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Jan Olszewski
Jan Olszewski 3.jpg
3rd Prime Minister of Poland
In office
6 December 1991 – 5 June 1992
President Lech Wałęsa
Preceded by Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
Succeeded by Waldemar Pawlak
Member of the Sejm
In office
18 June 1991 – 31 March 1993
Constituency Warsaw I
In office
20 October 1997 – 18 October 2005
Constituency Warsaw I
Personal details
Jan Ferdynand Olszewski

(1930-08-20)20 August 1930
Warsaw, Poland
Died 7 February 2019(2019-02-07) (aged 88)
Warsaw, Poland
Resting place Powązki Military Cemetery
Nationality Polish
Political party Solidarity Citizens' Committee
Centre Agreement
Movement for the Republic
Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland (1995–2012)
Spouse(s) Marta Miklaszewska
Alma mater University of Warsaw
Awards POL Order Orła Białego BAR.svg Order of the White Eagle
POL Krzyż Wolności i Solidarności BAR.svg Cross of Freedom and Solidarity

Jan Ferdynand Olszewski (20 August 1930 – 7 February 2019) was a Polish conservative lawyer and politician who served as the Prime Minister of Poland for five months between December 1991 and early June 1992 and later became a leading figure of the national conservative Movement for the Reconstruction of Poland.Olszewski's premiership was the second shortest in the history of the Third Republic.

Early life

As a native of Warsaw, Olszewski originated from a working-class family employed in the railway industry, who were strongly connected to the Polish Socialist Party. Olszewski is related to Stefan Aleksander Okrzeja, a Polish socialist nationalist from the turn of the 20th century, who was executed by Russian authorities in 1905 for leading insurgent activities. Despite Olszewski's active preference to right-wing politics later in life, he considered himself sympathetic to socialist causes during his early formative years.

During World War II, Olszewski was active in the Szare Szeregi ("Grey Ranks"), an underground part of the Polish Scouting Association, and participated in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.


Jan Olszewski(6)
Jan Olszewski, Central Celebration of the Railwayman's Day 2007, Warsaw

Olszewski remains a controversial figure within Polish politics. Members of the right-wing, particularly Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński, have praised the former premier for his anti-communist stances and legal principles. On the twentieth anniversary of the Olszewski government's vote of no confidence in 2012, Kaczyński praised Olszewski for attempting to stop the rapid privatizations of the early 1990s, and having helped steer Poland towards its eventual integration into NATO.

In an opinion poll conducted in 2014, asking respondents to evaluate who was the best prime minister of the Third Republic, Olszewski was placed at seventh place. A similar poll conducted by later that year positioned Olszewski at sixth place.

In July 2014, Olszewski was made an honorary citizen of Warsaw by Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz for his participation in the Warsaw Uprising, as well as citing his moral and social authority in service of the city.

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