In 2000, Dr Bronislaw Geremek received the Freedom of Speech Award. He received the award for his major contribution to the process of making Poland a democracy. In addition, he also received it for his example as an advocate of Freedom of Speech.
More about Dr Geremek
Bronislaw Geremek was born in 1932 in Warsaw, Poland. As an 11-year-old boy, he fled the infamous Warsaw ghetto with his mother. His father was a rabbi in the Polish capital. He was murdered in Auschwitz concentration camp. Mother and son survived the terror of the Nazis. After World War II, Geremek studied in Paris, among other places. He gained great respect as a professor of History of Culture specialising in community life in the Middle Ages. Paris would remain an important city in his life. Between 1960 and 1965, Dr Geremek taught at the Sorbonne and was director of the Polish Cultural Institute in Paris. Since 1950, Dr Geremek was a member of the Communist Party, but withdrew when the remaining Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968.
In 1980, Dr Geremek joined the rebellious dock workers in Gdansk. He thus became involved in the founding and building of the resistance movement and trade union Solidarność. A year later, communist general Jaruzelski banned all Solidarność activities. Dr Geremek became an enemy of the state and was imprisoned. He was released in 1982, but within a year Dr Geremek was imprisoned again. After this, he became president of the Freedom Union and a member of the Sejm, the parliament. From 1997 to 2000, Dr Geremek was Minister of Foreign Affairs, and therefore closely involved in Plen's accession to NATO in 1998. Prof Geremek would become a member of the European Parliament in 2004. In 2008, he crashed while on his way to Brussels by car.
Prof Geremek received several honorary doctorates and high honours, including the Charlemagne Prize and the Grand Cross in the Order of the White Eagle.
Positions and articles
● Professor of History of Culture (1945 - 1965)
● Member of the Communist Party (1950 - 1968)
● Director of the Polish Institute in Paris (1960 - 1965)
● Co-founder of resistance movement and trade union Solidarność (1980 - 1981)
● President of the Freedom Union (1990 - 1997)
● Member of the Sejm (1989 - 2001)
● Foreign Minister (1997 - 2000)
● Member of the European Parliament (2004 - 2008)
He wrote the following books:
● 'L'Arrivée des Tsiganes en Italie: de l'assistance à la répression', in: Pauperismo et assistenza negli antichi stati Italiani, Cremona 1982, pp. 27-45
● 'Marc Bloch, historien en résistent', in: Annales ESC 5 (1986), pp. 1091-1092
● The Cain sign. The image of the poor and vagabonds in European literature from the 15th to the 17th century. Anthos/Hadewijch, 1992
Utrecht University has organised the Geremek lecture every year since 2009. This is an ode to Prof Geremek's political and scientific work.
Other laureates from 2000
Dame Cicely Saunders
Monkombu S. Swaminathan
Get in touch with Dr. Arbour