Show Hide image

Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski | Top 10 actors turned politician

Polish political twins who started out as child stars.

Lech and Jarosław Kaczyński are well-known as top-level Polish politicians, but they started out as child stars in the 1962 Polish film The Two Who Stole the Moon. The identical twins played two lazy young boys who steal the moon (which is made of gold). The fairytale film experienced a surge in popularity in the 2000s when the brothers became well-known politicians.

Lech Kaczyński was elected as a senator in 1989 following the fall of the Berlin Wall. He went on to serve as a non-party member of parliament and an advisor Polish president Lech Wałęsa during the 1990s. He later served as minister for justice and Attorney General, before founding the Law and Justice party with his brother Jarosław in 2001. In 2002, he was elected Mayor of Warsaw by a landslide, and during his time in office he controversially twice banned the Warsaw gay pride parade from taking place. He ran successfully for president in 2005, standing down as Mayor the day before his inauguration in December 2005. He was killed, along with his wife and many other Polish dignitaries, in a plane crash over Smolensk Air Base in Russia. The delegation had been travelling to Russia for an event commemorating the Katyn massacre. There were no survivors of the crash, in which 96 people died.

Jarosław Kaczyński founded the centrist Christian Democratic Porozumienie Centrum party in 1991, and served a member of parliament during the 1990s. In 2001, he jointly founded the Law and Justice party with his brother Lech, and still serves as chairman of the party. He was the party's prime ministerial candidate in the 2005 elections, but did not take up the post for fear of compromising his brother's presidential bid. However, following the resignation of the incumbent in 2006, he took up the position, but left office in 2007 after the Law and Justice party failed to win the 2007 parliamentary elections. After the death of his brother, he ran against the acting president Bronisław Komorowski, narrowly losing in the second round of voting.

The twins.

The twins as child stars in The Two Who Stole the Moon.

Next: Jesse Ventura

Back to list

Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.