POLAND: The Broken Saber

Of all the world's practitioners of the ancient aristocratic sport of fencing, none was more flamboyant than the Polish star Jerzy Pawlowski. Winner of an Olympic gold medal in 1968 and three-time world fencing champion in saber, the handsome 43-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Polish army was the undisputed sports hero of Poland. So great was the country's pride in Pawlowski's prowess that Polish Party Chief Edward Gierek is said to have brought the fencer with him to an informal meeting with Soviet Party Chief Leonid Brezhnev.

Then came the chilling news of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!