Edward Gierek

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gierek, Edward


Born Jan. 6, 1913, in the village of Porabka, Katowice Województwo. Politician and statesman of the Polish People’s Republic. Mining engineer by training.

Gierek was born into a miner’s family. In 1923 he emigrated with his mother to France, where he worked in coal mines from 1926 to 1934. In 1931 he joined the French Communist Party. In 1934 he was arrested for participating in a miners’ strike and was deported to Poland, where he was soon drafted into the army. In 1937 he emigrated to Belgium and worked as a coal miner, and that same year he joined the Belgian Communist Party. During the occupation of Belgium by fascist German troops (1940-44), Gierek was active in the resistance movement and was responsible for the publications of the Polish underground press. After World War II, Gierek participated in uniting the Polish Workers’ Party with the Union of Polish Patriots in Belgium in 1945. He was a leader of the National Council of Poles in Belgium and its chairman for more than two years. In 1948 he returned to Poland and worked in the party apparatus of the Central Committee of the Polish Workers’ Party. From 1949 to 1954 he was engaged in party work in Silesia, and from 1951 to 1954 he was secretary of the Katowice Województwo Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PUWP). At the Second Congress of the PUWP in 1954, Gierek was elected a member of the Central Committee of the PUWP (CC PUWP) and directed to work in the Central Committee as head of the heavy industry section. In March 1956 he was elected Secretary of the CC PUWP. From July to October 1956 and after March 1959 he was a member of the Politburo of the CC PUWP. From March 1956 to June 1964 he was secretary of the CC PUWP and from March 1957 to December 1970, first secretary of the Katowice Województwo Committee of the PUWP. In December 1970 at the Seventh Plenum of the CC PUWP, he was elected first secretary of the CC PUWP. Since 1952 Gierek has been a deputy to the Sejm of the Polish People’s Republic. Gierek has been awarded the Order of Lenin (1937), the Order of Builder of People’s Poland, the Order of the Banner of Labor First Class, and other orders.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The strike pushed on until it consumed the governance of Gomulka who was replaced by Edward Gierek who was more open to the demands of the workers.
WHEN did Edward Gierek become First Secretary of the Communist Party in Poland?
In fact, Hardy traces a progression from Edward Gierek's reforms in the early 1970s, which tentatively set Poland on the path to integration within the global economy, with the later wholesale adoption of market reform.
But in a race between two conservatives and the left-wing vote up for grabs, Kaczynski has set a strikingly new tone, even taking Poles by surprise in recent days when he praised a leader of communist Poland, Edward Gierek, as a patriot.
After the disturbances of 1968--1970, Edward Gierek came to power, and inaugurated a period of considerable prosperity, and indeed, of national pride.
IMAGINE THAT AFTER Boris Yeltsin was elected president of a free post-Communist Russia in 1991, the Poles, residents of a former province of the Soviet empire, elected former Communist boss Edward Gierek as their new head of state.
These manuscripts were described as "gifts of friendship" from socialist Poland to socialist East Germany and were presented to the Germans by the first secretary of the Polish United Workers Party, Edward Gierek, during his visit to East Berlin on May 29, 1977.
Whereas the first two eras are named after historical figures (Party leaders Edward Gierek and Wojciech Jaruzelski) symbolic of Polish politics in the 1970s and eighties, the third, with its allusion to Brownian movements or heroin ("brown sugar"), refers to someone or something representing a totally different order.
The issues that ignited the Solidarity movement in August 1980 had been fermenting for years during the Edward Gierek regime (1970-1980).
To take a trivial example, an apologist for the Polish authorities is now forbidden to praise the man (Edward Gierek) whom only a few years ago it was dangerous to criticize.