

Undisputedly, *Wilejka's best foal was the stallion, *Wojslaw He represents a very rare and almost extinct sire line of Bairactar. *Wojslaw was also a Polish National Champion Stallion in 1991. He produced several great mares: Estelka, Dajana, Zuzanna, Gryzetka, Loretta , Pasja, Ellanda, Emisana, Ewina, Fuksja, Daisy, Maceba   and a promising yearling, Demeter . However, most of all *Wojslaw produced great sons.

       .*EMANOR- Polish National Champion Stallion, Best in Show with extremely high score of 95.67 in 1998, Scottsdale Champion Stallion class for Stallions foaled in 1992-1993, Canadian Reserve National Champion Stallion and United States National Champion in 1999 as well as many times Champion, Reserve Champion and Top Ten in performance classes in the United States and Canada.

  • WERBUM - chief sire and sire of excellent young mares.
  • MONAR - chief sire in Michalow and Bialka. Sire of very promising offspring.
  • DRUID - excellent race horse, sire of beautiful colt DIAMENT and Derby winner GOREC. Gorec was bred by Mrs. Anna Nieora-Tchkuaseli out of a mare from the Tiersk Stud.

*Wojslaw also produced several good horses at Janow Podlaski Stud. His daughter, SALSA ,won Oaks and second place in this race was taken by his other daughter, EQVIDA The third place was taken by his grand daughter, EDIA, bred by Bialka Stud. His two sons, ENDURO and DOMINIK, raced very well also. In 2002 *Wojslaw was leased to Marsha Parkinson in the United States and purchased shortly there after.

Wilejka at farm in California (1998)
photo from archiv of Marsha Parkinson

When *Wilejka got older she developed asthma and we started to have some problems with getting her in foal. Despite medications, she was suffering more and more. The soil in Michalow is very calcium rich and this irritated her condition. Because of this we decided to find a new home with better climate for her. Marsha Parkinson, a great friend of Michalów and our horses, purchased *Wilejka and brought her to California. *Wilejka departed from Michalów on September 23, 1998, with all of us shedding a tear watching her go.

Walencia  (Goliat - Wilejka) - the last foal of Wilejka
photo from archiv of Marsha Parkinson

*Wilejka blossomed in California and we were always updated by Marsha, often with some pictures of our beloved mare. She even got in foal to Michalów's bred stallion *GOLIAT by embryo transfer and foaled a bay filly, Walencia, in 2000. We were so happy!

Wilejka at the age of 25
photo from archiv of Marsha Parkinson

In 2004 her condtion declined and the medications were not working as well as before. Marsha decided not to come to Poland that summer because she didn't want to leave *Wilejka in such a fragile state. "She went in peace", this was a message from Marsha received on August 26th.

We would like to thank you, our dear friend, for giving *Wilejka a few years more in a wonderful environment surrounded by your great love. We will cherish *Wilejka's memory in our sad hearts forever.

                                      Urszula and Jerzy Bialobok, September 2004

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   MORE DETAILED COMMENTARY BY MARSHA PERKINSON

Wilejka  ( El Paso x Warmia by comet ) 

Breeder Michalow Stud - Owner Canterbury Farms ( US) 

Birth : 1976 - August 26th 2004-  (28Years)

FEATURE COMMENTARY

It is with great sadness that the passing of this incredible soul is told. *Wilejka was an exceptionally beautiful mare, noble to the extreme, gentle to all, and a shining spirit.

I purchased her in Poland, with the blessings of my dear friends Urszula Bialobok, Director Jerzy Bialobok, and the members of the Michalow Stud farm. *Wilejka was 22 at the time, and had not had foals for three years. She was my favorite mare since I had visited Poland for the first time in 1983. Each time I returned, I would search her out, and marvel at her gentle ways, extreme dryness of head with soft eyes, and her ability to make you melt when she looked at you. Her throat was the finest that I have seen, with a lovely arch, and hinge, which entered her head through wide clean jaws. You could fit a large man's fist between her cheeks, which is the way it is supposed to be. Her eyes were filled with wisdom, and overwhelming kindness.

She was shown to be the Polish National Reserve Junior Mare, and to other placements. Her beauty was of such elegance that she almost seemed ethereal. Royal heritage was her breeding, being sired by US National Champion Stallion, *El Paso, and out of the exquisite and treasured Comet daughter, Warmia. *Wilejka was the only chestnut, and the youngest of four full sisters. These were US National Champion Mare, *Wizja, *Wistula, and *Wersja, all imported to the US, with *Wizja being on lease and returned to Poland.

When *Wilejka was to leave to come to the US, the Stud farm turned out in numbers, and gave a going away party for her, so loved was she. She was Urszula's favorite mare, so we became "sisters" and shared the love of this rare creature. The people of Michalow gave me a beautiful pastel drawing of *Wilejka as a gesture of kindness.

*Wilejka was suffering from heaves, and it was the hope that she would improve with a new environment as well as from medicines available in the US. She arrived in Los Angeles tired, but with ears up. A long and hard trip for a 22 year old mare with emphysema. The breathing problem was relieved greatly during the flight because I had Fed Ex'd a bottle of Ventapulmin to Poland for her trip. Worth every penny of the charge for overnight service to Poland!

Once in California she began to improve with her breathing, and she gained weight, and was like a youngster again... still, of course, requiring due respect from all around. Given her age, and her potential to revert to heaves, I didn't want to breed her and have her carry a foal. Through the good graces of the powers that be, she was able to produce an embryo, which was transferred into a thoroughbred mare. This resulted in a gorgeous bay filly, sired by *Goliat. who was born in December of the second year I had *Wilejka. The filly was named Walencia, after the tradition of Poland naming horses by the first letter of the dam, and she was also born in my foaling barn which was nestled in a valencia orange grove.

*Wilejka was the dam of 15 superb foals over the years. Her most famous offspring is *Wojslaw, Polish National Champion Stallion, Race Sire of the Year for Stakes Winners, and sire of such horses as: *Emanor, US and Polish National Champion; Druid, "best racehorse in 70 years" who sold for $500,000; Estelka, Oaks winner, and other halter, performance and race champions. Another son, Weteran, is owned by Michael Sommer of Germany, and he has posted a photo of this successful stallion on AWH forum under the Kuhailan thread. This stallion has some excellent racing offspring as well. *Wilejka has 3 daughters who remain in Poland: Worskla by *Eukaliptus, Wibranka by *Piechur and Wilnianka by Tallin, full sister to *Wojslaw and Polish Reserve National Champion Junior Mare. Three have been imported to the US, and along with *Wojslaw and Walencia, all reside at Canterbury Farm. These are *Wilenka, Polish Top Five National Champion and full sister to *Wojslaw, *Weltawa by *Arbil and *Wybranka by *Piechur. All three of these mares are bred to *Ganges for 2005. All are treasured, and are beautiful unto themselves and reflect the elegance and refinement of their mother.

*Wilejka blossomed for six years in the US, having only minor times when the heaves became evident, usually brought on by weather changes. Sadly emphysema is a progressive and incurable disease, so as she aged it would occur sometimes without weather relatedness. Ventapulmin and Dexamethazone would relieve her quickly, and she would be fine for months and months. She lived in Maryland for three years with little effect from the heaves as well, and did babysitting duties with the mares and foals, or with the weanlings. They would follow her like ducklings in a line, and would hang out with her until she got tired of their foolishness and she would gently send them back to their mothers. Visitors would be met at the gate by her, and she would follow us through the fields, wiggling her nose at our pockets for carrots or sugar, which she often found (no surprise there!). She would follow until we left, and then would return, usually at a canter or trot, to her duties as the wise grandmother.

Last Thursday, she said it was enough, and she simply made it clear that she was ready to go home. I stroked her head, talked to her in what little Polish I knew, told her that I loved her as did everyone who she touched, and she peacefully slipped away.

Sometimes the tears don't stop. But the joy of knowing her, of sharing her nuzzles, of having her put her head on a shoulder, of just watching her grace and nobility as she grazed in the green fields, and of course, her beautiful legacy reflected in her foals and grandchildren, are the priceless gifts which have enriched all that have been in her presence. She was a once in a lifetime mare.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS WILEJKA

Polish National Reserve Junior Champion Mare

All Nations Cup Gold Medal winner

International Aristocrat Dam of halter & performance champions

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The auction in Janów, its 22nd edition, took place on September 20th, 1981. The sale’s results were listed on front pages of even such tabloids as “Express Wieczorny”, right under an announcement of the PZPR (Polish Communist Party) Central Committee Politburo, which shows of how great significance they were. “Armand Hammer’s arrival in 1981 caused some political pressure on us, because he was not only wealthy, but had friends in the Soviet Union”, recalls in an interview with polskiearaby.pl Marek Grzybowski, who at the time organized the Janów Sale as a representative of Animex (in those days the event was called Polish Prestige). “He intended to buy El Paso and was counting on this being made easy. The stallion was already well known. He had already managed to claim the titles of US Champion and the nickname of “The horse that money couldn’t buy”, because his breeders had numerous times declined to sell him, using him broadly in Polish breeding. When Hammer appeared in Poland, the horse was already designated for sale – he had left a suitable number of daughters”.

 

Indeed, in the pedigree base we find forty Polish daughters of El Paso (Czort – Ellora/Witraż) born during 1973–1982. The stallion, representing the Kuhailan Haifi d.b. sire line and the damline of Wołoszka 1810, was born in Janów in 1967. A grandson of Witraż and Wielki Szlem, he had the legendary Ofir twice in his pedigree, a horse that was lost in Russia after Janów was robbed by the Soviet Army in 1939. Luckily two famous grandsires of El Paso survived, saved by Jan Ziniewicz during the bombing of Dresden. As a result, 23 years later after those tragic war events, El Paso was born, whose significance surpassed the record price set in 1981. During 1972–1975 he was used in Michałów, later in Janów. Leased by Lasma Arabians (1976–1978), successfully shown in the US, including at Scottsdale and the US Nationals, he died in 1995 at the age of 23 years old. His last get was born in the US in 1994. In Poland he left such sons as Etogram (out of Etruria by Palas) and Europejczyk (out of Europa by Bandos). His most famous daughters include 4 full sisters born at Michałów, out of the mare Warmia (Comet – Wadera/Doktryner): Wizja, 1977 US National Champion and dam of Wiaźma; Wilejka, 1982 Polish National Champion and All Nations Cup Champion in Aachen, dam of the stallion Wojsław and mare Worskla; Wistula, sold at the famous Polish Ovation sale in Scottsdale in February of 1985; and Wersja, exported to the US similarly to her sire in 1981.

The sale of El Paso was a huge event not only due to the record price, but also because of who the buyer was. This is how Marek Grzybowski recalls that time: „Seated at a large table were breeders and representatives of the Animal Trade Association, but almost no one spoke English. Just as well, because thanks to this I could peacefully carry out the negotiations. They were quite long, because we didn’t want to give in too quickly. Suddenly Hammer said: I’ll give half a million dollars for the horse! Everyone’s eyes became round and I could see that they wanted to agree, but I said: wait a minute, we won’t accept half a million, but we can think about it for a million. Hammer hit the table with his hand and shouted: sold! And I thought: darn it, I put in a too low bid. And added: under one condition. Tomorrow is the sale and you must buy at least five mares. He paid 380 thousand dollars for those mares, but I still had the impression that if I said “a million and a half”, he would also have agreed”.

The 1981 auction offered 34 mares and one stallion and the bidding took place in a circus tent. Armand Hammer was seated next to other prominent buyers, Eugene LaCroix and David H. Murdock. “After the welcome speech by Director Andrzej Krzyształowicz and just prior to the auction El Paso was led onto the arena and M. Grzybowski announced the sensational news”, wrote Antoni Święcki, the then chief editor of “Koń Polski” in his coverage from Janów (4/1981). “Today Mr. Armand Hammer, a businessman from the US, purchased the 14 year old US and Canadian National Champion – the stallion El Paso – for one million dollars. This information garnered a round of applause”. Hammer, as agreed, also purchased six mares: Harsza (Ego – Harfa/Omar II) for 76 thousand dollars, 1972 Derby winner Sasanka (Almifar – Santa/Czort) for 80 thousand, Gonitwa (Palas – Gonagra/Negatiw) also for 80 thousand, Kampania (Bandos – Kama/Eleuzis) for 31 thousand from Janów Podlaski and the Michałów El Paso daughter Wilczyca (out of Wadera/Doktryner) for 61 thousand. He spent exactly 373 thousand USD. By the way, during that auction lot 1, Michałów’s Milada (Burkan – Mila/Gwarny), was announced as sold after which a buyer was not found. (Let’s recall the hysteria after the 2016 sale when the first bidding of Sefora ended in an announcement that the bidder could not be identified.)

Soon after the 1981 auction the “Express Wieczorny” daily (September 22nd) reported on Hammer’s meeting with journalists which took place a day earlier. Armand Hammer announced that he came to Poland “unexpectedly”, which does not line up with reality. Since he made purchases two days earlier at Janów, then he must have been expected there; not to mention that Marek Grzybowski recalled the political pressure. In fact the visit’s entire course proves that it was definitely expected, from talks with the highest state authorities to a press conference. “Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski welcomed on the 19th of this month the known American businessman, president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Dr Armand Hammer”, wrote the “Trybuna Ludu” daily, the official organ of the Communist Party, in its Monday edition (21.09.1981). Together with General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was then the prime minister and minister of national defense, Armand Hammer was to talk about the participation of his company in “mutual investments”: “The American party wants to give Poland a loan of 100 million dollars to build a new sulfur mine near Tarnobrzeg and 40 million dollars to build a plastic compound plant in Włocławek”, wrote “Express Wieczorny”. What they really talked about we will probably never know, but it must have been a continuation of earlier negotiations, because the millionaire visited Poland several months before the sale, in mid-D

The fact that nine months later El Paso was sold at a table and not during the sale could have been a nod toward the millionaire, a way to “soften” him or to show gratefulness for some of his promises. “I want to treat this as a beginning of greater things and after my return to the US I will tell about my impressions and suggestions to the president-elect of the US, whom I know personally, why it is worth to help Poland in the field of agriculture”, Hammer promised during a press conference ending that first visit (“Życie Warszawy”, 17.12.1980). As we know, the president-elect at the time was the anti-Soviet Republican Ronald Reagan. It is said that in the 80s Michail Gorbaczov placed Hammer on the list of participants in negotiations with Reagan (whose campaign was financially supported by the millionaire) and as an observer Hammer was the only private person who took part in the talks. Mariusz Janik wrote about this in a biographic article on the Forsal.pl website: “When asked in one of the interviews if he has more power than the main inhabitant of the White House, he smiled understandingly and nodded his head”. However, as we can deem in light of Hammer’s later fate, the agreed amounts did not come to Poland, apart from the payment for the horses. And anyway just three months later, on December 13th, 1981, Wojciech Jaruzelski imposed martial law in Poland and in the face of such a difficult political situation the negotiations with the Americans must have become greatly outdated.

Do we know the real answer to the question why Hammer, who was in talks with the highest authorities of Communist Poland, took the time to visit Janów? Although he definitely liked horses, the reason could have been taxes (of course there could have been more reasons). In the same issue of “Koń Polski” in which he covered the auction and National Championships of 1981 Antoni Święcki published an interview with Andrzej Żółtowski, a cooperator of McNeill Group Inc from Florida. “Today the participation of financial tycoons in Arabian horse breeding is determined by financial and tax aspects”, explained Święciski’s interlocutor. “The support of the state is seen in exemption from taxation for 5 years from sums spent on establishing farms, purchases of horses and all other associated costs. They have specialists – lawyers, that developed a system of investing in the Arabian horse for protection and exemption from taxes”.

There were numerous legends about Hammer, and not just positive ones (he personally attended to those), who like other American businessmen resorted to investing in horses to evade taxes. “Armand Hammer dreamed about fame and respect all his life”, we read in the afore mentioned article from Forsal.pl. “For half a century of America’s post-war history he was one of the symbols of the country’s economic powers: in his time he was equal to the Rockefellers or Carnegy”. At the age of 23 he became the first foreign businessman with a license for activities in Soviet Russia. He was a great admirer of Vladimir Ilyich. “If Lenin asked me to jump out of a window, I probably would”, he declared. He obtained millions of dollars for Moscow, using a network of companies and banks, trading works of art confiscated by the Bolsheviks, including Faberge eggs, icons from tsarist monasteries and paintings from the collections of the Ermitage, not to mention that he often sold counterfeits to the buyers. Also false were his testimonies before FBI agents – but he managed to avoid jail. He made his greatest wealth on Libyan oil. On his last hagiography, as Janik informed, he spent 200 thousand dollars! However the myth fell soon after his death in 1990: “Among the thousands of declassified notes from the archives of the KGB and FBI and hundreds of hours of talks carried out in Hammer’s office emerged a completely different picture of the legendary millionaire”. First, it came out that the gigantic fortune, assessed by Forbes in 1986 at 200 million USD was an empty shell, because his debts were larger. Unsuccessful business activities cost Occidental Petroleum, Hammer’s company, more than 2.5 billion USD and the promises of donations to charities and cultural institutes turned out to be empty phrases. “Therefore investments in the USSR and China, such as a film studio and statues of the boss, got axed”, concluded Janik.

In Poland Hammer was welcomed like a star. Nine months prior to the auction, on December 15th, 1980, tens of TV reporters were awaiting him at Warsaw’s Okęcie airport. Thanks to documents of the secret police known under the name of Security Service (SB)* we know that the millionaire’s every step was monitored. Hammer had a file set up, thanks to which we even know the details about his clothing. These notes shed a new light not on the history of selling El Paso, but on the associated historic events. Hammer was followed as a “carrier of intelligence”. The task of the secret police was to “secure a secret search”. The “figurehead” was taken under observation right after his arrival by private plane (a special charter from Budapest). From that moment on he was under a watchful eye. Documents from the observation were received by lieutenant P. Kamecki. Hammer was accompanied by: his wife, employees of Occidental Petroleum Corp – Donald Baeder, Donald Cooper and Bohdan Broniewski, described as a “known employee (or: known to the employees) of Dept I Office B of the Ministry of Internal Affairs”. The group was welcomed by Minister Gorzelak. Awaiting the guests on the parking lot were Peugeot and Mercedes cars, which took them to the Victoria hotel, from where they headed to the Polish Parliament. The secret police file also tells us that Hammer was about 175 cm tall, obese, had a round face, wore glasses in light frames, had grey hair and was balding on the forehead and had a grey, small mustache. He was dressed in a grey coat, navy suit, white shirt and a tie. In his hand he held a brown briefcase. His wife was of average height, with a pale and oval face, grey hair; she wore a white sheepskin with a white collar and a light-colored hat. The observation was carried out in total by some dozen officers in at least seven cars. “The operation room was not used”.

As the “Trybuna Ludu” daily wrote the day after his arrival: “On the 15th the first secretary of the PZPR Central Committee Stanisław Kania welcomed the president of the board of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Armand Hammer, who was visiting Poland at the invitation of chairman of the Planning Commission by the Council of Ministers, deputy prime minister Henryk Kisiel, who participated in the conversation”. As you can see, although Armand Hammer was considered by the authorities as “one of their own” (“Dr. Hammer is known as an initiator of a several decade long beneficial cooperation with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries”, we read in “Życie Warszawy” from 17.12.1980), they acted according to the principle of Feliks Dzierżyński: “Trust, but verify”. During the exhibition titled “Secret operational techniques of communist Poland’s secret service” in the former prison on Rakowiecka street in Warsaw you could see the original phone taps from one of Warsaw’s hotels. Cables from the rooms joined each other in one wardrobe, where on each shelf was a tape-recorder. In the adjoining room sat a person responsible for creating transcripts out of the recorded material. It is more than probable that Hammer was also recorded.

Was the surveillance of Janów Sale’s clients the norm or an exception? Was Hammer the only one that drew the attention of the secret police? “The scale of surveillance that we underwent was incredible”, Jacek Pawłowicz, director of the afore mentioned museum, told the weekly “Sieci” (2/2018, 8-14th of January). Meanwhile some people still think that the Arabian studs operated “outside of the system”, outside of history of that time. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Though not all documents are available so far, the mentioned here story of Armand Hammer clearly shows the times in which the sale of El Paso took place. The secret police was a powerful force and did not leave things to their own course, and definitely not when foreign currencies were involved. Saying that the Arabian studs were islands of freedom in a sea of communism is being naive or hypocritical. The truth was different and it is worth learning about it, because the truth is always more interesting than the most sweetened legend.

A calendar of visits by Armand Hammer to Poland during 1980/81

15.12.1980 – Armand Hammer arrives in Poland by private charter from Budapest, at the invitation of the first secretary of the PZPR Central Committee, Stanisław Kania.
16.12.1980 – The millionaire’s press conference.
19.09.1981 – Armand Hammer is received by the prime minister of Poland, General Wojciech Jaruzelski.
20.09.1981 – Hammer in Janów Podlaski, the morning before the sale, purchases the stallion El Paso and during the sale six additional mares.

 

21.09.1981 – The millionaire’s press conference and his departure through London to Los Angeles.

 

end

 


TOM ARABIANS
info@tom-arabians.com
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