Saturday, January 26, 2008

Peter J. MroczykPolish Broadcaster

Peter J. Mroczyk, 60, a Polish radio and TV broadcaster who was active in the Solidarity movement and later worked with Voice of America, died Dec. 19 of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a Warsaw hospital. He lived in Falls Church.

Mr. Mroczyk was born in Poznan, Poland. He had a British mother and grew up speaking English and Polish, which served him well in broadcasting.

After graduating from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, he began working with the Polish national radio and TV networks. He primarily delivered English-language broadcasts about events in Poland and around the world.

In 1980, Mr. Mroczyk founded and became chairman of Solidarity for Polish Radio and Television, a trade union that played an active part in political upheaval in Poland at the time. When martial law was imposed in Poland in 1981, Mr. Mroczyk was imprisoned for a year and then expelled from the country.

He first lived in England, where he worked for BBC radio, then came to the United States. Under the mantle of the U.S. Information Agency, he went on a nationwide lecture tour in 1983 to describe the political state of Eastern Europe.

In 1984, Mr. Mroczyk began working with Voice of America, delivering broadcasts in Polish to his homeland. He served as Lech Walesa's translator when the founder of the Solidarity movement appeared at the White House and Capitol in 1989. Over the years, Mr. Mroczyk was often asked to comment on Polish political developments and appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, Nightline, the McNeil-Lehrer Report and other programs.

Mr. Mroczyk later served as director of the Polish section of Radio Free Europe and, in 1994, went to Warsaw for a year to oversee the U.S. organization's Poland office. He then became a partner in an international telecommunications firm, Zephyr Telecommunications, based in New Jersey.

In 2001, Mr. Mroczyk briefly returned to Poland to attempt to start a new television network. Since then, he had worked as a consultant, primarily with international companies doing business in Poland. He became ill in March while on business and remained in Poland until his death.

His marriage to Ewa Mroczyk ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 22 years, Alicia Mroczyk of Falls Church; two children from his second marriage, Patricia Mroczyk and Joseph Mroczyk, both of Falls Church; a brother; and three sisters.

-- Matt Schudel

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