ADL Mourns the Passing of Polish Businessman and Philanthropist Aleksander Gudzowaty

New York, NY, February 14, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mourns the passing of Aleksander Gudzowaty, a Polish businessman and philanthropist who became a leading advocate for peace, tolerance and respect and who was the driving force behind a landmark monument to tolerance in Jerusalem.

Gudzowaty, 75, who died Thursday morning in a Warsaw hospital, was in his professional life a highly successful businessman in international trade.  But he also dedicated much of his personal life to promoting his vision of a world of tolerance and respect, particularly in Israel. 

Gudzowaty was an active supporter and sponsor of the Peace Center established by Israeli President Shimon Peres and served for more than a decade as one of its governors.  He was the founder and sponsor of the Crescendum Est Polonia Foundation, which provides scholarships for highly gifted young artists and scientists.  

In 2006, he conceived, designed and commissioned the Tolerance Monument on the Armon Hanatziv hill as a gift to the city of Jerusalem.  For his commitment to this project, Mr. Gudzowaty was honored by ADL in 2009 in New York City, where he was presented with a traditional Jewish tzedakah box for his outstanding leadership in promoting tolerance and respect.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, a longtime acquaintance and friend of Mr. Gudzowaty, issued the following statement:

It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that we mark the passing of Aleksander Gudzowaty, a man who witnessed the painful years of World War II in his native Poland and, having lived through that terrible period, dedicated the remainder of his life to promoting a better world where people accept and celebrate diverse religions and cultures.

Aleksander was a man of the world concerned about how we can help make it a better place for all people.  When we honored him in 2009, he spoke of the importance of standing up for respect and speaking out against intolerance.  One of his life’s dreams was realized when he conceived of and constructed the Tolerance Monument, a beacon of respect visible to the people of many faiths that visit the holy city of Jerusalem.  The monument was an expression of his great love for the city of Jerusalem, as well as his dream that that international city could serve as a beacon on the hill for tolerance and respect the world over.

We shared with Aleksander a similar dream of a world without hate.  While he did not see that dream come to pass in his lifetime, his work in promoting respect and peace will be remembered and respected for many years to come.  We will always hold in our hearts an abiding love, affection and appreciation for his efforts as well as his infectious warmth and graciousness of character that made him a true mensch.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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