In Memory of the Victims

Para prezydencka Maria i Lech Kaczyńscy 

Let us rush to love people; so quickly do they depart… These words by priest and poet Jan Twardowski never sounded as painful as they do today. As a result of the plane crash at Smolensk, within one quick instant we lost representatives of the highest authorities, military leaders, heads of key financial and social institutions, and dignitaries of various religions. People who brought merit to the history and culture of the Republic of Poland.


This inconceivable loss is made even more painful by the fact that behind each name lies not only an office, but also a human being who will be missed by their loved ones. We personally knew and cherished many of these individuals. Artists will undoubtedly remember the First Lady, Madam Maria Kaczyńska. She was truly a woman of heart, who loved theatre, film, and music. She would often grace film and theatre premieres with her presence, she enjoyed music concerts and festivals. She always expressed her greatest appreciation for Polish cinema.


Tomasz Merta, deputy minister of culture, an excellent and valued intellectual who fought for our national heritage, was also among the crash victims. The actors’ community grieves the loss of Janusz Zakrzeński, the”arch-Polish” (as he was described) and unforgettable actor known for his roles as Józef Piłsudski and Stanisław ‘Witkacy’ Witkiewicz.


During this time of national mourning, let us find a moment for personal reflection. Let us try to rise above our political differences and think of these people with gratitude, thanking them for all the good they were doing.


As our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in this tragic and unexpected manner, let us do everything in our power to be together; be united in this inconceivable experience. May this feeling be with us not only during the time of mourning, but continue to last over the coming months and years. May we realize that our lives are worth living to their most beautiful – if only because life is so short.


Agnieszka Odorowicz
General Manager of the Polish Film Institute
and Staff


Translated by Karolina Kołtun