Wladyslaw Gomulka, 1905–1982

[?& Born in Krosno, Galicia (now in Poland)], Gomulka was originally a fitter. He became a trade-union activist in 1922 and joined the illegal Communist Party of Poland in 1926. He was arrested in 1933 and released the following year, when he left for Moscow to study at the International Lenin School. In 1935–6, he was secretary of the Silesian party committee, but imprisoned again from 1936 to 1939. Gomulka was a member of the Polish Workers’ (later United Workers’) Party Central Committee from 1942 to 1949, a member of its Political Committee from 1944 to 1948, and general secretary from 1944 to 1949. He was also first deputy prime minister from 1944 to 1949, and concurrently minister for the reacquired territories from 1945 to 1949. He played a prominent part in the communist take-over of Poland in 1948–9. However, he was accused of ‘right-wing nationalist inclinations’ and progressively removed from his leading party positions in 1948 and 1949. In 1949–50, he served as deputy president of the State Audit Office and then head of the Warsaw branch of the Social Security. In the summer of 1951, he was excluded from the party and arrested. He was not released until December 1954. In August 1956, he was readmitted into the Polish United Workers’ Party, and in October 1956, chosen at the 8th Plenary of the Central Committee as its first secretary again. During a 1970 demonstration in Gdansk against price increases, Gomulka ordered shots to be fired into the unarmed crowd and several people were killed. He was dismissed from his post a few days later and sent into retirement. His Central Committee membership was suspended in February 1971.

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This page was created: Wednesday, 23-Aug-2000
Last updated: Wednes, 12-Sept-2001
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