The significance of painful history
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
We feel helpless when we hear such pieces of information. This is an insult to the truth. We all know that World War II began with Germany's attack on Poland, and specifically, with bombing Wielun (the film showing how Germans began their war actions by bombing the church in Wielun has been preserved). At some point there appeared different terminology in the publications concerning this subject: it is not Germany but the Nazis who caused this wickedness. It was evident that the Germans somehow wanted to extricate themselves from this terrible barbarity they had displayed in Europe and the world. However, one should state that it was the Germans who voted for Hitler, they gave the Nazis authority to govern their country. These are the facts. We can also regret that our choices were so and so but the majority decided and we should say: well, we must respect their choice; this is what our country looks like. As a matter of fact, we do not say that the German nation was evil but it was the state of Germany that was governed this and not the other way.
Consequently, all those who want to erase the truth participate in falsifying history. We can see a cruel lie circulating all over the world. This is also a historical lie. We remember that we could not speak about Katyn and it was not so long ago. After the fall of the communist system the truth about Katyn was revealed but this crime has not been called 'genocide'. The same applies to the term 'German concentration camps'. These camps were never Polish because the first transport to the camp in Auschwitz was from Poland, from Tarnow. The Polish people were brought to Auschwitz, too. Many people died there including Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Millions were sent there - mainly Jews but also large groups from almost every European country. This was the fate the Germans prepared for almost the entire world.
But today we can draw conclusions from this lesson. Therefore, we should appeal to all Polish speaking people so that they think in Polish, so that they do not follow peculiar political correctness but in accordance with their conscience try to seek the truth and protest against all forms of lie. We should pay a lot of heed to school programmes so that they do not falsify history and to enlightened universities so that they direct the young generation to learn the truth. We should care for the Polish media so that their fundamental task: true information, is not erased in the context of common commercialisation. At the same time we should show boundless solidarity to support what is good, true and to reject what is evil and harmful. A wise man tries to be close to the truth embracing moral law as well. An educated man can be cynical and brutal - and there were many men like these.
I will close my reflection with a wonderful thought of the Holy Father from his message to the participants of the meeting in Auschwitz: 'We remember the tragic sufferings of the victims not for the sake of reopening painful wounds or of stirring up sentiments of hatred and revenge, but rather in order to honor the dead, to acknowledge historical reality and above all to ensure that those terrible events will serve as a summons for the men and women of today to ever greater responsibility for our common history.'.