Władysław Gomułka with his wife Liwa Szoken, 1964.Władysław Gomułka (Polish: [vwaˈdɨswaf ɡɔˈmuwka]; 6 February 1905 – 1 September 1982) was a Polish communist activist and politician. He was the de facto leader of post-war Poland until 1948. Following the Polish October he became leader again from 1956 to 1970.
Gomułka was initially very popular for his reforms; his seeking a "Polish way to socialism"; and giving rise to the period known as "Gomułka's thaw". During the 1960s, however, he became more conservative. Afraid of destabilizing the system, he was not inclined to introduce or permit changes. In the 1960s he supported the persecution of the Catholic Church and intellectuals (notably Leszek Kołakowski, who was forced into exile).
In 1967–68 Gomułka allowed outbursts of "anti-Zionist" political propaganda, which developed initially as a result of the Soviet bloc's frustration with the outcome of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War. It turned out to be a thinly veiled anti-Semitic campaign, pursued primarily by others in the Party, but utilized by Gomułka to keep himself in power by shifting the attention of the populace from the stagnating economy and mismanagement. The result was that the majority of the remaining Polish citizens of Jewish origin left the country. At that time he was also responsible for persecuting protesting students and toughening censorship of the media. Gomułka was one of the key leaders of the Warsaw Pact and supported Poland's consequent participation in intervention in Czechoslovakia in August 1968.
An undeniable achievement of Gomułka's politics was the negotiation of a treaty with West Germany, signed in December 1970. The German side recognized the post-World War II borders, which established a foundation for future peace, stability and cooperation in Central Europe.
In December 1970, economic difficulties led to price rises and subsequent bloody clashes with shipyard workers on the Baltic Coast, in which several dozen workers were fatally shot. The tragic events forced Gomułka's resignation and retirement. In a generational replacement of the ruling elite, Edward Gierek took over the Party leadership and tensions eased.
American journalist John Gunther described Gomułka as "professorial in manner, aloof, and angular, with a peculiar spry pepperiness."Liwa Szoken, actually Liwa Szoken later Zofia Szoken (b. 12 May 1902 , d. 27 November 1986  in Warsaw ) - Polish activist, communist, wife of Wladyslaw Gomulka .
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