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President Kennedy Honors Paderewski

May 9, 1963 - “You have to be a free man to be a great artist,” President Kennedy said today at the dedication of a marker at the grave of Ignace Jan Paderewski (pictured in 1920), the pianist and statesman. The onetime Polish Premier died in New York on June 29, 1941. His body is in the Battleship Maine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. The President’s remark was likely intended to contrast with Premier Khrushchev’s recent attacks on Soviet artists. Paderewski was buried at Arlington, the President said, with the understanding “that when Poland would one day be free again, he would be returned to his native country.” That day has not come for the Communist-controlled land, Mr. Kennedy said, “but I believe that in this land of the free that Paderewski rests easily.” “We are proud to have him here,” Mr. Kennedy said. When Paderewski died, Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. After World War II, a Communist Government took power. Paderewski’s body is in a crypt in the Maine Memorial. Because a non-American may not be buried in a national cemetery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the arrangement.

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