: Polish presidents, intellectuals, public figures ask Ukraine to forgive historical crimes

12:46 Jul. 5, 2016

Polish presidents, intellectuals, public figures ask Ukraine to forgive historical crimes

People hold tied Polish, right, and Ukrainian flags during a demonstration supporting the opposition movement in Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 23, 2014 (AP Photo)

On 2 June 2016, Ukrainian religious and political leaders addressed the Poles in an open letter of "repentance and forgiveness"

Polish media published an open letter from three former Polish Presidents, intellectuals, journalists, community and religious leaders addressing the Ukrainian nation: "Thank you for your letter, and please forgive the wrongdoings committed by the Polish against their brothers - Ukrainian people". 

This is a response to the letter "of repentance and forgiveness" submitted by former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian church bishops and public figures to the Polish society, asking Poles to forgive Ukrainians for their historical faults.

Here is the full text of the Polish letter-answer:

"Ukrainian brothers,

In 1894, during the congress of Polish and Ukrainian writers and journalists in Lviv, poet, writer and philosopher Ivan Franko said: "Within all Slavic lands there are no other two nations that can be so tightly interwoven in political and spiritual aspects, can have so many mutual ties, and - despite that - try so hard to distance from each other, like Poles and Ukrainians".

Over time, our common misfortune, detachment was replaced by hatred and nationalism, and their bitter fruit - crime - which Poles and Ukrainians together experienced in Volyn, Eastern Galicia, Kholm, Bieszczady and Przemyśl.

This is why we are very pleased to receive your letter with significant words "we forgive and ask for forgiveness," where you do not avoid responsibility for the crimes and wrongdoings committed by Ukrainians against Poles in the 1940s.

Read also 'Poles killed Ukrainians too. Nobody conceals it' - Polish deputies

We also honour victims of the fratricidal Polish-Ukrainian conflict. Earlier, representatives of the Polish Catholic Church expressed the same opinion, and Pope John Paul II urged our countries to forgive each other.

Jerzy Giedroyc and Jacek Kuron as well as Presidents of our countries worked tirelessly for this unity, let us not forget their heritage.

Read also Poland initiates creation of Assembly for Visegrad Four, Romania and Ukraine

Guilt requires proper payment, which, in terms of relations between our peoples, implies establishment of true brotherhood - despite Polish and Ukrainian cowardice, in prosperity, but also in evil times that might come to our common Europe which is threatened by the Russian nationalism and imperialism.

It is easier to resist threats together. We continue to admire you and get united in the fight against the aggressor, who has been occupying the Ukrainian lands for more than two years and trying to prevent you from fulfilling your dream - to live in the united Europe."

 

Lech Walesa, the first leader of "Solidarity", Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Polish President
Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland
Bronislaw Komorowski, former President of Poland
Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, former Prime Minister
Andrzej Olechowski, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Adam Rotfeld, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Radoslaw Sikorski, former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pavel Koval, former Deputy Foreign Minister
Grzegorz Schetyna, head of the Civic Platform party
Małgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, Deputy Speaker of the Sejm
Roza Thun, Member of European Parliament
Adam Shlyapka, MP from the party "Modern"
Kiyovskyy Mateus, leader of the Committee for Protection of Democracy
Vladislav Frasynyuk, first leader of "Solidarity," the former political prisoner, deputy
Zbigniew Bujakow, first leader of "Solidarity," the former political prisoner, deputy
Zbigniew Janas, the first leader of "Solidarity", the former deputy
Bogdan Lis, the first leader of "Solidarity," the former political prisoner, deputy
Janusz Onyshkyevych, spokesman for the first "Solidarity", the former Minister of National Defence
Henryk Vuets, a member of the leadership of the first "Solidarity", a former political prisoner, former deputy
Grazyna Stanishevska, the first leader of "Solidarity" imprisoned during martial law, former deputy
Andrzej Wielowiejski, former deputy, senator, duputat European Parliament, the Catholic Worker
Adam Michnik, chief editor of "Gazeta Wyborcza"
Jerzy Ermakov, chief editor of the weekly "Polityka"
Bogusław Hrabota, chief editor of "Rzeczpospolita"
Thomas Lis, editor of the weekly "Newsweek Polska"
Leszek Yazhdzhevskyy, chief editor of "Liberte!"
Jaroslav Kuish, editor of the weekly online "Kultura Liberalna"
Carolina Vigura, sociologist, University of Warsaw, "Kultura Liberalna"
Slawomir Sierakowski, chief editor of "Krytyka Polityczna"
Severin Blyumshtayn, chairman of the Association of Journalists
Andrzej Seweryn, actor, producer, director of the Polish Theatre in Warsaw
Grzegorz Gauden, former director of the Institute of Book
Kazimierz Sowa, Roman Catholic spiritual writer
Tomasz Dostatni, Dominican, writer
Ludwik Visnyevskyy, Dominican, university pastor, a former anti-democratic opposition activist
Stanislav Opyelya, Jesuit, former provinitsial-velykopolskoyi Mazowiecki province of the Society of Jesus, a former head of the independent province
Andrzej Stasiuk, writer, publisher
Monika Sznajderman, publisher
Pavel Smolensky, a reporter, winner of the Awards of the Polish-Ukrainian combination
Marek Beylin, publicist edition "Gazeta Wyborcza"
Wojciech Maziarski, publicist edition of "Gazeta Wyborcza"
Danuta Kuron, community activist
Krzysztof Stanowski, social activist, co-founder of the Civic Committee of Solidarity with Ukraine
Iza Hruslinska, journalist, member of the Polish-Ukrainian civic initiatives

 

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