Monday, December 18, 2006

Letter from Lech

Lech Wałęsa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize twenty-three years ago for his trade-union activism in Communist Poland. In addition to being the chairman of the Polish trade union, Solidarność, he later became president of his, now-democratic country.

Right after the Nobel Committee awarded the prize to him (through his wife), I wrote him a letter in English telling him how much I admired him and supported his cause. In return, I received this typewritten personal letter in Polish.

I tried to translate it back then with a Polish-to-English dictionary, but the translation was rather <ahem> awkward. Recently, I had a Polish friend of mine translate it for me (thanks JZ).

Dear Sir,

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your congratulations on the occasion of the Nobel Peace Award being awarded to me. The award is a result of
solidary work by many people.

Sympathetic reaction after receiving the award strengthen my firm belief in the correctness of the path taken.

At the same time, I apologize for the delay, but only now did I find some time to write back.

Best wishes,


I had always wondered who wrote that letter. Was it Lech Wałęsa himself? All I had to go by was the squiggle of a signature. After a few minutes of Googling, I found that the airport in Gdańsk was named after him and uses his signature as a logo. Allowing for a little variance, it's definitely his signature—Lech signed my letter. I also noticed that there is a "LW" in the upper left-hand corner of the letter, indicating that the letter was ostensibly from him.


FeloneousCat said...

Dude... I remember when you got that... I can't believe it has been alllll this time before you got that translated! :)

How did you get his address anyway?


plong said...

Geez, that's been so long ago, I don't remember. There was a union organizer that lived across the street from us. Maybe he got the address for me. Again, I dunno.