Benedykt Czuma is dead. The political opposition activist during the Polish People’s Republic died on November 16 at the age of 82. He was a co-founder of the underground organization “Ruch”. He also co-founded the Movement for the Defense of Human and Citizens’ Rights. After 1989, he became involved in building a free Poland. He was farewelled in the media by, among others, brother Andrzej Czuma.
The Polish Press Agency reported the death of Benedykt Czuma. The anti-communist opposition activist died on Thursday, November 16, after a battle with cancer. He was 82 years old. He died in his own home in Łódź, surrounded by his closest family.
Benedykt Czuma is dead – who was he?
Benedykt Czuma was a co-founder of the largest underground opposition organization after 1953 – “Ruch”, which was established in 1965. He also participated in the creation of the “Years Pass” declaration – a program for a free Poland. For his activities, he was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released after four years under an amnesty. He also co-founded the Movement for the Defense of Human and Citizens’ Rights. He set up a consultation and information point in his apartment and helped those repressed by the communist regime. He also organized a number of civic initiatives: a free discussion club, lectures and publishing the “Opinia” magazine. During the times of “Solidarity” he became actively involved in the construction of its structures in Łódź. He was a delegate during the 1st National Congress of Delegates of “Solidarity”. He was the editor-in-chief of “Solidarity of the Łódź Land”.
Benedykt Czuma was repressed by the communist authorities – detained many times and interned during martial law. After 1989, he became involved in building a free Poland. He co-founded ZChN and provincial structures, serving as director at the provincial office. The activist was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland in exile in 1989, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 2006 and the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity in 2016.
“He was a very brave man. He also had a rare feature – he never lied.”
Benedykt Czuma was farewelled in an interview with PAP by his brother Andrzej, who together with him founded the “Ruch” underground organization in 1965. – My brother was one of the longest-serving members of the opposition of the Polish People’s Republic. He was actually active underground for 25 years, with a break of several years, after the sentence he was sentenced to in the early 1970s. After the amnesty, he was released from prison in September 1974 and efficiently organized the Movement for the Defense of Human and Citizens’ Rights in Łódź. Later, next to Andrzej Słowik and Stefan Niesiołowski, he was one of the main people involved in the creation of Solidarity in Łódź – said Andrzej Czuma.
Recalling his brother, he added that he was a “very brave man.” – He also had a rare feature – he never lied. He is one of the few people I have ever met who is so absolutely honest and truthful, he confessed.
Benedykt Czuma’s farewell mass will take place on Tuesday, November 21, at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Łódź at 1:00 p.m. The funeral will start at 2:15 p.m. at the cemetery of St. Roch at ul. Zgierska 141.
Main photo source: Institute of National Remembrance/X