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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Polish lookalikes limber up for congress
Stalin and ElizabethTaylor attend
Liz Taylor meets Stalin in Warsaw
Ordinary Poles bearing a strong resemblance to the good and the great met at the weekend in Warsaw to sharpen up their act ahead of a showpiece event scheduled for August.

Stalin, Castro, Gorbachev and Liz Taylor wannabes were among the guests at a Warsaw casino.

A man purporting to be Poland's President, Aleksander Kwasniewki, told Polish television: "I am unique, the original item."

However he was upstaged by a second double, even "more identical" to the real thing.

Looking and feeling like Kirk Dougllas
"He is my hero" - Kirk Douglas lookalike
In some cases the resemblance is more than skin-deep.

"I too have an impulsive character. I like to be in charge. I like to be obeyed," says Waldemar Zalewski, as he is known in real life. But for now he is posing as a very credible Joseph Stalin.

Almost real

Fidel Castro's lookalike is here as well, telling the camera how to bring Cuba "a better tomorrow today".

And the former Polish leader, Nobel laureate Lech Walesa, talks of setting up a new party "for vegetarians".

Teresa Rauner explains the difference between herself and her chosen subject, Liz Taylor.

Polish communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski
Military strongman Jaruzelski puts in appearance
"She had eight husbands, I just have one. I have no intention of changing my marital status, I'm fine as I am," she says.

Poland's best-known conductor, Jerzy Maksymiuk, is seen teaching the unlikely combination of Stalin and Taylor how to hold the baton.

"But mind you don't poke someone's eye out," he says, demonstrating his technique.

Positive hero

Meanwhile a certain Zdzislaw Kula reveals his resemblance to - and his reverence for - Kirk Douglas. "My original is my hero - my positive hero," Kula says.

Doubles from all over Europe are to meet on 24 August in the northwestern Polish town of Miedzyzdroje for the first-ever European congress of doppelgangers.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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