Lech Kaczynski: Seventy years on, it is time the wounds of Katyn were healed

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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, Kcharkiv 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 civilised 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 for ever.

Katyn became a painful wound of Polish history, which poisoned relations between Poles and Russians for decades. Let's 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.

Let's pay homage to the murdered and pray upon their bodies. Glory to the Heroes! Hail their memory!

This is the speech which the Polish President, who died on Saturday, was going to deliver at the 70th anniversary ceremony of the Katyn massacre

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