– I have the honor to announce that the Courier Medal from Warsaw in the second edition in 2024 will be awarded to Toomas Hendrik Ilves – announced Łukasz Kamiński, a member of the Courier Medal from Warsaw chapter. A gala related to this event took place at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, broadcast on TVN24 and TVN24 GO. The award was established to commemorate Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, the famous Courier from Warsaw and Warsaw Insurgent, and the values he professed. The medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to strengthening Poland’s ties with the West, maintaining good Euro-Atlantic relations, as well as disseminating ideas and attitudes close to those of the Warsaw insurgents.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves is a former diplomat and former president of Estonia.
– Both Jan Nowak-Jeroziański and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, guided by the history of their nations and a thorough analysis of current events, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union warned against the risk of a revival and intensification of imperial tendencies in Russia, which, given the passivity of the West, affects the security of Central Europe and Eastern Europe, and consequently also for the United States and its European allies – said Jerzy Koźmiński, member of the chapter of the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
During his speech, Toomas Hendrik Ilves said: “while we are here, we see that the fight against total tyranny continues.” – Just like Ronald Reagan said. You have to fight for the freedom you have already obtained. And we must remember that tyranny is coming back, added the former president of Estonia.
In this context, he mentioned Russia’s ongoing armed invasion against Ukraine.
Speaking about Poland, Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that greater responsibility for Poland must be taken “so that this country is never ignored.”
Mission to commemorate Jan Nowak-Jeziorański
As the director of the Warsaw Museum, Jan Ołdakowski, recalled earlier in an interview with TVN24, there are two institutions in Poland: Ossolineum Wrocławskie and the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which have the mission of commemorating Jan Nowak-Jeziorański.
– The Courier Medal from Warsaw commemorates Nowak for his mission. That he was always the courier between the free world and those who needed it. He was able to do exceptional things, but after his first mission, with which he came here to Warsaw to say that the West would not help Poland during the Warsaw Uprising, he understood that we cannot fight for freedom on our own – explained Ołdakowski. He added that all Nowak’s subsequent missions “were missions in which he fought to get help, so that Poland would not be alone and that we would be part of the Western community.”
“He’s the perfect hero”
Who selects the award winner and what are the criteria? – The medal is awarded by a jury which, which we were very pleased with, agreed to include last year’s winner, Daniel Fried, a long-time employee of the Department of State. The man who worked with Jan Nowak-Jeziorański to introduce Poland to NATO. This chapter, which also includes: former ambassadors to the United States, such as Koźmiński (Jerzy – ed.), the current head of Ossolineum (Łukasz Kamiński – ed.) and the former head of Ossolineum Adolf Juzwenko. These are people who appreciate Nowak’s mission and remember it. And what we all have in common is that we believe that Nowak is an ideal hero, an ideal example for today’s times – said Ołdakowski.
According to the director of MPW, the war taking place in Ukraine has shown that such missions “are still needed in the world.” – This was Nowak’s mission, so that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe could be free and self-determined. They could have been part of the European community and had support from the United States, he said.
Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, real name: Zdzisław Jeziorański (1914-2005) – politician, social activist; director of the Polish Broadcasting Station of Radio Free Europe, officer of the Polish Army and Home Army, Warsaw Insurgent, legendary courier and emissary of the Home Army Headquarters and the government of the Republic of Poland, knight of the Order of the White Eagle.
When Poland regained freedom in 1989, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański devoted all his energy to ensuring its international security and anchoring it in the transatlantic community. He worked intensively for Poland’s membership in NATO, even though initially this project may have seemed unrealistic. Thanks to the determination of the courier from Warsaw, the goal was finally achieved in 1999, thus ending the insurgent’s efforts to ensure Poland’s place among the free, independent and safe Western countries.
The first winner of the Courier Medal from Warsaw (2023) was Daniel Fried – an outstanding specialist in Sovietology, Russian studies and issues related to Central and Eastern Europe. Fried played a key role in the admission of new members to NATO, including Poland, which contributed to the stabilization of this region of Europe and the exit from the gray security zone of countries that rejected the communist yoke. Thanks to his activities, it was possible to eliminate the Cold War divisions and strengthen the transatlantic community. While performing these tasks, he worked closely with the patron of the Medal, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański.