WARSAW, Poland -- Rescue officials were searching Monday for the body of Jan Litynski, a Polish communist-era dissident and democracy-era politician who drowned in a river while trying to save a dog. He was 75.
His death was first announced by Eugeniusz Smolar, another former democracy activist from the Solidarity era.
Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said Monday that police are searching for Litynski's body in the Narew River in the area around Pultusk, a town north of Warsaw.
Litynski had entered the river trying to save a dog that had been on ice and had fallen into the water, and Litynski's wife witnessed his drowning, Ciarka said. There was no information about the fate of the dog.
Litynski was engaged in a student protest movement against the communist authorities in 1968. He later joined a 1970s civic movement, the Workers’ Defense Committee, which was a precursor to the Solidarity trade union and democracy movement of the 1980s, to which he also belonged.
During the communist era he was arrested multiple times and was interned during the martial law crackdown imposed in 1981, according to the Rzeczpospolita daily.
Litynski was a participant in the Round Table talks of 1989 that paved a peaceful transition from communism to a market economy and democracy, and went on to be a lawmaker. He was an adviser to former President Bronislaw Komorowski.
He was being remembered in Poland on Monday as a good and erudite man who had done much to serve the country.