Daniel Passent, a 1980 Nieman Fellow, journalist, writer, blogger and podcaster, died on Feb. 14, 2022*, in Poland at the age of 83.
A well-known figure in his country, Passent was long associated with the Polish weekly Polityka, where for six decades he wrote weekly columns on a range of political, social, economic, international and cultural issues. He began publishing his political blog “En passant” on Polityka’s website in 2006.
In 2012, he started hosting the “Goście Passenta” (Passenta’s Guests) program on Radio TOK FM. He additionally teamed up with his daughter Agata Passent, also a journalist, author and a Harvard University graduate, to co-host “Passent & Passent: My First Time,” a podcast in which he discussed his life, values, work and journalism in Poland.
Passent was born in Stanisławów, Poland, (now known as Ivano-Frankivsk and a part of western Ukraine) on April 28, 1938. As a Jewish child growing up during World War II, he was hidden for protection and saved from the Holocaust.
While an economics student at the University of Warsaw, he wrote for the magazine Sztandar Młodych. He also produced satirical material for cabarets and a student standup comedy group.
In addition to attending the University of Warsaw, Passent studied at Saint Petersburg State University, Princeton University and at Harvard University as Nieman Fellow during the 1979-1980 academic year. He was married to Marta Dobromirska-Passent.
In the early 1990s, he was editor of The World Paper, an international affairs supplement produced in Boston that was published in various languages and distributed in more than two dozen countries.
In 1997, he was named as Poland’s ambassador to Chile.
Passent published more than a dozen books on topics ranging from his coverage of the Vietnam War and the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich to Polish tennis player Wojciech Fibak and his work in Chile. His last book, “In 80 years around Poland,” is a selection of his writings about journalism and Polish history. The book was published on Passent’s 80th birthday in 2018. Passent also translated books by James Baldwin and Martin Luther King Jr. into Polish.
His honors include the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Gold Cross of Merit.
*Editor’s note: Polityka articles may be read in English and other languages using Google Chrome. A button on the top right section of the home page allows readers to choose their preferred language.