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Ryszard Kaczorowski Honorary Citizen of Warsaw

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fot. Szymon Kobusiński

Ryszard Kaczorowski, (born 26 November 1919 – died 10 April 2010)
Honorary Citizen of Warsaw since April 1999.
Resolution of the Council of the Capital City of Warsaw No X/63/99 of 12 April 1999.

Polish politician, social activist, and scout. He became a head of the Białystok chapter of the Szare Szeregi (Grey Ranks). In July 1940 he was arrested by the NKWD  [Ludowy Komisariat Spraw Wewnętrznych ZSRR- People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs], and imprisoned in Białystok and Mińsk. He was sentenced to death on 10 May 1941 by the Supreme Court of the Belarusian Soviet Republic. After a hundred days of his stay in condemned cell, the USSR Court changed his sentence to 10 years at a labour camp. Deported to Kołyma, he regained freedom in September 1942. After his release from the labour camp, he enlisted in the Polish Army in the USSR in 1942 and served in the Italian Campaign. After 1945, he stayed in England as an emigrant, where he continued his education and took an active part in Polish social life. He also had lively contacts with opposition activists in the country as an Honorary Secretary of Help for the Country Fund. He was a member of National Council of Poland, and the last President of Poland in exile. On 19 July 1989 he was appointed the President of Poland in exile, on 22 December 1990 he resigned from office and handed over the insignia of Presidential power to the newly-sworn President Lech Wałęsa in the Royal Castle in Warsaw. He was appointed to the Order of St Michael and St George as an Honorary Knight Grand Cross by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to the community of Polish emigrants in Great Britain. He was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of Pius by John Paul II.  He was awarded the Monte Cassino Cross, the Political  Prisoners’ Cross, the Franciscan Cross, and the Home Army Cross, and honoured with the Jasna Góra Confederacy Medal, as well as a Summa Cum Laude medal from the Polish Aviation Museum. He also received the “Bene Merito”  Honorary Badge in February 2010 from Minister Radosław Sikorski.
Kaczorowski died in the Smoleńsk Polish Air Force Crash, going to attend an event marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyń massacre.