Cyrankiewicz, Józef(yo͞o`zĕf tsĭränkyā`vĭch), 1911–89, Polish political leader. Active in the Polish resistance after the German invasion in 1939, he was arrested in 1941 and spent the remainder of the war in concentration camps. He was a member of the Polish Socialist party from 1932 and became secretary-general of its central executive committee in 1946. In 1947 he became premier. Upon the formal merger of the Socialists and Communists in 1948, Cyrankiewicz was named secretary of the central committee of the new United Polish Workers' party. Vice premier (1952–54), he held the premiership again from 1954 to 1970, proving himself flexible under both Stalinist and anti-Stalinist regimes. He was instrumental in quelling the 1956 Poznań uprising but remained in power even during the more tolerant regime of Władysław Gomułka. In 1970, however, he resigned in the wake of serious riots over inflation. Cyrankiewicz was made titular head of state, and in 1972 he was removed from all important political positions.
Born Apr. 23, 1911, in Tarnów. State and political figure of the Polish People’s Republic (PPR).
Cyrankiewicz is a journalist by profession. From 1935 to 1939 he was secretary of the Kraków district committee of the Polish Socialist Party (PSP). He took part in the war against fascist Germany and in 1941 was arrested and incarcerated in a fascist concentration camp. Freed in 1945, Cyrankiewicz served as general secretary of the Central Executive Committee of the PSP from 1946 to 1948. In 1946 he was a minister in the Government of National Unity, and from 1947 to 1952 he was prime minister.
Cyrankiewicz was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party from 1948 to 1972. He served as vice-premier of the PPR from 1952 to 1954, chairman of the Council of Ministers from 1954 to 1970, and chairman of the State Council from 1970 to 1972. Cyrankiewicz became chairman of the All-Polish Committee of Defenders of Peace in 1973.