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Gabriel_Narutowicz

Gabriel Narutowicz

Gabriel Narutowicz (March 17 1865December 16 1922) was the first President of Poland. He was assassinated only a week after his election.

Early career

Born into a Samogitian noble family in Telšiai, Lithuania, then under the Russian Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Narutowicz had been a professor at the Polytechnic Institute in Zurich, Switzerland, from 1908, and had directed the construction of many hydroelectric plants in western Europe.

After Poland regained independence in 1918, he became involved in Polish national politics, serving as Minister of Public Works (1920-21) and as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1922). He was widely recongized as one of the earlier Polish statesmen.

Election and death

Supported by the "Liberation" party, Narutowicz decided to run for President of Poland. On December 9, 1922, he was elected by the Polish parliament (the Sejm), convening as the National Assembly of Poland, to be Poland's first president, and was sworn in on December 11.

His election, supported by leftist, centrist, peasant and national-minority deputies, aroused the ire of right-wing deputies, particularly the National Democrats. They emphasized that the deputies who had supported Narutowicz had included national-minorities representatives, and disparagingly called the newly-elected head of state "their president" or "President of the Jews". Narutowicz was also reproached for being an atheist and belonging to a Masonic lodge.

During his very short term in office he worked primary to appoint a new government, in place of Nowak's cabinet. However new cabinet was appointed by Acting President Maciej Rataj after Narutowicz death and before Wojciechowski's took the office. Also Naturowicz's first act in office was commuting of a death sentence.

While working on appointing a new government, he proposed portfolio of Foreign Affairs Minister to his main rival to the Presidency - Maurycy Klemens Zamoyski.

On December 16, 1922, five days after his inauguration, while attending the opening of an art exhibit at Warsaw's Zachęta Gallery, Narutowicz was shot dead by a mentally-deranged sympathizer of the National Democrats, the artist and art critic Eligiusz Niewiadomski, who was sentenced to death and a month later executed by firing squad.

Legacy

Warsaw's Plac Narutowicza (Narutowicz Square) is named in his memory.

Family

Gabriel Narutowicz's brother, Stanisław Narutowicz, was a member of the State Council of Lithuania, and his signature appears on the Lithuanian Act of Independence of February 16 1918.

See also

Notes

References

  • Richard M. Watt, Bitter Glory: Poland and Its Fate, 1918 to 1939, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1979, ISBN 0-671-22625-8.
  • Wapiński, Roman (1980). Narodowa Demokracja 1893-1939. Wrocław: Zakład Narodowy Imienia Ossolińskich.

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