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Polish presidents, intellectuals, public figures ask Ukraine to forgive historical crimes

On 2 June 2016, Ukrainian religious and political leaders addressed the Poles in an open letter of "repentance and forgiveness"
Polish presidents, intellectuals, public figures ask Ukraine to forgive historical crimes

Polish media published an open letter from three former Polish Presidents, intellectuals, journalists, community and religious leaders addressing the Ukrainian nation: “Thank you for your letter, and please forgive the wrongdoings committed by the Polish against their brothers – Ukrainian people”, UA Today reports.

This is a response to the letter “of repentance and forgiveness“submitted by former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian church bishops and public figures to the Polish society, asking Poles to forgive Ukrainians for their historical faults.

Here is the full text of the Polish letter-answer:

“Ukrainian brothers,

In 1894, during the congress of Polish and Ukrainian writers and journalists in Lviv, poet, writer and philosopher Ivan Franko said: “Within all Slavic lands there are no other two nations that can be so tightly interwoven in political and spiritual aspects, can have so many mutual ties, and – despite that – try so hard to distance from each other, like Poles and Ukrainians”.

Over time, our common misfortune, detachment was replaced by hatred and nationalism, and their bitter fruit – crime – which Poles and Ukrainians together experienced in Volyn, Eastern Galicia, Kholm, Bieszczady and Przemyśl.

This is why we are very pleased to receive your letter with significant words “we forgive and ask for forgiveness,” where you do not avoid responsibility for the crimes and wrongdoings committed by Ukrainians against Poles in the 1940s.

We also honour victims of the fratricidal Polish-Ukrainian conflict. Earlier, representatives of the Polish Catholic Church expressed the same opinion, and Pope John Paul II urged our countries to forgive each other.

Jerzy Giedroyc and Jacek Kuron as well as Presidents of our countries worked tirelessly for this unity, let us not forget their heritage.

Guilt requires proper payment, which, in terms of relations between our peoples, implies establishment of true brotherhood – despite Polish and Ukrainian cowardice, in prosperity, but also in evil times that might come to our common Europe which is threatened by the Russian nationalism and imperialism.

It is easier to resist threats together. We continue to admire you and get united in the fight against the aggressor, who has been occupying the Ukrainian lands for more than two years and trying to prevent you from fulfilling your dream – to live in the united Europe.”