A Great Tragedy has Befallen Poland

This is the greatest tragedy that has befallen our country since General Władysław Sikorski perished in an air crash.

We share the pain of the nearest and dearest of the President and his wife, as well as of the nearest and dearest of all the victims of this appalling tragedy.

Our grief must be communal, non-partisan and non-political.

Our joint responsibility for Poland, too, must be non-partisan and non-political. Poland must remain stable and secure.

Lech Kaczyński has left an indelible mark on Polish history. Historians will take stock of his achievements. Today is not the time for making nuanced judgements. Today is a time of grief and of warm memories. Lech Kaczyński served Poland’‘s independence and freedom since March 1968. This, as he often said, was when he decided to embark on the path of resistance to dictatorship and I will always remember this decision with great respect and emotion.

We have often, even quite recently, differed in our assessment of political events. Nevertheless, I have always had great respect for Lech Kaczyński’’s patriotism. This thought has not left me from the moment I learned the terrible news of the disaster. Lech Kaczyński was a courageous, kind and sensible man. And he was a genuinely decent man, as I often had occasion to experience. And that is how I will always remember him.

Translation: Julia Sherwood

This article was originally published in Polish in the Gazeta Wyborcza on 10, April 2010.