There are people who, no matter which emotions they arouse in others, become the point of reference for the contemporaries.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki was such a person.
When met personally for the first time, he seemed to be humble, withdrawn, reserved and distrustful. But when you started to talk to him about his passion and even a part of his personality – about Poland – he became enthusiastic and open – ready to discuss and defend his views.
We owe to him emotions connected with August days of 1989, when we were observing in disbelief how the government was being created under his leadership. He was a rare example of a strong personality able to cooperate with other people who were equally strong, let me mention for instance Jacek Kuroń or Leszek Balcerowicz.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki led us to democracy. There has never been another government so consistent in reforms. In Krzyżowa, he indicated a new course of the relationships with Germany, he opened the way towards the European Union. He decentralized Poland by introducing local authorities. Under his leadership, Leszek Balcerowicz was creating the framework of market economy.
There have been many prime ministers after 1989, Mazowiecki was one of a kind.
As a political leader, he taught us modern patriotism – a non-insurgent and prostate one, based on understanding, compromise and the search for the things which connect us, not divide. Even when Polish politics was rotting because of populism he stood out with his prudence, consistency in serving the country and he served Poland right to the end as the adviser of the President of the Republic of Poland.
He covered a long way of serving Poland and always treated politics as ideological mission, never as the realization of his ambitions. His death is an irreparable loss, we have lost a great Pole.
I remember a meeting in a university lecture hall, when announcement of Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s speech was welcomed with applause. The Prime Minister smiled in a way typical for him and said: “Thank you for warm welcome. I wonder if you will applaud me when I say what I have to say and finish.” Mr. Tadeusz – we are applauding you.
Translation: Anita Stradomska.