History has often separated Poles and Russians. On both sides the hearts were then filled by hatred and incomprehension. Common pain, common tears and common mourning are able to change it. Even in the most difficult moments of our common history there were on both sides people capable of rising above the resentments. In partitioned Poland, Adam Mickiewicz wrote “To Muscovite Friends.” Alexander Herzen felt compassion for the Poles suffering under the tsarist yoke. In the twentieth century we were joined by the experience of the Gulag, this “inhuman land” about which Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Gustw Herling-Grudzinski both wrote.
Today, out of the blood that was spilled seventy years ago in Katyń and again last Saturday at Smolensk, an authentic community of Polish and Russian fates is being born. We thank you, brother Muscovites, for your compassion, understanding, spontaneous acts of solidarity and all the help linked to this catastrophe.
Every death hurts and seems senseless. But from your reaction to the Smolensk tragedy a good may come for both of our nations, so bitterly marked by the past.