Lech Walesa - Commanding Heights
Lech Walesa is regarded as a hero for the cause of liberty in the twentieth century. His contribution is remembered alongside other, more widely known names like Reagan, Gorbachov and Thatcher.
His activism fueled demands for free elections, and his Solidarity Party brought down the Polish communist regime, giving rise to similar movements in other countries of Eastern Europe. For his efforts, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was Poland’s president from 1990 until 1995.
Click here and here for two clips from the excellent PBS documentary Commanding Heights. Walesa’s (pronounced Walensa) role in the burying the communist regime is featured prominently.
In his My Encounter with the Rebbe interview, Mr. David Chase tells of how, before a business trip to Poland, the Rebbe gave him dollar bills to give to someone there, someone “that will deserve it, who can help the Jewish people”.
Mr. David Chase, My Encounter with the Rebbe
A holocaust survivor, Mr. Chase had deep reservations about the widespread antisemitism he he remembered from his youth in Poland. In a meeting with Walesa, he voiced this concern, to which the Polish nationalist responded: “Tfoy Buggoyes Moy Bug, your G-d is my G-d”. Set at ease, Mr. Chase gave the Rebbe’s dollar to the future president, together with an explanation about the man who sent it. He keeps the dollar in his pocket until this day.
From the transcript:
Years later, we went to Israel, by air force, by Polish Air Force One, ten ministers, I and Wałęsa. We went to-not Jerusalem but we went to Tel Aviv, to the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv and there are pictures of many, many Jewish people from different countries, including a picture of the Rebbe of blessed memory.
And we stood in front and General Arad was next to us, he was the head of the holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, at the mountain, with us. When we looked at, when Wałęsa looked at the picture, he bowed in front of the Rebbe. And Arad said, what is he doing? Mah Zeh? I said it’s very simple; that’s his Rebbe. And I said to him [He says it in Polish], this is your Rabbi…
For more on this topic, click here.
Last year’s visit with Chabad in Israel here.