The Polish and German presidents were among those paying their final respects to Wladyslaw Bartoszewski. The Auschwitz survivor and former foreign minister of Poland died last month aged 93.
Top European officials paid tribute to Wladyslaw Bartoszewski at a ceremony held Monday at a cathedral in the Polish capital Warsaw. The historian, writer and moral authority in Poland passed away on April 24.
"A former prisoner of Auschwitz and Stalinist prisons, he conveyed the truth about crimes carried out by totalitarian, Hitler and Stalinist regimes," Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski told mourners.
A former inmate of the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, Bartoszewski was a member of the underground resistance during World War Two and helped save Jews from the Holocaust. For that, he received the Righteous Among the Nations honor. After the war he worked as a journalist and was frequently arrested by the communist government. When Poland became a democracy, he served two stints as foreign minister.
German president's tribute
Germany's President Joachim Gauck (pictured above) paid tribute to Bartoszewski's efforts towards reconciliation following World War Two.
"As Germans we bid farewell to a person who held out a hand to us at a time when this gesture was met with strong reservations from both of our countries' people," Gauck said. "We bid farewell to a friend whose closeness to us was and is an undeserved gift, for which we are infinitely thankful."
European Council President Donald Tusk, a former prime minister of Poland, said Bartoszewski inspired respect.
"He was 100 percent a decent person and at the same time followed his common sense," Tusk said.
Following the funeral ceremony, Bartoszewski was buried with state honors at the Powazki military cemetery in Warsaw.
se/bk (AFP, AP, dpa)