When asked about his good relationship with Germany, the former Auschwitz prisoner said: “If someone had told me in 1941, while I was standing on the parade ground in Auschwitz, that I would have German friends one day, I would have called him mad.” But several decades later, Bartoszewski was considered in Germany as one of the people who had worked hardest for this friendship.
As if by miracle, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski survived Auschwitz, then joined the underground Polish Home Army, fought in the Warsaw Uprising and helped to rescue thousands of Jews. After the war, he worked as a freelance journalist and was frequently arrested by the communists. He supported the Catholic opposition and the trade union movement Solidarność. After 1989, he was twice made foreign minister. Despite his advanced age, he was active right to the end, most recently as an adviser to Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz and government coordinator for German-Polish relations.