Members of the European Parliament signed a book of remembrance in honour Bronislaw Geremek, Polish MEP and founding member of the Solidarity trade union, who has died in a car crash at the age of 76.
Tributes poured in from across Europe for the scholar of medieval history, who was a legendary figure in the anti-communist opposition and in the post-communist era served as foreign minister between 1997 and 2000.
British Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson said, “Bronislav’s named will be etched on Europe’s memory for many years to come. He will be missed not only for his political skills, he will be missed also for his humanism, his sense of humour and for his sometimes mischievous smile.”
In a life packed with achievement, Geremek was one of the leaders of round-table talks that helped pave the way for elections in 1989 that signalled a peaceful end to the communist regime in Poland and ushered the Solidarity movement into power.
Geremek described the talks as the “ nonviolent passage from the totalitarian regime to democratic liberties.” A Jew born in Warsaw, Geremek survived the Holocaust, escaping the Warsaw ghetto at the age of 11, he remained in hiding until the end of the war. His father died at Auschwitz.