THE LATE PRESIDENT LECH KACZYŃSKI'S KATYŃ ADDRESS
(Due to have been delivered on April 10th, 2010 at the Katyń Memorial)
Dear Representatives of the Katyn Families. Ladies and Gentlemen. In
April 1940 over twenty-one thousand Polish prisoners from the NKVD
camps and prisons were killed. The genocide was committed at Stalins
will and at the Soviet Unions highest authoritys command.
The alliance between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, the
Ribbentrop-Molotov pact and the Soviet attack on Poland on 17 September
1939 reached a terrifying climax in the Katyn massacre. Not only in the
Katyn forest, but also in Tver, Kharkiv and other known, and unknown,
execution sites citizens of the Second Republic of Poland, people who
formed the foundation of our statehood, who adamantly served the
motherland, were killed.
At the same time families of the murdered and thousands of citizens of the
eastern territory of the pre-war Poland were sent into exile deep into the
Soviet Union, where their indescribable suffering marked the path of the
Polish Golgotha of the East.
The most tragic station on that path was Katyn. Polish officers, priests,
officials, police officers, border and prison guards were killed without a
trial or sentence. They fell victims to an unspeakable war. Their murder
was a violation of the rights and conventions of the civilized world. Their
dignity as soldiers, Poles and people, was insulted. Pits of death were
supposed to hide the bodies of the murdered and the truth about the crime
The world was supposed to never find out. The families of the victims
were deprived of the right to mourn publicly, to proudly commemorate their
relatives. Ground covered the traces of crime and the lie was supposed
to erase it from peoples memory.
An attempt to hide the truth about Katyn a result of a decision taken
by those who masterminded the crime became one of the foundations
of the communists policy in post-war Poland: a founding lie of the
Peoples Republic of Poland.
It was the time when people had to pay a high price for knowing and
remembering the truth about Katyn. However, the relatives of the murdered
and other courageous people kept the memory, defended it and passed it on
to next generations of Poles. They managed to preserve the memory of Katyń
in the times of communism and spread it in the times of free and independent
Poland. Therefore, we owe respect and gratitude to all of them, especially to
the Katyń Families. On behalf of the Polish state, I offer sincere thanks to you,
that by defending the memory of your relatives you managed to save a highly
important dimension of our Polish consciousness and identity.
Katyn became a painful wound of Polish history, which poisoned relations
between Poles and Russians for decades. Lets make the Katyn wound
finally heal and cicatrize. We are already on the way to do it. We, Poles,
appreciate what Russians have done in the past years. We should follow the
path which brings our nations closer, we should not stop or go back.
All circumstances of the Katyn crime need to be investigated and revealed.
It is important that innocence of the victims is officially confirmed and that all
files concerning the crime are open so that the Katyn lie could disappear
for ever. We demand it, first of all, for the sake of the memory of the victims
and respect for their families suffering. We also demand it in the name of
common values, which are necessary to form a foundation of trust and partnership
between the neighbouring nations in the whole Europe.
Lets pay homage to the murdered and pray upon their bodies.
Glory to the Heroes! Hail their memory!