Jaruzelski funeral set for Friday

Jaruzelski funeral set for Friday

Poland’s last communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski will be buried at midday on Friday at Warsaw’s Powazki Military Cemetery, city hall has confirmed.

Generał Wojciech Jaruzelski fot.Radek Pietruszka/PAP/EPA

Generał Wojciech Jaruzelski fot.Radek Pietruszka/PAP/EPA

Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz approved requests by the general’s family on Tuesday morning, said local government spokesman Bartosz Milczarczyk.

“All his life, my father stressed that he was above all a soldier, and that he would like to be laid to rest among those who were closest to him,” said Monika Jaruzelska, the general’s daughter of her father who died on Sunday.

However, the state-funded Institute for National Remembrance (IPN), which investigates historical crimes against Polish citizens, is opposed to the burial at the historic Powazki Cemetery.

“We cannot bury a communist dictator at Powazki while also honouring victims of the communist system there,” IPN chairman Dr Lukasz Kaminski told the Rzeczpospolita daily.

The request to have the general buried at Powazki, Warsaw’s most prestigious place of burial, was backed by veterans of the 1st Polish Army, a formation created by Moscow in 1944 and made up of those who had been victimised by the Soviet regime.

Jaruzelski, who was born into a noble family, was deported with his parents to Siberia as a class enemy after the Red Army invaded Poland in 1939.

He finished the war at the rank of lieutenant, after advancing with the Soviets as far as Berlin.

Meanwhile, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has heaped praise on the late general.

“He was an outstanding man,” Gorbachev told Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency “He never had an easy fate, but he did a lot for Poland.”

„He was a soldier, he fought with us against fascism and he maintained his choice of socialism to the end,” Gorbachev said.

Lech Walesa, leader of the Solidarity trade union that was brought to its knees when Jaruzelski declared martial law in 1981, has said he is unable to say the general was unequivocally a traitor.

However, he added that although, “I lost several battles for a free Poland with him, in the end I won the war, so I’m satisfied.”

General Wojciech Jaruzelski died on Sunday aged 90 after a long illness. (nh/pg)

– See more at: http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/172055,Jaruzelski-funeral-set-for-Friday#sthash.irrLnHvc.dpuf

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