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    Alicja Kapuscińska, the wife of the most notable Polish reporter, passes away

    Alicja Kapuscinńka was born on March 4th, 1933, exactly a year after her future husband Ryszard Kapuscinski. She first studied history at the University of Warsaw, and later moved to the Medical University of Warsaw to become a paediatrician. After her husband’s death, she supported initiatives celebrating the memory of Kapusciński. She died on Monday, March 7th, at the age of 89.

    Alicja and Ryszard met in 1951, at the History Faculty of Warsaw University. She desired to study medicine, but at the time she wasn’t allowed to choose. She got a referral to study pedagogy, where she picked the focus on history. That’s where she met her future husband. Their meet-cute was described by Wiktor Osiatynski on the website: Alicja was standing with her friends in front of the faculty, smoking. Approaching them, Ryszard wagged his finger at her. She took it to heart and quit smoking. Something sparkled between them and a year later they got married, and in 1953 their daughter Zofia was born.

    The journalist managed to convince Alicja to take up medicine, probably pulling a few strings to make it happen. Alicja started studying at the Medical University of Warsaw (WUM – Warszawski Uniwersytet Medyczny) and later got a job at the Paediatric Hospital of WUM.

    She specialised in treating celiac disease, an illness caused by an incorrect reaction of the immune system when consuming gluten. In the 80s, she participated in research led by Tadeusz Chorzelski on antibodies for celiac disease. In 1988 she defended her doctorate dissertation.

    The Kapuscinskis lived together peacefully up until Ryszard died in 2007. She compared the situation to his countless journeys.

    “Our entire life was like this. He travelled far away, for long and with no way of reaching out. In the 50s he couldn’t send a letter from Africa; I could only go to PAP [Polish Press Agency] and read his curt telegrams. He was leaving, while I was waiting and doing my stuff. I believed nothing would happen to him. He got me used to it, and we lived together for over 50 years. This is just another journey he went on,” she summed up in an interview with PAP.

    After Ryszard’s death, she supported ideas celebrating her husband’s work such as the foundation “Examinations and Education Center of Ryszard Kapuscinski.” She’s also the honorary patron of the Ryszard Kapuscinski’s Award for the best reportage.

    Alicja Kapuscinski died on Monday, March 7th.


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