Statement of Senator Chuck Hagel
Honoring Ignacy Jan Paderewski
June 28, 2002

MR. HAGEL: Mr. President, today I rise to introduce a resolution recognizing the accomplishments of Ignacy Jan Paderewski as a musician, composer, statesman, and philanthropist and to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the return of his remains to Poland.

Born in Poland in 1860, Paderewski is remembered for his contributions to the arts and humanities and as one of the great men of our times. Paderewski was a brilliant and popular pianist who performed hundreds of concerts in Europe and the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, donating the proceeds to numerous charitable causes. During WW I, Paderewski played a central role in achieving Poland's independence, becoming the first Premier of Poland in 1919 until 1922 when he left politics and returned to music.

The German invasion of Poland in 1939 spurred Paderewski to return to politics where he fought against the Nazi dictatorship in World War II. By joining the exiled Polish Government he helped to mobilize the Polish forces and to urge the United States to join the Allied Forces.

Paderewski died in 1941. At the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Paderewski's remains were placed along side America's honored dead in Arlington National Cemetery, where President Roosevelt said he may lie until Poland is free.

For over a half century, the remains of Paderewski were interned at Arlington National Cemetery. He did not live to see U.S. and Allied Forces liberate Europe from the tyranny of Nazi control. Nor did he witness the subjugation of Poland during the Soviet era. It was, however, the legacy of Paderewski that inspired movements throughout Europe, including Solidarity in Poland, which led to the liberation of Europe.

In 1992, Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa, the first democratically elected President of Poland following WW II, asked U.S. President George H. W. Bush return Paderewski's remains to his native homeland.

On July 5, 1992, Paderewski's remains were interned in a crypt at the St. John Cathedral in Warsaw Poland.

So, Mr. President as we near the tenth Anniversary of this historic event, I submit this resolution and asked that it properly referred.

Click here to see the RESOLUTION.