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Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski

Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski

Polish politician
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Polish politician
Countries Poland
Occupations Officer Politician
Gender male
Birth 16 March 1892 (Kaunas, Kaunas City Municipality, Kaunas County, Lithuania)
Death 12 April 1946 (Woking, Woking, Surrey, South East England)
Politics Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie"
The details

Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈmarjan ˈzɨndram kɔɕt͡ɕawˈkɔfskʲi]; 16 March 1892, Pandėlys, Kovno Governorate – 12 April 1946 near Woking) was a Polish politician and military officer who served as voivode of Białystok Voivodeship in 1930-1934, Mayor of Warsaw in 1934 and Prime Minister of Poland from 1935 to 1936.

Early years

Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski was born in his family’s real estate of Pandėlys, located in northern part of the Kovno Region, Russian Empire (today Lithuania), to Karol and Maria Budrewicz. He came from a noble background that used the Syrokomla coat of arms. In 1903, Marian went to Saint Petersburg where he attended middle and high school. After graduation in 1910, he began studying at the local Neurological Institute. Also, he studied agriculture at Riga Technical University.

In 1911, Zyndram-Kościałkowski became a member of the Union of Active Struggle (ZWC), Polish independence organization. Together with Walery Sławek, he was a co-founder of structures of the ZWC in northwestern corner of the Russian Empire. In 1912, he was named commandant of the ZWC in the Baltic provinces of Russia, and in the summer of 1914, after the outbreak of World War One, he planned to join Polish Legions in World War I, but was ordered to stay in Warsaw. In 1915, he joined Polish Military Organisation (POW), using nom de guerre Jerzy Orwid. On February 7, 1915, Józef Piłsudski promoted him to Podporucznik (Second Lieutenant). In the same year, he married fellow member of the POW, Anna Krysińska. In 1918, their son Witold was born, with Piłsudski as the godfather.

1918 - 1921

In late 1918, Zyndram-Kościałkowski joined the newly created Polish Army, and in 1919 he was transferred to the Second Department of Polish General Staff. He was actively involved in the activities of Polish intelligence in the areas of Suwałki and southern Lithuania. In April 1919, he came to Wilno (Vilnius), and soon afterwards, Józef Piłsudski ordered him to carry out sabotage attacks in the rear of the Red Army.

In September 1920, Zyndram-Kościałkowski was named commandant of the Bieniakonie Group, which was part of Volunteer Division (Colonel Adam Koc). Together with this unit, he participated in Żeligowski's Mutiny, which resulted in creation of the Republic of Central Lithuania. In 1920 - 1922, Zyndram-Kościałkowski commanded Second Department (Intelligence) of the General Staff of Central Lithuania’s Armed Forces.


In 1922, Zyndram-Kościałkowski joined Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie", to be soon named leader of this party (until 1925). As a deputy of the Land of Wilno to the Polish Sejm, he was released from the military. Zyndram-Kościałkowski remained in the parliament until 1939.

In the early 1920s, he was a member of a Freemason’s Lodge “Tomasz Zan”, and in April 1925, after abandoning Polish People's Party "Wyzwolenie", he co-created the so-called Parliamentary Labour Club (Klub Pracy, later renamed into Labour Party), together with Kazimierz Bartel. Zyndram-Kościałkowski did not play any significant role in the 1926 May Coup. As key member of the Labour Party, he supported the Sanacja movement, and in May 1927 became a member of the Warsaw City Council. At the same time, he was a deputy chairman of the Association of Army Reservists, and leading member of Association of Polish Cities. In the Parliament, he was responsible for the budget of the Ministry of Military Affairs for the year 1927/28.

Following the Polish legislative election, 1928, Zyndram-Kościałkowski was again elected from the District of Wilno. In March 1928, he became deputy chairman of the Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government (BBWR), and in June, his Labour Party joined the BBWR, as autonomous organization.

Zyndram-Kościałkowski was regarded as an avid supporter of Józef Piłsudski. In defence of his policies, in 1922, he challenged General Józef Haller to a duel.


On July 20, 1930, Zyndram-Kościałkowski was named Voivode of Białystok Voivodeship, remaining there until late February 1934. He improved local administration, built sewer system and paved streets of Białystok. He also founded the unemployment committee and Agricultural Chamber. Due to his efforts, local entrepreneurs presented their products at the Northern Trade Fair in Wilno. Also, he was one of co-founders of sports club Jagiellonia Białystok. To honor his work, on September 4, 1935, Zyndram-Kościałkowski was named Honorary Citizen of Białystok, and a boulevard was named after him.

Following the Polish legislative election, 1930, he was again elected to the Sejm (November 1930). On June 28, 1934, after Minister of Internal Affairs Bolesław Pieracki had been murdered by Ukrainian nationalists, Zyndram-Kościałkowski took over this post. As a minister, he tried to streamline local administration, and reach an agreement with moderate Ukrainian organizations. In the summer of 1935, Polish authorities reached a compromise with the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO), and as a result, the UNDO took place in the Polish legislative election, 1935.

After the death of Józef Piłsudski (May 12, 1935), the Sanacja camp was divided into two factions: those gathered around President Ignacy Mościcki, and the followers of Marshal Edward Śmigły-Rydz. In August 1935, Mościcki agreed with Minister Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski that changes must be made in the government of Walery Sławek. Kwiatkowski entered the cabinet, while Zyndram-Kościałkowski was appointed to the post of Prime Minister.

On October 13, 1935, Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski was nominated to the post of Prime Minister of Poland. His government excluded the so-called Piłsudski's colonels, which was supported by the public opinion. Due to the economical difficulties of the mid-1930s, Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, who was Minister of Industry and Trade, played a key role in the government. In December 1935, amnesty of political prisoners was declared, but Zyndram-Kościałkowski decided not to close the Bereza Kartuska prison. In the spring of 1936, Socialist and Communist organizations initiated a series of anti-government demonstrations. Strikes and protests took place all over the country: on March 20 - 25, a sit-down strike took place at the Semperit Plant in Kraków. The protest was broken by the riot police, with several people killed or injured. In Lwów, the police killed 9 people, wounding over 200. These social disturbances undermined the position of Zyndram-Kościałkowski and his cabinet.

On May 15, 1936, President Mościcki dismissed Zyndram-Kościałkowski, replacing him with Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski. Zyndram-Kościałkowski himself was appointed Minister of Labour in the new government, remaining in this post until September 30, 1939.

Exile and death

After the Invasion of Poland, Zyndram-Kościałkowski was interned in Romania. He then moved to France and Great Britain. New Prime Minister in Exile, General Władysław Sikorski decided to send him to a camp of political opponents, located on the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Together with him, actress Maria Balcerkiewicz was interned. They later married.

Marian Zyndram-Kościałkowski died on April 12, 1946 in Brookwood, Surrey.

Military ranks

  • Lieutenant - 2 XII 1918
  • Captain – 1 XII 1919
  • Major – 1924
  • Subcolonel – 14 XII 1931

Honors and Awards

  • Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari (1921),
  • Commander Cross of the Polonia Restituta (1931)
  • Cross of Independence with Swords,
  • Cross of Valour (Poland), four times,
  • Cross of Merit of Central Lithuania’s Armed Forces,
  • Officer of the Legion of Honour,
  • Order of Leopold (Belgium),
  • Order of the Cross of the Eagle, First Class.
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