WARSAW, Poland — Jan Olszewski, a Polish anti-communist dissident and former prime minister, has died. He was 88.
Olszewski died in a Warsaw hospital late Thursday after a long illness, the news agency PAP reported Friday, citing former Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz.
Many Polish officials praised Olszewski for his service to the nation, describing him as a person of honour and honestly.
“Sad news has come from Warsaw,” Donald Tusk, the European Council president and a former Polish prime minister, said on Twitter. He remembered his predecessor as “a courageous protector in political processes, a participant of Solidarity, a good man. May he rest in peace.”
Olszewski, a Warsaw native born in 1930, was a young teenager when he participated in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi German occupiers of the country during World War II.
In the 1980s he was a leading figure in the anti-communist Solidarity movement, helping to draft its founding charter. He also took part in the Round Table Talks in 1989 that negotiated a peaceful transition from communism to democracy.
Olszewski served as prime minster for six months from 1991-1992, making him the shortest-serving premier in Poland’s post-communist era.
“Jan Olszewski was a person of crystal honesty and faithful to his views, and at the same time immensely courageous. He proved his steadfastness many times,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. “The Republic has suffered an unimaginable loss today.”