Tadeusz Mazowiecki

He led the government (1989-1991) that initiated the transition to democracy in Poland. He was born in 1927 in Płock. He took part in the Polish Round Table Talks and contributed to the first, partially-free elections. These marked the beginning of a new era in Polish history. In his speech in parliament, he said: “We split away from the history of our recent past with a thick line.” In 1991, Mazowiecki became a Special UN Envoy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After five years, he resigned from this position in protest of the great powers’ lack of reaction to the war crimes committed during the civil war in Bosnia. He died in 2013 and on the day of his funeral, a period of national mourning was declared in Poland.

Photo: KEW Archives