Second farewell to Poland’s ‘mother of Solidarity’

Mourners yesterday bid a
second farewell to Anna Walentynowicz, a figure with Poland’s Solidarity movement whose body was mistakenly buried in the wrong grave after her death in a 2010 plane crash.

The repeat funeral Mass for Ms Walentynowicz in her hometown of Gdansk took place after her body was
exhumed last week and DNA tests confirmed that it had been switched with another female victim of the crash in Russia that claimed 96 lives, including that of Poland’s president.

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A welder, crane operator and single mother, Ms Walentynowicz was a fierce opponent of the Communist regime.

She was fired in 1980 from a Gdansk shipyard job as punishment for her political activism, which sparked workers’ strikes that led to the formation of the Solidarity freedom movement under the leadership of Lech Walesa. She remains a national symbol of the anti-communist fight, though a feud with Mr Walesa resulted in her being overshadowed by him.

Speaking over her coffin, mourners said they were
bidding farewell to the “mother of Solidarity” who consistently fought for workers’ rights.