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Statement by Senator Obama on the Death of Bronislaw Geremek

July 14, 2008

Chicago, IL - Bronislaw Geremek was a hero of the Solidarity movement that brought a peaceful end to Communist control of Poland. His efforts to bring together workers and intellectuals created a powerful force for non-violent change in Poland, which became a prototype for other Central and East European countries behind the Iron Curtain. Geremek lived through some of the worst periods of recent history--he was a Holocaust survivor and he was imprisoned after the Communist authorities imposed martial law in 1981. Through it all, he never lost faith in the ability of ordinary citizens to create positive change, even under the most adverse circumstances. After 1989, Geremek championed Poland's return to Europe, first from parliament and then as foreign minister. He led Poland's negotiations to join the European Union, and he signed the documents that formally marked Poland's accession to NATO, stating at the time "Poland forever returns to where she has always belonged: the free world." His life is an example of what can be achieved by courage, sacrifice, and perseverance. His legacy is a Poland that is free, independent, and permanently integrated into the community of democratic nations.

Barack Obama, Statement by Senator Obama on the Death of Bronislaw Geremek Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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