Dignitaries gather for funeral of business tycoon Jan Kulczyk
PR dla Zagranicy
Former Polish president Lech Wałęsa was one of dozens of dignitaries to descend on Poznań on Wednesday for the funeral of Jan Kulczyk, the most prosperous businessman of Poland's transition to a free market economy.
Guests at the funeral of Jan Kulczyk, St Joseph's Church, Poznań. Emerging from the door is Minister of Culture Małgorzata Omilanowska. Also pictured is First Lady Anna Komorowska and former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski.Photo: PAP/Marek Zakrzewski
Kulczyk died unexpectedly after a minor operation in Vienna on 29 July, a month after celebrating his 65th birthday.
“Daddy, where are you?” his daughter Dominika Kulczyk asked during her funeral address at Poznań's Church of St Joseph.
“You have surprised us once again.”
Lech Wałesa, a friend of Kulczyk's for many years, was likewise visibly moved during his own address.
“Every year of our friendship convinced me of how much good you did,” he said.
“Is anyone able to replace you? I doubt it.”
The funeral was also attended by former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former prime minister and erstwhile president of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek as well as the composers Krzysztof Penderecki and Jan A.P Kaczmarek, and Minister of Culture Małgorzata Omilanowska.
Kulczyk, who began his career in 1988 as Poland's sole dealer of Volkswagen and Audi cars, rose to become the country's wealthiest businessman.
At the time of his death, his empire included global investments in oil and gas, as well as recently made investments in green energy.
His estate was recently valued at PLN 16 billion (EUR 3.8 billion). He made a number of significant donations to public investments, including the recently opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
His 34-year-old son Sebastian was made Chairman of the Board of Kulczyk Investments in 2014. (nh/rk)