New Netflix production based on shocking true life story of secret police operation to track down homosexuals
A new Polish crime thriller based on the true-life story of secret police operation to track down all homosexual men in Communist-run Poland in the late 1980s is to be released on Netflix.
Due to premiere in October, ‘Operation Hyacinth’ is named after a police operation of the same name which was conducted by the Communist Citizen’s Militia (MO) between 1985-87 and led to information being collected on around 11,000 gay men and a record of their sexuality being kept on police record.
Directed by Piotr Domalewski and produced by Joanna Szymanska the film follows actor Tomasz Ziętek in the main role of a fictional police officer called Robert, who is involved in an investigation into a serial killer targeting gay men.
As the investigation progresses, the film shows the impact it begins to have on his personal as well as professional life.
Although homosexual relationships stopped being a criminal offence in Poland in 1932, they were negatively perceived by the Communist authorities who put homosexual communities under observation by the secret police from the mid-1960s.
But it was not until Operation Hyacinth in the late 1980s that personal data and police files started being collated on a large scale.
The real life operation was begun under the orders of General Czesław Kiszczak on the 15th of November 1985.
The next day officers from the Citizens’ Militia swooped on people suspected of being homosexuals or having contact with homosexual groups.
They were arrested, files were created, their fingerprints were taken and some were even asked to sign declarations confirming their homosexuality.
The reason officially given by the Communist authorities for the operation at the time was the need to fight the AIDS epidemic and to combat crimes including prostitution.
The film premiered this summer at Poland’s New Horizons Film Festival in Wrocław and will start being shown on Netflix from the 13th of October.
‘Operation Hyacinth’ is the latest in a series of Netflix productions set in Poland, of which the ‘The Witcher’ has been one of the most successful, with a second series set to be released in December.