Born in Kraków on the 5th of January, 1901. He completed a secondary school in Tarnów, where he was also active in the Boy Scout movement. From 1918 he belonged to the Polish Military Organization (POW); in October 1918 he participated in the disarming of the Austrian troops in Tarnów and then volunteered to the Polish Army and in 1919-1920 took part in the struggles for Lviv and Vilnius, and in the defence of Warsaw against the Soviets; he also fought in the Third Silesian Uprising. After the war he studied law at the Jagiellonian University and at the School of Political Science in Kraków. In 1921 he became a member of the Polish Socialist Party (PPS), of the Association of Workers’ Universities (TUR), of the Union of Independent Socialist Youth (ZNMS), and of the Red Scouts of the Association of Workers’ Universities. In the 1930’s, he belonged to the central authorities of the Polish Socialist Party and was initially associated with its radical wing. In 1928 Ciołkosz held a Sejm seat on behalf of the PPS as the youngest Socialist deputy and also became the secretary of the PPS Sejm Club. In 1930 he was imprisoned in Brest together with other activists of the anti-Sanation opposition; in the meantime he was elected a Sejm deputy once more from the electoral roll of the Centrolew coalition. Following the annulment of his parliamentary mandate, he was sentenced in the political Brest trials to three years in prison but was released on bail and only served his sentence from the autumn of 1933 to the autumn of 1934. He was against the idea of the Socialists forming a common front with Communists. In September 1939 he found shelter in Romania and then made his way to France and England. In exile, he was Secretary-General of the PPS Central Executive Committee and was considered one of the most distinguished political activists among the Polish emigration. He was also a member of the National Council of Poland. Unlike the majority of PPS activists, he was against the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement concluded between the Polish émigré authorities and the Soviet government. Ciołkosz also protested against the decisions taken at the Yalta Conference and the policy of conciliation towards the USSR pursued by Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk. After General Sikorski’s death, he himself had been offered the office of Prime Minister by President Władysław Raczkiewicz, but refused to assume that post. In 1947-57 he headed the PPS in exile, and was the president of its Central Council until 1959, editing the “Robotnik”, participating in the international Socialist movement, and being active on various Polish émigré organizations and institutions. As an opponent of any attempts at seeking an agreement with the Communist authorities in his homeland after the ‘Polish thaw’ of October 1956, he had his share in provoking divisions within the PPS in exile. His publicist activity particularly flourished after the war, when he collaborated with numerous Polish émigré magazines, including the Paris “Kultura”. Ciołkosz died in London on the 1st of October, 1978. His most important works include Trzy wspomnienia (1945; co-authored by his wife Lidia), The Curtain Falls (1951), Róża Luksemburg a rewolucja rosyjska (1961), Od Marksa do Chruszczowa (1962), Koniec monolitu (1964), Granice odwagi i myślenia (1966), Zarys dziejów socjalizmu polskiego (2 vols., 1966-72), and Ludzie PPS (1967).
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