Magazine June 21, 2010, Issue

Prizewinner

(Leon Neal/AFP)
A chat with Lech Walesa in the home of the Nobel peace prize

Oslo, Norway

Lech Walesa sits in the Grand Hotel, here in the Norwegian capital: This is the hotel in which Nobel peace laureates traditionally stay, when they pick up their prize. But Walesa did not stay here. He did not come to Oslo at all when he won in 1983.

There were a couple of reasons for this. First, he did not want to come to this swank Western capital and “sip champagne” while many of his fellow democrats were in jail and hungry. And second: The Communist government might have prevented him from returning to Poland. As he puts it

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