Zdzislaw Rurarz 

Zdzislaw Rurarz, an economist, was a principal economic adviser to Poland's communist leader Edward Gierek in seventies.

After Gierek's removal,  Rurarz was sent to Tokyo as a Polish ambassador to Japan. 

After the Martial Law was imposed in Poland on December 13, 1981, Zdzislaw Rurarz requested and was  granted political asylum in the U.S.

On Christmas Eve Rurarz told embassy personnel that his family was going to attend a school Christmas party. They slipped out and walked to the U.S. Embassy, where they asked U.S. Ambassador Mike Mansfield for asylum.  

Their defection was kept secret for 30 hours until they were aboard a U.S.-bound jet.

At the time of his defection, Mr. Rurarz had released a statement saying:

"I can no longer represent the present regime, which denies the fundamental rights of the Polish people. There is freedom in the United States, and I will carry on in the struggle against the military regime in Poland."

He died on January 2, 2007 at his home in Reston, Virginia at the age of 76.


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