Friday marks 10 years since a Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others, including top political and military figures, crashed near the western Russian city of Smolensk, killing all those on board.
The Polish officials had been on their way to commemorate some 22,000 Polish prisoners of war and intellectuals who were killed in the spring of 1940 on orders from top Soviet authorities in what is known as the Katyn Massacre.
Polish Radio has issued two CD albums to mark the 10th anniversary of the air disaster, which scarred the national psyche and is still a source of controversy and recriminations.
Historian and politician Jan Żaryn said on the eve of the anniversary that the CDs issued by Polish Radio “are of great importance to nurturing the memory of the victims of the April 10, 2010 catastrophe.”
Żaryn also said that the collection is “an extraordinary testimony to the bold policies of President Lech Kaczyński,” public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
He added that Lech Kaczyński “had the courage to represent Polish national interests clearly and unambiguously” during his “extraordinary presidency.”
Lech Kaczyński, pictured in March 2010. Photo: PAP/Remigiusz Sikora
The newly released Polish Radio CDs offer a selection of President Kaczyński’s key speeches about domestic politics and international events.
The collection also features statements and homilies delivered during a memorial service in Warsaw on April 17, 2010 as well as a recording of an April 18, 2010 concert at Polish Radio’s Concert Hall with works by composers Andrzej Panufnik and Henryk Mikołaj Górecki.
Krzysztof Czabański, head of the National Media Council, which oversees national broadcasters Polish Radio and Polish Television, as well as the state-run PAP news agency, said: “These CD albums aim to commemorate and collect the most valuable sound clips available covering President Lech Kaczyński’s vast political legacy."
He added: “Similarly, in 2008, to mark an anniversary of the Katyń massacre, Polish Radio paid homage to the victims by releasing a CD album featuring its archival materials.”