July 2010

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During her visit to Krakow, Secretary Clinton laid a wreath at the Katyn Memorial Cross in Krakow in remembrance of those who were killed in the plane crash on April 10, 2010. The 96 victims onboard the flight to Smolensk, Russia included Polish President Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria Kaczyńska, high-ranking political and military figures, and families of the victims of the Katyn massacre. The simple wooden cross behind Wawel became a point of mourning for thousands in the aftermath of the April 10 plane crash. The families of the Polish-American artist Wojciech Seweryn, Undersecretary Andrzej Kremer, Brigadier General Włodzimierz Potasiński and Lieutenant General Kwiatkowski were present and Secretary Clinton expressed her condolences to them. The governor of Malopolska, Stanislaw Kracik attended the wreath laying, and an honor guard from the Polish military units based in Krakow which have served in Afghanistan conducted the wreath laying ceremony.

During her visit to Krakow for the Community of Democracies meeting on July 3, Secretary Clinton visited the factory of Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of over 1000 Jews during the Holocaust. Clinton met with Minister Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who was interned at Auschwitz and active in the Home Army resistance movement, and who now serves as chair of the International Auschwitz Council, as well as Professor Jacek Majchrowski, the Mayor of Krakow. Clinton, who visited Auschwitz in 1999 as the First Lady, was led through the museum, which opened last month and features an exhibition on Nazi-occupied Krakow, by Dr. Edyta Gawron, an alumna of the State Department’s International Visitor Program. Following remarks by Schindler Factory Museum Director Dr. Michal Niezabitowski and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Clinton addressed an audience that included Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Poland’s Chief Rabbi, and Stanislaw Cardinal Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow. She then announced the U.S. intent to donate to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation, an organization set up last year by the International Auschwitz Council to finance the long-term conservation of the camp grounds and archival records.

Ambassador Lee Feinstein and Polish Undersecretary of State Jacek Najder signed the Protocol to the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement after a bilateral meeting between Secretary Clinton and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski on July 3. The protocol was signed at Krakow’s City Hall and is an official statement of cooperation between Poland and the United States detailing the anti-missile defense system to be set up in Northern Poland. This protocol will allow us to move forward with Polish participation in hosting elements of the Phased Adaptive Approach to Missile Defense in Europe.

Secretary Clinton, along with numerous other foreign ministers, attended the 10th anniversary meeting of the Community of Democracies in Krakow, Poland. The Community of Democracies, which was founded by Clinton’s predecessor Madeleine Albright and the late Polish Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek, aims to encourage international cooperation among democratic countries in supporting and defending democracy worldwide. Each country represented at the meeting reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen and promote democratic values and practices, and an award for promoting democracy in honor of the late Foreign Minister Geremek was presented to Father Jose Conrado, a Cuban priest known for his outspoken criticism of the dictatorship. Secretary Clinton spoke at the event, as did Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Polish freedom fighter Lech Walesa, the founder of the Solidarity trade union.