He was speaking at the opening of a Warsaw conference focusing on Soviet crimes against the Polish nation in the late 1930s.
"It is only in truth that we can build good relations with neighbouring countries,” Duda said in his speech at the conference, which is being held at Warsaw’s Belweder Palace until Friday.
Duda also said that Poland had quite a few thorny issues to discuss with its neighbours, and that no topics should be swept under the carpet.
“We must draw conclusions even from the most dramatic moments of our history” in order to “build good relations for the future," he said.
All the difficult issues must be sorted out and cannot be passed over in silence, he added.
“Historical memory” is the basis for building the identity of a nation; it is part of efforts to “build the foundations of a strong state,” Duda also said.
He added: “All that happened to the Polish people at the hands of the Soviet Union” led to "the deaths of hundreds of thousands, millions, of our countrymen, to the suffering, destruction of families” and damage to Polish culture.
Duda said that those guilty of “the crime of genocide have been identified” and “the crime has been documented, described, examined, explained, and shown … not to take revenge, not to build a wall between nations, but to say: let's draw conclusions from this difficult history, let us remember it so that it never again" repeats itself.
The two-day "NKVD’s Polish Operation: Remembering the 1937-1938 Crime” conference has been organised by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), together with the President’s Office and the Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding.
The event aims to highlight the circumstances surrounding the so-called “Polish Operation” of the Soviet Union’s NKVD secret police, which resulted in the murder of at least 111,000 Poles in the former USSR in 1937 and 1938. More than 100,000 others were deported into the Soviet interior, mainly to Kazakhstan and Siberia. (gs)
Source: IAR, PAP