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Polish church elders call for Russia to be forgiven

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  • Danuta Janina Wójcik
    A senior Polish bishop said Saturday Poland must forgive Russia for Soviet crimes in order to improve relations, speaking at a graveyard of more than 4,000
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 27, 2009
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      A senior Polish bishop said Saturday Poland must forgive Russia for Soviet crimes in order to improve relations, speaking at a graveyard of more than 4,000 Polish officers killed by Josef Stalin's army in 1940.

      Russia and Poland are at loggerheads over the actions of Soviet leader Stalin in 1939, when he clinched a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that opened the way for the invasion of Poland and world war.

      "The fate of those killed is already in the hands of God," Tadeusz Ploski, a Catholic Polish army bishop, told a group of 250 prison guards visiting Katyn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of War World Two.

      "But ... the victims of Katyn will not rest in peace as long as the wrong done to them evokes dark feelings in us, as long as true reconciliation with the Russian nation is not our genuine priority."

      Poland demands the opening of archives related to an investigation, carried out between 1990 and 2004, of the Katyn massacre, as well as an official rehabilitation of the victims.

      Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk agreed during the September 1 ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland to offer historians reciprocal access to their nations' archives and to set up joint groups of experts to study the Katyn case.

      Archbishop Miron of the Polish Orthodox Church and Ryszard Borski, the head army pastor of Poland's Evangelical Church, also urged both sides to forgive each other.

      Among the flat graves in a birch forest near the city of Smolensk, Miron spoke of "thousands of people, who died as a result of the hateful totalitarianism which did not differentiate between 'ours' and 'theirs.'"

      GERMAN RECONCILIATION

      Ploski told the crowd of uniformed men and women about a letter issued by Polish bishops to their German counterparts in 1965, which was criticised at the time but eventually proved important for restoring relations.

      "A greatness of a nation is expressed through brave gestures, which build bridges of understanding with other nations," Ploski said. But he added that a call for forgiveness by Poland might be an unpopular idea.

      Polish Justice Minister Andrzej Czuma, who headed Saturday's delegation to Katyn, said it was important to remember that, in terms of those killed, Russia was the biggest victim of the "satanic ideology" of communism.

      For Maria Demyanova, who has worked at the Katyn museum gift shop for almost a decade, the political hostility between the two nations remains a puzzle.

      "I see it on TV. I see it on both sides. Why, I ask, why?" Demyanova said. "Here in Katyn, nobody argues."

       

      http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20090926/tpl-uk-russia-poland-katyn-43a8d4f.html

    • Danuta Janina Wójcik
      Polish church elders call for Russia to be forgiven A senior Polish bishop said Saturday Poland must forgive Russia for Soviet crimes in order to improve
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 27, 2009
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        Polish church elders call for Russia to be forgiven

        A senior Polish bishop said Saturday Poland must forgive Russia for Soviet crimes in order to improve relations, speaking at a graveyard of more than 4,000 Polish officers killed by Josef Stalin's army in 1940.

        Russia and Poland are at loggerheads over the actions of Soviet leader Stalin in 1939, when he clinched a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany that opened the way for the invasion of Poland and world war.

        "The fate of those killed is already in the hands of God," Tadeusz Ploski, a Catholic Polish army bishop, told a group of 250 prison guards visiting Katyn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of War World Two.

        "But ... the victims of Katyn will not rest in peace as long as the wrong done to them evokes dark feelings in us, as long as true reconciliation with the Russian nation is not our genuine priority."

        Poland demands the opening of archives related to an investigation, carried out between 1990 and 2004, of the Katyn massacre, as well as an official rehabilitation of the victims.

        Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk agreed during the September 1 ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland to offer historians reciprocal access to their nations' archives and to set up joint groups of experts to study the Katyn case.

        Archbishop Miron of the Polish Orthodox Church and Ryszard Borski, the head army pastor of Poland's Evangelical Church, also urged both sides to forgive each other.

        Among the flat graves in a birch forest near the city of Smolensk, Miron spoke of "thousands of people, who died as a result of the hateful totalitarianism which did not differentiate between 'ours' and 'theirs.'"

        GERMAN RECONCILIATION

        Ploski told the crowd of uniformed men and women about a letter issued by Polish bishops to their German counterparts in 1965, which was criticised at the time but eventually proved important for restoring relations.

        "A greatness of a nation is expressed through brave gestures, which build bridges of understanding with other nations," Ploski said. But he added that a call for forgiveness by Poland might be an unpopular idea.

        Polish Justice Minister Andrzej Czuma, who headed Saturday's delegation to Katyn, said it was important to remember that, in terms of those killed, Russia was the biggest victim of the "satanic ideology" of communism.

        For Maria Demyanova, who has worked at the Katyn museum gift shop for almost a decade, the political hostility between the two nations remains a puzzle.

        "I see it on TV. I see it on both sides. Why, I ask, why?" Demyanova said. "Here in Katyn, nobody argues."

         

        http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20090926/tpl-uk-russia-poland-katyn-43a8d4f.html

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