Courtesy Reuters


Musician, Patriot, Statesman

IGNACE PADEREWSKI celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday on November 6.

His career as a musician is so well known, he is so universally recognized as an artist of genius, that it is hardly necessary even to refer to that side of him in an article dedicated to the period in which he suddenly sprang into fame as a statesman, except in so far as this is needful in order to explain how and to what degree his musical career assisted him to help his country at a most critical period of her history. Most of those who never came into contact with him during the Paris Conference, or in Warsaw during his term of office as Prime Minister, are probably unaware to what extent his international reputation as an artist enabled him to obtain his first personal contacts with statesmen in Washington, London and Paris. But above all things it was the force of his own remarkable personality, his candid faith in justice and righteousness, and resulting from these his powers of persuasion, which gave him such outstanding influence and helped so greatly to decide the fortunes of Poland both at Paris and Warsaw during the difficult days of the first intoxication of freedom, a time perilous not only for Poland but also for the other lands which received liberty at the greatly and very unjustly abused Paris Conference.

I write this advisedly. It is clear to anyone with a knowledge of the history and geography of Central and South Eastern Europe that, though some injustices were certainly committed in the various treaties made at Paris, these injustices literally weigh as nothing in the balance in comparison with those that were removed. The restoration of Poland as an independent country with free access to the sea is probably the best example of this assertion. And this was very largely the work of Paderewski.

It is not too much to say that the Polish nation, which attained the status of an important Power in

Loading, please wait...

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.