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Warski, Adolf

(1868–1937), Polish Communist activist and leader. Born in Kraków into an assimilated family that favored the country’s independence, Adolf Warski (orig. Warszawski) was one of the founders of the Związek Robotników Polskich (Polish Workers Union; ZRP) in 1889. In 1893, he helped organize the Socjaldemokracja Królestwa Polskiego i Litwy (Social Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania; SDKPiL), which, as its name implied, renounced the independence of Poland as one of its goals and directed its activities to the tsarist empire, where it sought a proletarian revolution. From 1902 to 1913, Warski was a member of the party’s Central Executive and played an active part in the Revolution of 1905–1907, during which he was arrested several times by tsarist police.

Warski was also a member of the editorial board of Czerwony Sztandar, the principal organ of the SDKPiL. During World War I, he represented the party at the socialist antiwar conferences of Zimmerwald and Kienthal in Switzerland. After the war he helped found the Polish Communist Party (KPP), serving as a member of its political bureau from 1919 to 1924 and of its Central Committee from 1925 to 1929. He was also one of the authors of the party’s program adopted at its Second Congress in September and October 1923 and an editor of its theoretical journal, Nowy Przegląd. He sat in the Sejm in 1926–1927 and again in 1928–1929.

After the coup of May 1926, the KPP was divided. A majority of its members supported Piłsudski as a lesser evil than a takeover by the National Democratic right, while a minority took a more doctrinaire stance and viewed the new regime as anathema. Warski supported the majority position. After the leftist turn in the Comintern in 1928, the “majority” was displaced and the “minority” took control of the KPP. Warski then lost all his political power, although he continued to work within the party. When the Piłsudski regime took more repressive actions against the left and, in particular, the Communists, Warski fled to the USSR in 1930 and was active in the Polish division of the Communist International. In 1937, he was accused of treason and counterrevolutionary activity, was imprisoned, and ultimately was executed.

Suggested Reading

M. K. Dziewanowski, The Communist Party of Poland: An Outline of History (Cambridge, Mass., 1976); Maria Wierzbicka, Poseł robotniczej Warszawy: Opowieść o Adolfie Warskim (Warsaw, 1965).