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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Passing of Tadeusz Mazowiecki

We were saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a tireless and devoted advocate for human rights and democracy who persevered through imprisonment and hardship to become the first Prime Minister of a free Poland.  For decades, Mazowiecki worked to build a movement in opposition to the oppression and injustice of Communism.  When strikes broke out at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk in August 1980, Mazowiecki helped forge the lasting ties between shipyard workers and anti-communist intellectuals that propelled the Solidarity movement to become a transformational force in Polish society. 

Mazowiecki subsequently endured prison during Poland’s martial law, but he inspired millions in August 1989, when he was approved by the Sejm to become the first non-Communist Prime Minister behind the Iron Curtain in more than four decades.  His contributions to freedom and human rights live on today and will never be forgotten.  We extend our condolences to Mazowiecki’s family and all those in Poland and around the world who remain inspired by his example.