|3rd Prime Minister of Poland|
December 23, 1991 – June 5, 1992
|Preceded by||Jan Krzysztof Bielecki|
|Succeeded by||Waldemar Pawlak|
August 20, 1930 |
Warsaw, Second Polish Republic
|Political party||Centre Agreement|
Jan Ferdynand Olszewski ['jan ɔlˈʂɛfskʲi] ( listen) (born August 20, 1930 in Warsaw) is a Polish lawyer and political figure.1 He is best known for serving as Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland from 1991 to 1992.
Olszewski, a native of Warsaw, came from a worker's family with strong socialist traditions (even he, despite a later right-wing career, considered himself a socialist during his early political life). Many members of his family belonged to the first tier of Polish Socialist Party.
Since 1943 he was active in Szare Szeregi, underground Polish Scouting Association during World War II.1 After War he was active supporter and campaigned for Stanisław Mikołajczyk's Polish People's Party (1946–1947).
He graduated from secondary school in 1949 and went to study law in University of Warsaw (graduation in 1953). After this he was an employee of Ministry of Justice and later Polish Academy of Sciences.1
In 1956 he became member of the staff of the weekly Po prostu magazine.1 In one of his article (March 11) he called for rehabilitation of former Armia Krajowa members, prosecuted by communist authorities. Soon he became one of the best known public critics of regime, resulting prohibiting him from being journalist in 1957 (to 1959).
From 1956 to 1962 he was a member of the Klub Krzywego Koła, comprising intellectual elites cricitising the regime.2
During 1960s Olszewski became leading defense attorney in political trials (i.e., Melchior Wańkowicz in 1964, Jacek Kuroń and Karol Modzelewski in 1965, and Janusz Szpotanski).13 His professional activity was banned again in 1968.1 He returned in 1970, when Edward Gierek came to power.
His cabinet, however, lasted just over half of a year (December 23, 1991 – June 5, 1992). His cabinet fell over issues related to lustration and the proper way of handling communist secret police files.2 In next (1993) election he lost his Sejm seat (he held since 1991). He returned to the Sejm in 1997 and 2001 (this time from the right wing League of Polish Families ballot).4
From April 10, 2006, Olszewski served as one of President Kaczyński's political advisors until the latter's death.1 He also served as the Vice President of the State Tribunal of the Republic of Poland on two occasions (1989–1991, 2005–2006).
- The official website of the President of the Republic of Poland, "Jan Olszewski – Political Advisor to the President", 
- Michael Bernhard, Henryk Szlajfer, "From the Polish Underground-Pod, Ls", Penn State Press, 2004, pg. 419, 
- Vladimir Tismăneanu, "Fantasies of salvation: democracy, nationalism, and myth in post-communist Europe", Princeton University Press, 1998, pg. 129, 
- Antoni Dudek, "Historia Polityczna Polski, 1989–2005" (Political History of Poland, 1989–2005, Arkana Historii, Krakow, 2007, pgs. 321–322, 403
- This article incorporates information from the revision as of 01-08-2007 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
|Prime Minister of Poland