General Wojciech Jaruzelski was a Polish military officer and communist politician. He was the last communist leader of the People’s Republic of Poland. He served as First Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party from 1981 to 1989, Prime Minister from 1981 to 1985, and the country’s head of state from 1985 to 1990. He resigned in 1989 leading to the first democratic elections in Poland. Jaruzelski is seen by many as the man chiefly responsible for the imposition of martial law in Poland in December 1981 in an attempt to crush pro-democracy movements, such as Solidarity.
Some random facts you might not know about Wojciech Jaruzelski:
•Wojciech Jaruzelski was born on 6th July 1923 and raised on the family estate in Wysokie.
•He suffered permanent damage to his eyes while working as a forced labourer in coal mines in Kazakhstan, which led to his generally wearing dark glasses when outdoors.
•He was a Lieutenant in the Red Army, actively involved in the fighting which freed Warsaw from German control, later decorated for his soldiering in Western Pomerania, and crossed the River Oder (Odra) to fight in the Battle of Berlin.
•His wife Barbara had a doctorate in German philology. They had one child, a daughter.
Text last updated on the death of Wojciech Jaruzelski on 25.5.2014.