19th March 2016

President of the Republic János Áder's Speech at Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day Celebration

Distinguished Mr President,
Esteemed Lady Agata,

A memorial plaque was placed on the wall of a Catholic church in 1986. It is not unusual to see different tributes and symbols of remembrance in church buildings. Such plaques – whether placed by a single person or by a community – speak about joy and sorrow, about mourning, pride, prayer and gratitude.

This plaque was still special. It had the Kossuth coat of arms and an inion: “In memory of the fallen and the murdered on the 30th anniversary of the revolution.”

Those who placed this plaque in 1986 were still living in the period of socialism. They could only hope that the nightmare would end during their life time. They surely knew the grave risks they were taking, when they called our 1956 revolution a revolution.

For some reason this was important to them. Despite the fact that they were not Hungarians. They were Polish – all of them.

The Saint Christopher Church in Podkowa Leśna still correctly preserves the memory of the fallen and the murdered. It also preserves something else: the honest friendship and respect of the two nations for each other.

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

In 1986, on the anniversary of the revolution it took great courage - in Poland and in Hungary alike - to commemorate. Even in a church or in a private home. If someone did, they could be sure that their name would be included in an informant’s report and in one of the meticulously compiled state security reports.

Yet, that year almost a dozen Polish writings were published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the ’56 Hungarian revolution. All of them were disseminated in secret. The embers were still – or were already – glowing in both countries.

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