|55th Prime Minister of Poland |
Prime Minister of the Polish People's Republic
11th and last communist Prime Minister of Poland
2 August 1989 –19 August 1989
|Preceded by||Mieczysław Rakowski|
|Succeeded by||Tadeusz Mazowiecki|
| Minister of Internal Affairs|
of the Polish People's Republic
31 July 1981 –6 July 1990
|Prime Minister|| Wojciech Jaruzelski |
|Preceded by||Mirosław Milewski|
|Succeeded by||Krzysztof Kozłowski|
|Born||19 October 1925|
Roczyny, Second Polish Republic
|Died||5 November 2015 90) (aged|
|Resting place||Orthodox Cemetery (Warsaw)|
|Political party||Polish United Workers' Party|
|Spouse(s)||Maria Teresa Kiszczak|
|Branch/service||Polish People's Army|
|Years of service||1945–1990|
Czesław Jan Kiszczak [ˈt͡ʂɛswaf ˈkiʂt͡ʂak] (
Ministry of the Interior and Administration is an administration structure controlling main administration and security branches of the Polish government. After Parliamentary Election on 9 October 2011 was transformed for two ministries: Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Administration and Digitization. It was recreated in late 2015. The current Minister of Interior and Administration is Joachim Brudziński.
The President of the Council of Ministers, colloquially referred to as the Prime Minister, is the leader of the cabinet and the head of government of Poland. The current responsibilities and traditions of the office stem from the creation of the contemporary Polish state, and the office is defined in the Constitution of 1997. According to the Constitution, the President of Poland nominates and appoints the prime minister, who will then propose the composition of the cabinet. Fourteen days following his or her appointment, the prime minister must submit a programme outlining the government's agenda to the Sejm, requiring a vote of confidence. Conflicts stemming from both interest and powers have arisen between the offices of President and Prime Minister in the past.
In 1981 he played a key role in imposing martial law and suppression of the Solidarity movement in Poland.But eight years later he presided over the country’s transition to democracy as its last communist prime minister and a co-chairman of the Round Table conference, in which officials of the ruling Polish United Workers' Party faced the democratic opposition leaders. The conference led to the reconciliation with and reinstatement of Solidarity, the 1989 elections, and the formation of Poland’s first non-communist government since 1945.
Martial law in Poland refers to the period of time from 13 December 1981 to 22 July 1983, when the authoritarian communist government of the Polish People's Republic drastically restricted normal life by introducing martial law in an attempt to crush political opposition. Thousands of opposition activists were jailed without charge and as many as 91 killed. Although martial law was lifted in 1983, many of the political prisoners were not released until a general amnesty in 1986.
Solidarity is a Polish labour union that was founded on 17 September 1980 at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa. It was the first trade union in a Warsaw Pact country that was not controlled by a communist party. Its membership peaked at 10 million members at its September 1981 Congress, which constituted one third of the total working-age population of Poland.
Communism in Poland can trace its origins to the late 19th century: the Marxist First Proletariat party was founded in 1882. Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania party and the publicist Stanisław Brzozowski (1878–1911) were important early Polish Marxists.
Czesław Kiszczak was born on 19 October 1925, in Roczyny, the son of a struggling farmer who was fired as a steelworker because of his communist affiliation.Due to his father's beliefs, young Czesław was brought up in an anti-clerical, pro-Soviet atmosphere.
Roczyny is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Andrychów, within Wadowice County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship, in southern Poland. It lies approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) south-west of Andrychów, 14 km (9 mi) west of Wadowice, and 51 km (32 mi) south-west of the regional capital Kraków.
During World War II, in 1942, when he was 16, Kiszczak was arrested by the German occupants with his mother, older brother and an aunt and sent for forced labour.At first Czesław was recruited at the German coal mine, but later was sent to Austria. Towards the end of the war he was in Vienna, where he joined a communist-led anti-Nazi resistance group which collaborated with the Red Army.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
The Austrian Resistance launched in response to the rise in fascism across Europe and, more specifically, to the Anschluss in 1938 and resulting occupation of Austria by Germany. An estimated 100,000 people were reported to have participated in this resistance with thousands subsequently imprisoned or executed for their anti-Nazi activities. In addition to armed resistance efforts, "silent heroes" helped Jewish men, women and children evade persecution by Nazi authorities by hiding at-risk individuals at their homes or in other safe houses, storing or exchanging their property to raise funds to support them, and/or helping them to flee the country. Each of these resistance members lived dangerously because such assistance to the Jewish community was punishable by imprisonment at concentration camps and, ultimately, by death. Among these "silent heroes" were Rosa Stallbaumer and her husband, Anton. Arrested by the Gestapo in 1942, they were both sent to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. Although Anton survived, Rosa Stallbaumer did not; transferred to Auschwitz, she died there a week before her 45th birthday.
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, frequently shortened to Red Army was the army and the air force of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and, after 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The army was established immediately after the 1917 October Revolution. The Bolsheviks raised an army to oppose the military confederations of their adversaries during the Russian Civil War. Beginning in February 1946, the Red Army, along with the Soviet Navy, embodied the main component of the Soviet Armed Forces; taking the official name of "Soviet Army", until its dissolution in December 1991. The former official name Red Army continued to be used as a nickname by both sides throughout the Cold War.
After the war Kiszczak returned to Poland, joined the communist Polish Workers' Party almost immediately, and was sent to the Central Party School in Łódź, which was training civilian and military Party apparatchiks.Kiszczak entered the Polish Army, where he fought guerrilla groups that were resisting the communist takeover. Guerrillas beat his father and spared his life only after his mother intervened. Kiszczak later explained that those struggles had shaped his response to the pro-democracy upheaval decades later: “Experiences linked with that drama, that fratricidal struggle, are among the major reasons that shaped my role in the complicated years of 1980–82,” he said. “I did not want that tragic history to repeat itself.”
The Polish Workers' Party was a communist party in Poland from 1942 to 1948. It was founded as a reconstitution of the Communist Party of Poland (KPP) and merged with the Polish Socialist Party (PPS) in 1948 to form the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). From the end of World War II the PPR ruled Poland, with the Soviet Union exercising overall control. During the PPR years, the conspiratorial as well as legally permitted centers of opposition activity were largely eliminated, while the communist system was gradually established in the country.
Łódź is the third-largest city in Poland and a former industrial hub. Located in the central part of the country, it has a population of 685,285 (2018). It is the capital of Łódź Voivodeship, and is approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) south-west of Warsaw. The city's coat of arms is an example of canting, as it depicts a boat (łódź), which alludes to the city's name.
An apparatchik, was a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or the Soviet government apparat, someone who held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management called nomenklatura. James Billington describes an apparatchik as "a man not of grand plans, but of a hundred carefully executed details." The term is often considered derogatory, with negative connotations in terms of the quality, competence, and attitude of a person thus described.
Later he was commissioned and, considered too young for political work in the army, was assigned to military intelligence, serving there with short breaks until 1981.In 1946 he was sent to the Polish consulate-general in London, where his official task was to help repatriate members of the Polish armed forces who had served in the West during the war. His superiors found him a keen, highly motivated and disciplined young officer. In 1951 he became a chief of the Department of Information in the 18th Infantry Division stationed in the city of Ełk, and in 1952 was transferred to Warsaw where he took over the position of chief of the Department of Information in the Directorate of Information of Military District Number 1. Later Kiszczak was moved to the headquarters of the Ministry of National Defense, and became chief of the General Section in the Department of Finances.
Główny Zarząd Informacji Wojska Polskiego, was a name of a first military Police and counter-espionage organ of the Polish People's Army in communist Poland during and after World War II. It is also well known as Informacja Wojskowa.
Ełk is a town in northeastern Poland with 61,156 inhabitants. It was assigned to Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship in 1999, after belonging to Suwałki Voivodeship from 1975 to 1998. Ełk is the capital of Ełk County. It lies on a shore of Ełk Lake, which was formed by a glacier, and is surrounded by forests. It is the largest city, and according to many, the capital of the region of Masuria. One of its principal attractions is hunting, which is carried out in extensive forests.
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. The metropolis stands on the Vistula River in east-central Poland and its population is officially estimated at 1.780 million residents within a greater metropolitan area of 3.1 million residents, which makes Warsaw the 8th most-populous capital city in the European Union. The city limits cover 516.9 square kilometres (199.6 sq mi), while the metropolitan area covers 6,100.43 square kilometres (2,355.39 sq mi). Warsaw is an alpha global city, a major international tourist destination, and a significant cultural, political and economic hub. Its historical Old Town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1954–57 Kiszczak studied in the Polish General Staff Academy, and after the graduation was moved to the newly formed counter-intelligence agency, the Internal Military Service (WSW). From 1957 to 1965 he was the head of counter-intelligence for the Navy in the WSW, and in 1967 became deputy head of the WSW.
From the end of the 1960s Kiszczak occupied top positions in the Polish military and military intelligence services. In 1973 he was promoted to the rank of general.In 1972–79 he served as a head of military intelligence (Second Directorate of General Staff of the Polish Army - Zarząd II Sztabu Generalnego Wojska Polskiego ). In 1978 he became deputy head of the Polish General Staff. In June 1979 Kiszczak returned to military counter-intelligence, and until 1981 was the head of the Internal Military Service.
In July 1981 Kiszczak was appointed minister of internal affairs.The Ministry of Internal Affairs, together with the Ministry of National Defense, were among the biggest and most powerful administrations in Poland, responsible for the police force, the secret police, government protection, confidential communications, supervision of local governments, correctional facilities and fire services.
In that position, Kiszczak participated in the preparation and implementation of the martial law that was declared in Poland on 13 December 1981. He became a member of the Military Council of National Salvation, a quasi-government administering Poland during the martial law (1981–83). In 1982 he became a deputy member of the Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party and a full member in 1986.From December 1981 until June 1989 Kiszczak was the second most important person in Poland, after General Wojciech Jaruzelski, the nation's top leader. Together they orchestrated the crackdown aimed at crushing the Solidarity, the Eastern Bloc’s first non-communist labor union movement. Martial law included the mass roundup and internment of Solidarity activists, curfews and other harsh measures.
Generals Kiszczak and Jaruzelski later insisted that they were imposing martial law to stave off a possible Soviet-led invasion in response to the Solidarity uprising, as it happened after a reform movement in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (the Prague Spring)."I saved the country from terrible troubles", Kiszczak said years later. But critics claimed Jaruzelski and Kiszczak were doing Moscow’s bidding in a brutal crackdown that included the shooting deaths of nine protesting miners by the police during the Pacification of Wujek operation.
As internal affairs minister, Kiszczak was responsible for the coverup of Grzegorz Przemyk's death, after his severe beating by two police officers in 1983.The court files of the case preserved his handwritten note ordering the prosecution to "only stick to one version of the investigation - the paramedics", which resulted in a doctor and a paramedic falsely convicted and imprisoned for over a year as part of the cover-up as part of a show trial. In 1984 Kiszczak granted financial awards to the policemen who coordinated the cover-up. During the trial in postcommunist Poland in 1997, one of the officers, who had participated in the beating, was eventually brought to justice, another acquitted, but Kiszczak was not on trial and avoided any punishment for his role in masterminding the coverup of the crime.
At the end of the 1980s, with the huge geopolitical changes brought by four years of Gorbachev's perestroika in the Soviet Union and with Polish economy deteriorating, Kiszczak negotiated the Polish Round Table Agreement with the opposition that led to the renewed recognition of Solidarity and the terms for the 1989 elections.Solidarity candidates went on to win nearly all the seats in the National Assembly that they were permitted to contest.
Kiszczak was appointed prime minister in 1989, but Solidarity refused to enter a communist-led government.Within a few weeks, to avert further labor unrest ignited by soaring food prices, he resigned and joined a Solidarity-dominated coalition as deputy prime minister and interior minister. He served until mid-1990, when he retired from political life.
Kiszczak (as well as Jaruzelski) remains one of the most controversial figures in contemporary Polish history, with fierce debates taking place about whether he was a patriot or a traitor.His critics hate him for the communist-era repressions that caused the suffering of many Poles and have accused him of acting in the interests of Moscow. But other Poles praise Kiszczak for relinquishing power without violence and point out that he deserves credit for eventually opening a dialogue with Solidarity and its leader Lech Wałęsa in the Round Table talks that led to partially free elections in 1989 and the end of communism in Poland. To some critics, Kiszczak redeemed himself already in 1984 when, as minister of internal affairs, he oversaw the prosecution and conviction of secret police officers who had abducted and murdered a pro-Solidarity priest, Jerzy Popiełuszko.
Still, some Poles find it infuriating that Kiszczak never faced punishment for martial law and other repressive measures, while some lower level police officers have faced convictions.In the quarter-century of democratic Poland, Kiszczak was tried in court a number of times for his role in imposing martial law, but he never served prison time. One of the most serious accusations against him was connected to the martial law killings of nine miners during the pacification of Wujek coalmine. Kiszczak was acquitted in these killings and was handed only a two-year suspended sentence for his role in imposing martial law.
Kiszczak died in Warsaw on 5 November 2015 at the age 90, due to heart problems.The Polish Ministry of Defence refused to allot a burial plot for him at the Powązki Military Cemetery or provide military funeral honors. The general was buried at the Orthodox Cemetery in Warsaw in the presence of his family members and friends. There was no government or military official participation in the ceremony.
Kiszczak was survived by his wife Maria, economist and university professor, and children Ewa and Jarosław.
Kiszczak archives - a batch of historical documents, including the SB file on secret informant Bolek, which was discovered in Kiszczak's house after his death
The Polish United Workers' Party was the Communist party which governed the Polish People's Republic from 1948 to 1989. Ideologically it was based on the theories of Marxism-Leninism. It also controlled the armed forces, the Polish People's Army.
The Służba BezpieczeństwaMinisterstwa Spraw Wewnętrznych, commonly known as Esbecja, was established in the People's Republic of Poland in 1956 as a secret police force. The Ministry of Internal Affairs had been established in 1954, but it did not play a significant role until the winding-up of the Committee for Public Safety.
Wojciech Witold Jaruzelski was a Polish military officer and politician. He was First Secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party from 1981 to 1989, and as such was the last leader of the People's Republic of Poland. He also served as Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985 and the country's head of state from 1985 to 1990. He was also the last commander-in-chief of the Polish People's Army (LWP). He resigned after the Polish Round Table Agreement in 1989, which led to multi-party elections in Poland.
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Ryszard Jerzy Kukliński was a Polish colonel and Cold War spy for NATO. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of brigadier general by Polish President Andrzej Duda. Kukliński passed top secret Warsaw Pact documents to the CIA between 1972 and 1981. The former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzeziński described him as "the first Polish officer in NATO."
The Polish Round Table Talks took place in Warsaw, Poland from 6 February to 5 April 1989. The government initiated the discussion with the banned trade union Solidarność and other opposition groups in an attempt to defuse growing social unrest.
The Military Council of National Salvation was a military junta administering the People's Republic of Poland during the period of the martial law in Poland (1981–1983).
Michał Rola-Żymierski was a Polish high-ranking Communist Party leader, communist military commander, NKVD secret agent, and Marshal of Poland by Joseph Stalin's order from 1945 until his death. He supported the 1981 imposition of Martial law in Poland.
The history of Solidarity, a Polish non-governmental trade union, began on August 14, 1980, at the Lenin Shipyards at its founding by Lech Wałęsa and others. In the early 1980s, it became the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country. Solidarity gave rise to a broad, non-violent, anti-communist social movement that, at its height, claimed some 9.4 million members. It is considered to have contributed greatly to the fall of communism.
Florian Siwicki was a Polish career military officer, diplomat and communist politician. He was a general in the Polish Army and Minister of Defense of Poland from 1983 to 1990.
Wojskowa Służba Wewnętrzna - or "Szefostwo WSW, Military Internal Service, was an armed military counterintelligence, military police, and military secret police within the structure of Ministry of National Defense or (MON). It served and protected the Polish Armed Forces against western and central MON institutions during the years of 1957-1990 in the Polish People's Republic or PRL.
Czesław Kiszczak was appointed Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Poland by President Wojciech Jaruzelski on August 2, 1989, replacing Mieczysław Rakowski.
The 1988 Polish strikes were a massive wave of workers' strikes which broke out in 1988 in the Polish People's Republic. The strikes, as well as street demonstrations, continued throughout spring and summer, ending in early September 1988. These actions shook the Communist regime of the country to such an extent that it was forced to begin talking about recognising Solidarity. As a result, later that year, the regime decided to negotiate with the opposition, which opened way for the 1989 Round Table Agreement. The second, much bigger wave of strikes surprised both the government, and top leaders of Solidarity, who were not expecting actions of such intensity. These strikes were mostly organized by local activists, who had no idea that their leaders from Warsaw had already started secret negotiations with the Communists.
The 1982 demonstrations in Poland refers to anti-government street demonstrations organized by underground Solidarity to commemorate the second anniversary of the Gdańsk Agreement. The bloodiest protest occurred in southwestern Poland, in the town of Lubin, on August 31, 1982. The Lubin demonstration resulted in three protesters killed by Communist services, and an unknown number of wounded. On the same day, rallies and demonstrations took place in several cities across the country. According to Solidarity sources, there were four more victims—in Wrocław, Gdańsk, Nowa Huta, and Toruń. According to official government sources, there were demonstrations in 66 cities.
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| Minister of Internal Affairs |
| Prime Minister of Poland |