Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland's First Post-Communist Leader, Dies at 86

Fought Anti-Semitism and Stood By Israel

getty images

By JTA

Published October 29, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first post-Communist prime minister, was being remembered by the Jewish world for fighting anti-Semitism and as a friend of Israel. Mazowiecki, a former journalist, died Monday in Warsaw. He was 86.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of a great statesman and friend,” Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, said in a statement issued Monday.

The Jewish community, Kadlcik said, “will remember him as a symbol of dialogue and extraordinary wisdom and goodness in difficult and rebellious times.”

He noted that Mazowiecki had long been an activist for human rights and against discrimination. As early as 1960, Kadlcik said, Mazowiecki had written that “the fight against anti-Semitism is not any merit or any humanitarian gesture of mercy, it is not only a struggle for the dignity of the Jews, but as much a struggle for our own dignity. It is a struggle for the dignity of all.”

The World Jewish Congress also paid tribute to Mazowiecki as “one of the architects of the modern, democratic Poland and as a friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

It was under the Mazowiecki government that Poland re-established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1990 and opened Polish airports for Jews leaving the then-Soviet Union.

In a statement, WJC President Ronald Lauder said, “The Jews are grateful to Tadeusz Mazowiecki for his staunch defense of their rights as Poland emerged from Communism, and for his help in resolving the crisis of the Carmelite convent on the grounds of Auschwitz in the early 1990s. He will also be remembered for speaking out against anti-Semitism clearly and unequivocally and exposing war crimes as special rapporteur for human rights in the former Yugoslavia. May his memory be for a blessing.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.