Cornelia Pieper, Coordinator of German-Polish Intersocietal and Cross-Border Cooperation, issued the following statement today (28 October) on the death of former Polish Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki:
I was deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of the first democratically elected Prime Minister of a free Poland. Not only did Tadeusz Mazowiecki bravely and responsibly bring about the downfall of the Communist dictatorship in his home country of Poland, he also encouraged the citizens of East Germany to break down walls.
He paved the way for German unity and hence for amicable German-Polish relations. Together with former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher he also encouraged us as Germans, particularly East Germans, along the path to German unification.
His unforgettable efforts during the historic watershed period of 1989 were not exclusively directed at Poland; even then his thoughts and actions were shaped by a pan-European understanding. The fight for freedom and unity in Europe was his inner motivation. We Germans have much to thank him for.