Little League Mourns the Loss of Poland's Leaders
Little League International mourns the loss of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many of Poland's leaders in a plane crash in Russia.
The Polish people, and their political leaders, have embraced Little League in the years since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Little League's Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters (The Little League European Leadership Training Center) is located in Kutno, Poland.
President Kaczynski and his wife Maria died after their plane crashed on approach to Smolensk airport in western Russia. They were on their way to Russia to attend a World War II memorial service.
President Kaczynski was a key part of the anti-Communist movement in Poland, and was interned for a time in 1981 because of his activities. He became an advisor for the Solidarity movement headed by lech Walesa.
When Democracy came to Poland, it was the late Ed Piszek - a trustee of the Little League Foundation - and Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who led the efforts to establish a permanent Little League center in Poland. Both gentlemen were strong supporters of Solidarity and Polish-American causes.
Others who perished in the crash include:
Ryszard Kaczorowski - Poland's last president-in-exile
Aleksander Szczyglo - Head of the National Security Office
Pawel Wypych - Presidential Aide
Mariusz Handzlik - Presidential Aide
Jerzego Szmajdzinski - Deputy Parliament Speaker
Andrzej Kremer - Deputy Foreign Minister
Gen. Franciszek Gagor - Army Chief of Staff
Andrzej Przewoznik - Minister in Charge of WWII Memorials
Slawomir Skrzypek - Head of the National Bank of Poland
Janusz Kurtyka - Head of the National Remembrance Institute
Przemyslaw Gosiewski - Lawmaker
Zbigniew Wassermann - Lawmaker
Grzegorz Dolniak - Lawmaker
Janusz Kochanowski - Civil Rights Commissioner
Bishop Tadeusz Ploski - Army Chaplain