Related topics

Ex-Polish Leader Follows Love to New York

May 20, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A former Polish leader, described as a pro-Soviet hard-liner who seven years ago helped crush the Solidarity movement, is living an anonymous middle- class life in Rego Park, Queens, The New York Times reported Friday.

Stefan Olszowski, 57, came to the United States, a nation whose ideology he fervently despised, in August 1986, because of his love for Zofia Skowron, a Polish international civil servant. They were married last month.

When he left his wife for Skowron, the scandal shook the Polish Communist Party and contributed to his ouster as foreign minister and Politburo member in 1985.

Skowron was transferred to the United Nations office in New York, where she is a liaison officer with UNESCO, and Olszowski accompanied her. The couple have a 4-year-old son, Nicholas.

His move to the United States has astounded American Polish experts, as well as emigres, many of whom left Poland after Solidarity was suppressed by martial law in December 1981.

″It’s a remarkable example of moral cynicism and ideological hypocrisy,″ Zbigniew Brzezinski, a national security adviser in the Carter administration, told the Times. ″This is a man who, back home, is a stalwart doctrinarian who favored the bloody use of force to crush Solidarity.″

″It’s almost as if Al Haig or Caspar Weinberger or someone like that turned up in a dacha outside Moscow,″ Janusz Glowacki, a Polish playwright now living in New York, told the newspaper.

Olszowski, in an interview with the Times, insisted that he was here just for personal reasons. ″I am just a private person,″ he said. ″If you can understand me, I am here for personal reasons.″

Olszowski was twice almost installed as the leader of the Communist Party, in place of Stansilaw Kania, during the 16 months Solidarity was a legal union and Poland was reeling through a period of liberalization and crisis.

Despite his ouster in 1985, he appears to maintain ties to Poland’s top leadership, meeting with visiting officials at the United Nations, according to the Times.

Update hourly