Polish historian Karol Modzelewski, former dissident, dies at 81
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish historian Karol Modzelewski, a former dissident and political prisoner, died in Warsaw on Sunday at the age of 81.
Karol Modzelewski, pictured in 2014. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Rybczyński
He was one of the leading figures in the country’s democratic opposition during the communist era.
In March 1968, he was among those who initiated landmark student protests at the University of Warsaw.
In the early 1980s, Modzelewski served as the first press spokesman of Poland’s Solidarity trade union and freedom movement.
Imprisoned and interned several times under communism, he spent a total of eight-and-a-half years behind bars.
After the fall of communism, he worked as a professor at the University of Wrocław in southwestern Poland from 1992 to 1994 and at the University of Warsaw from 1994.
He was a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and its vice-president from 2007 to 2010.
Modzelewski focused on the Middle Ages in his work as a historian. He was a senator from 1989 to 1991.
He held state awards including the Knight's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order and the Order of the White Eagle, Poland’s highest state decoration.