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The Warsaw Voice » Society » May 7, 2015
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From the Editor-in-chief
May 7, 2015   
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For some of us, life can be an obstacle course, but for Władysław Bartoszewski the obstacles were particularly difficult.

As a young man, he lived through World War II and the German occupation of Poland. He was an Auschwitz prisoner and an eyewitness to the Holocaust. Refusing to accept the barbarous way in which the Nazis treated Jews, Bartoszewski joined the Council to Aid Jews, established by the commanders of Poland’s underground Home Army. He fought in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. After the war, Bartoszewski was thrown in jail twice by the political police of communist Poland. He was a dissident challenging the communist authorities and was interned during martial law, which was imposed in December 1981. After communism fell in 1989, Bartoszewski was twice appointed foreign minister. He was also Poland’s ambassador to Austria and taught at several universities. He authored a number of books and articles. But above all, he helped build new and friendly relations between Poland and Germany and between Poland, Israel and the Jewish diaspora.

After he passed away in late April, Władysław Bartoszewski was widely described as a role model setting the standard in terms of moral decency. But Bartoszewski was anything but standard. He followed his own path, with culture, tradition, religion and common sense as his points of reference. He stayed true to his own value system, in which moral decency held a special place, and allowed neither friend nor foe to sway him from his principles. Bartoszewski was a friend of Poland and Poles—the best kind of friend: both faithful and critical.
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