Condolences and Sympathies

After the tragic events of April 10, the Polish Film Institute is receiving condolences from around the world.


Volker Schlöndorff writes: “everybody thinks of you and this tragedy, all my friends call me. Kathi Thalbach was devastated [by the news of Anna Walentynowicz’s passing], because she had been so close to this character, impersonating her for weeks [in the feature Strike], trying to get under her skin; it was as if a part of her had died”.

Hugh Welchman of BreakThru Films writes: “Dear Agnieszka, I am writing to extend my deepest condolences and sympathies in this time of mourning. May the ones who perished in this tragic accident be remembered along with the ones that perished in Katyn 70 years ago”.

A letter of condolences from Alon Simhayoff, the Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Israel in Warsaw, reads: “Dear Agnieszka, I would like to express my deep condolences for the tragic loss of the Polish President, the First Lady, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament and other officials in the terrible accident on Saturday. This is not an easy time for the Polish people and I would like you to know that the people in Israel were deeply saddened by this news and identified with your pain. The President of Israel, the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of Defense have all immediately published announcements of condolences, mentioning the great contribution of President Kaczynski to the relations between Poland and Israel, and between the Polish people and the Jewish people. I wanted to take this opportunity to express also my own personal sympathy and condolences.”


Joao Correa, Delegate General of the World Cinema Alliance in Brussels expresses his deepest sympathies: “Our deep condolences to the Polish people and all other individuals directly and indirectly concerned by this deep tragedy. Katyn, a tragic episode of barbarian war… This new and horrible event reminds us that human life is fragile, and memory an everlasting moment”, he writes.


“Dear Agnieszka, the tragedy that has hit Poland is before the eyes of the world”, are words personally written to the General Director of the Polish Film Institute by Claudio Gubitosi, director of the Giffoni film festival in Italy.


In later parts of his condolence letter he writes: “I have been following the news of the dramatic plane crash with dismay. It is just tragic that so many Polish people and Government representatives, including the President of the Republic, have lost their lives. The world is mourning. All of us in Giffoni, for our long lasting professional and personal relationship with Poland, wish to send our deepest condolences and share our grief for the human and institutional tragedy that has unfortunately hit you. Please do forward our condolences to the Minister of Culture, the filmmakers, and through to all the people who collaborate with us for the promotion of our mission. I have also asked our mutual friend Jacek Fuksiewicz to pass through our support and solidarity to all the people who have recently worked with us on the first edition of Giffoni in Poland. A great hug from the entire staff of the Giffoni Film Festival”.


Angel Zuazo López, filmmaker and translator of Polish literature from Cuba, also sends in his condolences: “This horrible news of the plane crash that killed 95 of our compatriots – President of Poland Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and many government officials, brings great sorrow to the Cuban nation, and myself in particular, as I’ve had a deep connection with Poland for many years. I would like to express my deepest and most sincere condolences in these difficult times of national mourning, brought on by this unexpected tragedy”.

Condolences are also coming in from Israel. Representatives of the CoPro foundation for promoting documentary film and international co-productions send in their regrets: “Dear friends and colleagues, we are shocked by your tragedy and we are there for you. Be strong”, they write.


Words of sympathy from Hungary: “Dear Friends, we are deeply moved by the shocking tragedy of the Polish nation. We share your pain and sorrow”, writes Éva Vezér from Magyar Filmunió.

Faye Dunaway sent in very personal words of condolences. She writes: “I am so deeply sorry and shocked to hear the news about the great loss of your President Lech Kaczynski and his wife. I am deeply grieved to hear this and realize how dear you all are to me in this terrible time. Such a great tragedy, I remember how we all felt when we lost President Kennedy. Please know I am praying for you all and thinking of you all with my deepest sympathy.”

Condolences are also coming in from Russia: “Dear Agnieszka, please accept our deepest and most sincere condolences for this terrible loss that you and all of Poland suffered. We are truly shocked by this tragedy. We share your pain and sorrow. Yours sincerely, Alexander Mikhailov and staff of 12A Film Studio.”