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Thursday, 13 April 2000

President pays tribute to Katyn victims

On April 13th, the 60th anniversary of the Katyn Crime, the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, paid a tribute to the officers of the Polish Army and police officers of the Second Republic, who were murdered in spring 1940, and laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the Marshal Jozef Pilsudski in Warsaw. Addressing those gathered there, President Kwasniewski said i.a.: The crime committed by the Soviet NKVD on the twenty one thousand eight hundred and fifty seven Polish officers and POWs, if this is the complete data, paralyses with its ruthlessness, callousness and inhuman cynicism. The defenceless POWs of an undeclared war were executed without trial, thus violating all international conventions and moral norms. By Stalin and his associates` order, shot were the elite of the Republic, people of various religious creed, belief and identity, Catholics, Orthodoxes, Jews, Protestants and non-believers, who were linked together by the service to the common Motherland of many nations and cultures. Our statehood, our nation, our tradition were to have been crossed out forever (...). Katyn is and will remain to be a thorn in our memory. It will be a painful charter of our common Polish-Russian history. Giving evidence of the truth and redressing the evil, we do not square up the past against ourselves. With such a message and hope we turn today to Russia and Russians. That was a crime committed by an inhuman regime, which cannot be blamed on the entire nation. Millions of Russians and people of other minorities living on the territory of the Soviet Union also fell victim to that system. In the dreadful Gulag Archipelago, the fraternity of suffering linked Poles with our eastern neighbours. We have the highest respect for those, who like Alexander Solzhenitsin or Andrei Sakharov, were bravely propagating the truth about crimes, exposing the lies of the past and speaking up for human dignity and human rights. With gratitude we remember the assistance lend us in examining the truth by people of the Russian "Memorial." We will not forget either that nobody else revealed the most tangible documents on the Katyn Crime to the world and us, but the President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin. Cemeteries of Katyn victims are being built on the Russian and Ukrainian soil. We are building cemeteries and errecting monuments not to divide our nations, but to pay homage to those murdered, so that the memory of their suffering be a never subsiding warning, a dramatic admonition for all of us, for Europe and the world, so that such a tragedy should never happen again. Never and nowhere. Truth and remembrance must be our guides. That is just the road of meeting, the road to reconciliation, upon which common weal may be partaken by people and nations. At the same time, wreaths were laid on the site of the Katyn Crime by Jolanta Kwasniewska on behalf of the President of the Republic of Poland. She also inspected the newly uncovered burrial site, about which the President of the Republic of Poland was informed on April 12th by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, in a phone conversation. Warsaw, Pilsudski`s Square, April 13th, 2000 Official celebration of the 60th anniversary of Katyn`s Crimes. President Aleksander Kwasniewski stands in front of the guard of honor of the Polish Army. Warsaw, April 13th, 2000 Celebration of the 60th anniversary of Katyn`s Crimes. Statement of the President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Warsaw, April 13th, 2000 Celebration of the 60th anniversary of Katyn`s Crimes. President Aleksander Kwasniewski lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
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