The late Polish author's work bears witness to the worst of the 20th century without surrendering its human sympathy
Simple language, dark conclusions … The book of condolence for Tadeusz Różewicz is displayed at Wroclaw's City Hall. Photograph: Maciej Kulczynski/EPA
Tadeusz Różewicz, who has died at the age of 92, was one of the great European "witness" poets whose own lives were directly affected by the seismic events of the 20th century. "My decimated generation is now departed and dying, duped and disillusioned," he said soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He saw the forgetting of history as a disaster, "the falling of tears on the stock exchange" as he wrote in a poem of 1994.