Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poland's Tragedy Marks Another Tragedy (Updated)

Today, a tragic day for Poland. The country's President, Lech Kaczynski, his wife, Maria, and some of the country's highest military and civilian leaders died in a plane crash in thick fog in Smolensk, in western Russia. Among the 96 dead were 88 members of a Polish state delegation en route to memorial events marking the 70th anniversary of the execution of 22,000 Polish military officers, university students, physicians, writers, and others by the Soviet secret service. Many of these were massacred in a forest near Katyn. From Fox News:
The crash devastated the upper echelons of Poland's political and military establishments. On board were the army chief of staff, national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said.
[Update: 1:30 p.m. EST. Some of the people on board were relatives of those slain in the Katyn massacre. Also among the victims was Anna Walentynowicz, whose firing in August 1980 from the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk sparked a workers' strike that spurred the eventual creation of the Solidarity freedom movement. She went on to be a prominent Solidarity member.]
[Update: 5:00 p.m. EST. From Gazeta Wyborcza, via,  more names of those lost: former president of Poland in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski; the deputy chairman of parliament of Poland (and the presidential candidate for the social democratic SLD party),  Jerzy Szmajdzinski; Chancellery of the President, Wladyslaw Stasiak; President of the National Security Bureau of Poland, Aleksander Szczyglo;  Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrezj Kremer; Chief of Staff of the Polish Army, Franciszek Gągor; President of the National Bank of Poland, Slawomir Skrzypek; Commissioner for the Protection of Civil Rights, Janusz Kochanowski; the heads of the Polish Armed Forces, and dozens of members of Parliament. (some spelling corrected- QR)]
[Update: 7:00 p.m. EST. Also reported as lost: Jolanta Szymanek-Deresz, member of the praesidium of the party of European Socialists.]
[Update: 4/11/10, 5:30 p.m. EST. Another name: former deputy prime minister of Poland and campaigner for womens’ and gay rights, Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka.]
Spared from the tragedy were Poland's prime minister, Donald Tusk, and his cabinet.

The country has begun a week of mourning.

Americans join Poland in their sorrow.

[Update. From Rosemerta, commenter at HotAir:
Condolences can be sent to:
His Excellency Robert Kupiecki, The Ambassador of Poland
Embassy of the Republic of Poland
2640 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 234 3800
Fax: (202) 328 6271
Proper mode of address (from InfoPlease):
On envelope: His/Her Excellency Fullname, The Ambassador of Placename
Salutation: Excellency or Dear Mr./Madam Ambassador

1 comment:

  1. Free Poland has always been a supportive friend to America. 'Blessed are they who mourn for they will be comforted.'