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Polish-born ex-US ambassador to Poland dies

Polish-born ex-US ambassador to Poland dies

Nicholas Rey, who fled Poland as a toddler after German troops invaded in 1939 and later returned to Warsaw as U.S. ambassador, died Wednesday at age 70, his son said.
Michael Rey said his father died of lung cancer at his home in the Georgetown district of Washington.
Rey was 20 months old when his parents fled their native Poland on Sept. 5, 1939, four days after German forces invaded neighboring Poland and began World War II.
Michael Rey said his father's parents, who as members of the Polish intelligentsia expected to become victims of the Nazi forces, left in a diplomatic convoy to Austria. Rey said his grandfather had gained permission from the U.S. ambassador, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Jr., for him, his wife and their infant son to join the diplomats.
Fifty-four years later, when Nicholas Rey hung his photograph in the U.S. embassy as the ambassador, he hung it beneath Biddle's photo, Michael Rey said.
Former President Bill Clinton appointed Rey, who became ambassador to Poland in 1993. He had served since 1990 as vice chairman and director of the Polish-American Enterprise Fund, a $240 million federal program to stimulate private enterprise in Poland as it emerged into a democracy from its communist past.
Rey was ambassador when Poland, a former member of the Soviet bloc, was chosen to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. His tenure also included the solidification of Poland's turn toward full democracy with successful elections won by the Solidarity organization over the Democratic Left Alliance in an upset.
He became a U.S. citizen in 1946.
Before his Polish-American Enterprise Fund directorship, Rey was a managing director at the Wall Street firms Bear, Stearns and Co. and Merrill Lynch.
Rey is survived by his wife, Louisa, a daughter and two sons.


Updated : 2021-06-14 08:49 GMT+08:00