Aleksander Zawadzki

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Aleksander Zawadzki

Aleksander Zawadzki (Polish pronunciation: [alɛˈksandɛr zaˈvat͡skʲi]; 16 December 1899 – 7 August 1964) was a Polish Communist political figure and President of Poland from 1952 to 1964.

A member of the Communist Youth Union, Zawadzki went into exile in the Soviet Union in 1931, after spending six years in prison for subversive activities against the Polish state and for organizing the murder of Antoni Kamiński, a comrade from the Communist Youth Union. He returned to Poland in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, but was immediately arrested. Freed from prison by the Soviet invasion of the country, Zawadzki eventually joined the Soviet-organized Polish People's Army, rising to the rank of major general.

Upon the conclusion of the Vistula-Oder Offensive, he was appointed a Voivode, the new government's representative to the former German territory of Silesia, which was to be transferred to Poland as a result of the Potsdam Conference after the war.

On 18 June 1945 General Aleksander Zawadzki, in his capacity as a voivode, ordered to expel the German civilian population within the occupied and then still German territories (the Potsdam Conference only started on 17 July 1945) from their dwellings and to commit them into internment camps. This order, issued by him, led to the establishment of the internment camp in Lamsdorf (Łambinowice) pol. Obóz Pracy w Łambinowicach, which was already a German prisoner-of-war camp (Stalag VIII-B, Stalag VIII F/318, Stalag 344) during the Second World War.

The German civilian population, which was to be removed by expulsion or had not succeeded in fleeing to the west, was kept in this camp. Between 1,000 and 1,500 men, women and children were killed in the Lamsdorf camp, partly by Polish camp supervisors, the infamous camp commander Czesław Gęborski, or they died of hunger and disease.

The camp was operated until autumn 1946.

Aleksander Zawadzki was elected to the Sejm in 1947, and on 20 November 1952 he was appointed chairman of the Polish Council of State, to replace Bolesław Bierut. He died of cancer in 1964.

Honours and awards

Political offices
Preceded by
Bolesław Bierut
(President of Poland)
Chairman of the Polish Council of State
20 November 1952– 7 August 1964
Succeeded by
Edward Ochab
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