Bronisław Geremek, a medievist historian and a polish politician, was born in Warsaw on March 6, 1932 and he died on July 13, 2008 in a car crash. His death had touched a lot of european people with regard to his life completely devoted to his country and to Europe, with regard to his european conviction that he had inspired with the early history ofPoland. Some people said that it was the death of the last european conscience. Indeed, I have choosen this character because of his political commitment for Poland and through this, to Europe. He completely embodies the fight for peace, freedom in the east european countries, and the reunification of the continent. He is the founding father of the « New Europe ». He was a complete european, and acommitted intellectual. He was also really linked to the french intellectual circles in Paris. He knew Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre and was deeply in the intellectual circle of the La Sorbonne university. I have also choosen him because his personal history is very associated to the polish and european history as we will see. So through his personal history, we will run accross a short andspecial part of the polish history: as an active actor of the democratic transition in Poland, he had taken a huge part in the liberation from the communist yoke in the Solidarność years.
First, B.Geremek was 7 when he spend his childhood in the Warsaw ghetto with his family. He said that it was a terrible experience, and he tried to forget the memory of this period because he wanted to forgetthis period which was out of his life experience. His school was the life and only the books. His first experience as a committed was when he had screamed in the front of the british ambassy: « Long live to Great Britain » which joined Poland against Germany. In the ghetto he met Janusz Korczak, a writer who helped children. This meeting was the beginning of his life because Korczak said him that ifhe wanted to be a writer he had to love the humain being. That was impossible after what he saw. He had choosen the commitment for the weak and the dropout people. This commitment was defined by his childhood. So he decided to choose the part of change.
When he was studying in the faculty of history in Paris, he had his frist doctrinal commitment: the Middle Age instead of the first communistInternational of Marx and Engels. In 1956 when he was in France, Poland had known a great historical change with the new power of the KOR, the hungarian revolution and the Roma treaty. B.Geremek thought that there was link between this treaty and the revolution: the Red Army in Budapest was a reminiscent of an uncertain peace because she was represented a non-democratic regime in Europe.
That'swhy in 1956, he decided to join the revisionist trend of the polish communist party. Why ? For a « psychological roots reason » and « an intellectual roots reason » in the discovery of the marxism. For the first reason, he had the feeling of the end of a special world and the marwism was the only proposal to reject the former world and rebuild a new future. He had learnt this marwism with thefrench newspare Les Lettres Françaises and through the italian culture. For the sesond reason, he found in the marxism some explanations about the connections between classes and their consciousness. B.Geremek turned to the « human aspect of the socialism » in order to reform the ideology of the power and to improve the regime. But according to him, the polish army and the army of the Warsaw Pacthad killed this hope because they participated against the Prague Spring. So in 1968, after student events in polish universities which answered to the persecution against the university (« the cleaning of the polish university » and the end of the Prague Spring), he decided to leave the polish communist party.
The real personal commitment of B.Geremek began completely in the 70's. Indeed, in...