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Deputy Prime Minister Kazimierz Olszewski (1917-2014) - Star of Ethiopia


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Gentlemen,

 

Late last year I obtained on E-Bay a certificate of the Order of the Star of Ethiopia bestowed upon Kazimierz Olszewski on 29 November 1965 in his role as Deputy Chairman of the Committee of Overseas Economic Cooperation. Accompanying the certificate were two letters from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs granting permission to accept the award and forwarding the actual certificate.

 

On searching the internet and availing myself of Google translate I have obtained a concise biography from the Polish Wikipedia:

 

"Had incomplete higher education and occupation mechanic technician, he studied at the University of Lviv. In the years 1941-1943 he was in the Red Army, and from 1943 until 1947 he served in the LWP. In the years 1947-1952 he worked in the synthetic fiber industry.

 

In the years 1952-1959 he was associated with the Ministry of Chemical Industry (Head of the Department, Secretary of State). In the years 1959-1962 and 1975-1977 was the permanent representative of the Government of the People's Republic in the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance in Moscow. From 1962 to 1970 he was deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the CMEA and the first deputy chairman of the Committee of Foreign Economic Relations at the Council of Ministers. In the years 1971-1972 Deputy Permanent Representative of the Government of People's Republic of Comecon in Moscow.

 

From 13 February 1971 to March 1972 he was Minister of Foreign Trade, and since April 10, 1974 to November 21, 1974 he was Minister of Foreign Trade and Maritime Affairs; on November 22, 1973 to April 10, 1974 he was Minister of navigation; and since March 29, 1972 to December 17, 1977 was also the Vice President of the Council of Ministers of PRL in the rule of Peter Jaroszewicz.

 

He belonged to the PPR, and then to the Communist Party. From 1971 to 1981, he was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. In the years 1976-1980 he was a deputy to the Sejm PRL seventh term. In the years 1978-1982 he was the ambassador Polish Peoples Republic in  the USSR. Longtime member of the Supreme Council of the League of freedom Fighters.

 

Decorated with the Order of People's Polish Builders (1974) and the Order of the Banner of Labour 1st Class. Buried at Powazki military cemetery."

 

To complete my notes I would like to obtain an image of Kazimierz Olszewski but have, to date, no success - perhaps a fellow member with Polish language ability can assist?

 

Kind regards,

 

Owain

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Dear Irish Gunner,

 

Very many thanks indeed - putting a face to the name is always a good result. I suspect that Olszewski during his long career collected more than a handful of awards commencing with his Soviet service awards from the Great Patriotic War and then his Polish awards - nice pictures. This is not my field of expertise and thus my thanks to you.

 

With kind regards,

 

Owain

 

P.S. Google translate is not consistent - the body he was on when he received the Ethiopian award has translated as:

 

 

Committee of Overseas Economic Cooperation

 

Committee of Foreign Economic Relations

Edited by oamotme
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Obituary in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza

 

It's in Polish; here is the translation:

 

With great sadness we bid farewell to deceased 29 August 2014

 

Kazimierz Olszewski

 

Our neighbor, a friendly and vibrant person,
Participant in the Battle of Stalingrad, former Minister and Deputy Prime Minister

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Owain

 

P.S. Google translate is not consistent - the body he was on when he received the Ethiopian award has translated as:

 

 

Committee of Overseas Economic Cooperation

 

Committee of Foreign Economic Relations

 

I would translate it more like this:

 

Deputy Chairman of the Committee of International Economic Cooperation, Council of Ministers - this was his Polish Government position.

 

He also held the position of Deputy Chairman in the international organization  Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) - this was the economic equivalent of the Warsaw Pact founded by Moscow and included eastern bloc nations.  It initially was Stalin's response to the Marshall Plan and also has been called the Molotov Plan.

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Dear Irish Gunner,

 

I suspect that Olszewski during his long career collected more than a handful of awards commencing with his Soviet service awards from the Great Patriotic War

 

You are probably quite correct.  His obituary said he participated in the Battle for Stalingrad; so, he probably had a couple Soviet awards.

 

I bet he also had some other lower Polish decorations, but they are not listed on the Polish wiki.

Edited by IrishGunner
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Thanks - I don't recall the vendor selling any other related items, but noting that Olszewski died only in August of last year I am assuming, (never a good thing), that his family had a clear out.

 

In the order of precedence of Polish awards of the period are the noted awards relatively senior? From his CV he was obviously a dedicated party/regime man

 

Regards,

 

Owain

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This is what I have:

" Olszwski, Kazimierz.

Polish party and government official. born August 9, 1917 in Trzes'niewo, Lwow district, from a working class family.

Studied at Lwow Higher Polychnical School. Red army officer, fought at Stalingrad (1941-43). Officer in the Polish (Berling) army in USR 1943-45.

Director for administration and trade affairs in synthetic fibers factory in Jelenia Gora 1947. Later at the Design Office of synthetic fibers in Lodz.

Director of department in the Ministry of Chemical Industry 1952-53. Promoted to Undersecretary of State in Ministry of Chemical Industry 1953-59.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Poland to CMEA in Moscow 1959-1961. Again, 1970-1971.

First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Economic Cooperation with Foreign countries at the Council of Ministers 1962-1970.

Promoted Minister of Foreign Trade, Feb. 1971-March, 1972.

Deputy Prime Minister of Council of Ministers, March, 1972- December, 1977.

Minister of Shipping (!) Nov. 1973-April, 1974.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Maritime Economy, April -November, 1974.

Permanent Representative of Poland to CMEA October, 1975-December, 1977.

Chairman of CMEA Executive Committee, July, 1976-June, 1977

POLISH AMBASSADOR to USSR, Jan 1978-, June, 1982

Member PUWP Central Committee, December 1971-July, 1981,

Sejm (Parliament) Deputy: March 1976-March, 1980.

Member of the Main Council of the union of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy, 1974

awards: Order of Builders of Polish Peoples' Republic, Banner of Labour 1st class,Officers' Cross of Polonia Restitua, cross of valor.

Edited by Ulsterman
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Aha, yes a lucky find. Thank you for your additional information. The biographical details I obtained were from a Google translation of a Polish Wikipedia entry. Where did you get your details as there are slight differences? It is interesting to note he was also awarded the Officers Cross of Polonia Restituta and the Cross of Valour. As intimated earlier he must have had quite a collection of awards. Thank you for your help - every snippet of information adds life to the certificate and enhances the value of GMIC as a research tool. Regards, Owain

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I thought he must have had the Order Polonia Restituta.  It was a fairly common award.  And in my opinion, one of the more attractive Polish awards...

 

jnj19.jpg

 

Polish Valor Cross makes sense considering his wartime service.  I also suspect he had the civil Cross for Merit (Krzyż ZasÅ‚ugi) and several lesser medals associated with veterans of the Second World War awarded by the Communist Polish State.

 

I suppose he would have also received the Soviet Medal "For the Defence of Stalingrad" since he was still with the Red Army in 1942 when it was instituted.  I also know that Polish nationals received the Soviet Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945".  I don't know how you would confirm his Red Army awards however.

Edited by IrishGunner
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