Ladies and Gentlemen,
We, Poles, will always remember Katyn. We recall it now, on the 80th anniversary of the massacre, in a way different than planned – in the form of a virtual exhibition. Since, also in this particular time Katyn remains a symbol without which the understating of the Polish history is impossible.
The name of the place reminds us of more than 20 thousand of our compatriots killed in a genocide carried out by the NKVD. The victims of the massacre included prisoners of war and political prisoners: mobilized reserve officers of the Polish Armed Forces, soldiers of the Border Protection Corps, State Police officers, civil servants. They were people of various confessions, civil professions, views, who constituted the elite of the reborn state. Together they formed a civic community of the independent Republic of Poland. And they sacrificed their lives for remaining loyal to their Homeland, for refusing to acknowledge the partition of Poland by Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
Katyn is also a symbol of remembrance nurtured in Polish homes despite half-a-century-long bondage and distortion of history by the communist regime. Today, we commend and express our gratitude to all its depositaries. Katyn furthermore symbolizes a struggle for the truth which began with the discovery of the mass graves. The final victory in that struggle was secured when our nation regained its freedom. Along with its re-established sovereignty Poland restored the truth to its righteous place in Polish history, education and patriotic upbringing. And it committed itself to always guard and preserve it.
Hence, let us pay tribute to the victims buried in Katyn, Kharkiv, Mednoye and Bykovnya and in other, also unknown places. Their names are inscribed in virtual plaques at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw. Many of them were veterans of the victorious was against the Bolsheviks in 1920, whose centenary we will soon celebrate. They defended our Homeland against the invasion by two totalitarian empires in 1939. And they died for Poland together. Let us bow to the heroes of the free Republic of Poland. And let us pass on to the young generation of Poles their ethos and legacy.
Honour and Glory to the Heroes! May the memory of those fallen for Independent Poland live on!
President of the Republic of Poland