After completing his secondary education, Maciej Płażyński moved to Slesia where he worked for a year as a builder on the construction of the Katowice steelworks. He then returned to Danzig and took a degree in law. As a student he joined the Catholic opposition movement Mloda Polska (Young Poland). In 1980, in the wake of the Danzig strikes, he helped found the NZS University Students Movement. He then joined the underground democratic opposition. In 1983 he founded the “Swietlik” Services Cooperative, which gave work and shelter to the Danzig opposition leaders, including the current Prime Minister Donald Tusk. A friend recalls: “In those exceptionally difficult years, Maciej gave a hand to a huge number of people. Without any ulterior motive, simply because he was a man with a big heart and great courage. He had a very unusual character, he was tireless and managed to put up with and overcome a great deal of harassment from the regime. In 1987 he was chairman of the Lech Badkowski Political Thinkers Club, whose members included the conservative and liberal area of the opposition in Danzig. In 1989 he was a founding member of the Liberal Party’s economic association and a year later he joined the centre-right Republican Coalition. In 1990 the prime minister Mazowiecki appointed him governor of Danzig. When, in 1996, the new left-wing premier Cimoszewicz revoked his nomination, a series of protests broke out and thousands of politically oriented people took to the streets in Danzig. In 1997 he was elected a Member of Parliament in the ranks of the party linked to Solidarność (AWS) and was nominated President of the Parliament. On 19 January 2001 along with Andrzej Olechowski and Donald Tusk he founded the Civil Platform Party (PO), he was again elected an MP and was the first chairman of the PO. In 2003 he left the PO for differences of opinion about programming. In the 2005 elections he stood for the Senate as an independent candidate, obtaining the majority of votes (151,000) in the Danzig constituency. On 27 October 2005 he was elected Vice President of the Senate. Politically speaking, he moved gradually closer to President Lech Kaczyński’s party (PiS), without ever formally joining it. In the early elections of 2007 he stood as an independent candidate in the ranks of the PiS, and was elected to parliament for the third time. Since May 2008 he had been chairman of the Polish emigration organization Polish Community. Maciej Płażyński was married and leaves three children.