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Zalewski (feminine: Zalewska, plural: Zalewscy) is a Polish-language surname. Alternate spellings include Zelewski, Zaleski, Zeleski, Zalewska, Zalescy and Zaller

The form Zalewski is a mutated version of Zaleski. This mutation was the consequence of many regional influences and the creation of various derivates to suit the local nomenclature, e.g. Chotomow / Chotomowski / Chotomoski. The original form Zaleski was derived from a place called Zalesie or Zalas, which literally means "an area close to a forest, behind a forest". It is difficult to assess which regions were primarily connected with it, because of the significant number of villages by such names.

Another possible etymology for one of the forms of Zalewski surname comes from a topographic name for someone who lived by a flood plain, bay, or any other small body of water. Two locations that this may be connected to are Zalew in Sieradz voivodeship or Zalewo in Olsztyn voivodeship.[1]

The Germanised version of this surname is Salewski and Saleski, usually found in the Silesia region.

An early form of this surname was first noted in the year 1370. Many families from different classes and with different background used this surname. Several famous people have the surname Zalewski or a variant of it:

  • August Zaleski - Polish Politician of the early Twentieth century
  • Erich von dem Bach Zelewski - SS-Obergruppenführer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski
  • Karol Zalewski, Polish athlete
  • Ksawery Zalewski - Polish diplomat, part of the Piłsudski's Prometheism government, worker of consulate in French Lille (1925–1926) and Georgian Tbilisi (1926–1936). Later titular consul in Tbilisi.
  • Michał Zalewski - Polish "White Hat" Hacker, computer security expert.
  • Aran Zalewski - Australian field hockey player.
  • Ted Zalewski - American author and actor, historical interpreter of Theodore Roosevelt


  1. ^ Citation: Zalewski Name Meaning and History


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