(pseudonym of J. Leszczyński). Born Jan. 8, 1889, in Płock; died Sept. 21, 1937. Prominent member of the Polish and international workers’ movement.
The son of a worker, Leński joined the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPL) in 1905. In 1909 he enrolled in the philosophy faculty at the Jagellonian University, but was temporarily expelled from the university in 1910 for leading a student strike. He was elected chairman of the Spójnia Socialist Youth League in 1910 and a member of the Warsaw Committee of the SDKPL in 1913. As a leader of the Rozłamowcy, a group of Polish Social Democrats who closely cooperated with the Bolsheviks, he participated in the Poronino conference of the Central Committee (CC) of the RSDLP in 1913. For his revolutionary activity he was arrested many times by the tsarist government and later by the governments of bourgeois Poland and Germany, where he lived in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.
In 1917–18, Leński became a member of the Central Executive Committee of the SDKPL groups in Russia and editor of the newspaper Trybuna. He attended the Seventh (April) Conference of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) and was a delegate to the party’s Sixth Congress. In October 1917 he was commissar of the Military Revolutionary Committee, and from November to June 1919, he was commissar for Polish affairs of the People’s Commissariat of Nationalities. He was a member of the second and third convocations of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. In 1919 he became people’s commissar of education of the Lithuanian-Byelorussian Soviet Republic and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania and Byelorussia. From 1921 to 1923 he was a member of the Polish Bureau under the Central Committee of the RCP (B). He attended the Second Congress of the Communist Party of Poland (CPP) and was a delegate to its Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Congresses.
In the first half of 1924, Leński was active in the French Communist Party and was an editor of L’Humanité. In 1925 he was elected a member of the Central Committee and of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPP, and in June 1929 he became general secretary of the CPP. He attended the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Congresses of the Comintern. In 1928 he was a member of the Comintern Executive Committee and a candidate member of the Presidium of the Comintern Executive Committee, becoming a full member of the Presidium in July 1929. Leński played an important role in working out the platform and tactics of the united workers’ and antifascist popular fronts.
WORKSO front ludowy w Polsce 1934–37. Warsaw, 1956.
REFERENCEKalicka, F. “Julian Leszczyński-Leński.” Z pola walki, 1958, no. 4, pp. 278–321.
A. IA. MANUSEVICH