The repeat funeral Mass for Walentynowicz in her hometown of Gdansk took place after her body was exhumed last week and DNA tests confirmed that it had been switched with another female victim of the crash in Russia that claimed 96 lives, including that of Poland’s president.
Walentynowicz was a fierce opponent of the communist regime. She was fired in 1980 from a Gdansk shipyard job as punishment for her political activism, which sparked workers’ strikes that led to the formation of the Solidarity freedom movement under Lech Walesa. Today she remains a national symbol of the ultimately successful anti-communist fight, though a feud with Walesa resulted in her being overshadowed by him.
The mix-up of her body with another person has revived both deep divisions within Polish society and distrust of historic foe Russia.