WARSAW, Poland — Former opponents and supporters of Poland’s last communist leader, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, laid him to rest with military honors Friday, while noisy protesters underscored the nation’s ambivalence about the man who imposed military rule in 1981.
President Bronislaw Komorowski and former Presidents Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski, attended the Catholic funeral Mass for Jaruzelski in Warsaw.
In a poignant moment, Walesa, Komorowski, and Kwasniewski approached the grieving family and shook hands with Jaruzelski’s widow, daughter, and grandson.
Komorowski, in brief remarks, said Jaruzelski ‘‘carried the burden of responsibility for the most difficult and probably the most dramatic decision in Poland’s history after World War II.’’
As Jaruzelski’s family later went to a cemetery to bury his ashes, protesters yelled ‘‘murderer’’ and ‘‘traitor.’’
The family’s request for a religious ceremony was unexpected. Though born to a Catholic family, Jaruzelski became a devoted supporter of Soviet-backed communism, an atheist ideology foisted on his largely Catholic homeland after World War II.
But at the end he sought solace in the faith of his childhood. Before he died at age 90, after a cancer fight and a stroke, he called for a priest for last rites, made his confession, and took communion.