Poland’s president: “Commemoration of the tragedy of the Shoah should be an important and lasting element in education for peace – as a story that sinks deeply into human hearts, bringing down barriers of prejudice, division and hatred”.
The full text of the article can be found on the website of the Polish President.
Four days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day observed on January 27th when German Nazi camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated president Andrzej Duda published an article in major newspapers - American “Washington Post,” German “Die Welt” and French “Le Figaro” - saying that THE TRUTH MUST NOT DIE.
Here are the highlights of the president’s article:
“On January 27, 1945, Soviet soldiers liberated the German Nazi death camp KL Auschwitz. What they found there continues to sow terror and elicit unequivocal moral condemnation to this day.”
“The authorities of the Third Reich planned and carried out the total extermination of the Jewish people. That is why they created a network of camps operating as real death factories.”
“It is hard to put it into words, to read, to talk about it... In the biblical Book of Kohelet we find the following words: For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. Nevertheless, the effort must be made.”
“We must forge the future of the world based on a profound understanding of what happened more than 75 years ago in the heart of Europe, and what eyewitnesses continue to relate to us.”
“We must also not forget that the last, decisive step leading towards World War II, the war without which there would have been no tragedy of the Holocaust, was the secret pact between Hitler and Stalin of August 23, 1939.”
“The truth about the Holocaust must not die. It must not be distorted or used for any purpose.”
“Very early on, the Polish resistance movement took up the mission of uncovering the truth about the Holocaust and of supporting Jews threatened with extermination.”
“In September 1940, Witold Pilecki, an officer of the Polish Army, acting in agreement with the underground authorities, deliberately let himself be imprisoned in Auschwitz. He escaped in April 1943, and then produced and passed on a report on what was happening there.”
“Jan Karski, an emissary of the Polish authorities in exile, watched with his own eyes the horrors occurring in the Warsaw Ghetto and in the German transit camp in Izbica. He prepared a memorandum on German systematic genocide of Jews. Starting from December 1942, he was presenting it to opinion leaders and to top authorities of the Allied Powers.”
“At the same time, the Polish Underground State established the Council to Aid Jews at the
Government Delegation for Poland. That allowed nearly 50 thousand people to obtain documents, shelter, money and medical care.”
“A significant percentage of Holocaust survivors owed their lives to thousands of Polish Righteous Among the Nations.”
“German Nazi concentration camps built in occupied Poland were and still are an unbearable humiliation for us today.”
“Of the 6 million citizens of the Republic of Poland who died in the wake of WWII (over one-fifth of the total population), as many as 3 million were Polish Jews. And they were the largest group of Holocaust victims. The Jewish community, which lived and prospered on Polish soil for nearly ten centuries, have almost disappeared within a few years’ time.”
“The history of Jews in Poland and their annihilated world is now retold through publications and scientific conferences, festivals, exhibitions, concerts and monuments, sponsored by state scientific and cultural institutions such as museums, theatres, archives and libraries.”
“Commemoration of the tragedy of the Shoah should be an important and lasting element in
education for peace – as a story that sinks deeply into human hearts, bringing down barriers of prejudice, division and hatred.”
“It is in this spirit that we will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day. By decision of the UN General Assembly, for fifteen years now it has been commemorated on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. That is why in four days' time, in the State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, where the ashes of more than one million Holocaust Victims are buried, we will meet with leaders and high representatives of countries from all over the world. We shall be accompanied by venerable survivors. On the 75th anniversary of the symbolic end of the extermination, we will bear witness to the truth. Together we will call for peace, justice and respect between nations.”