The large plane crash involving Poland’s president and other key leadership oddly mirrors the tragic events of Katyn, which this generation of leaders were flying to Smolensk, Russia to honor. Of course, the scale of the 2010 crash is many times smaller than Katyn, where some tens of thousands of Polish Officers and intelligentsia were murdered by the NKVD during the early stages of World War II.
Poland has been an unlucky country in many ways: its national borders snuffed out for most of the 19th Century, its leadership beset by infighting in the 18th, conquered by Germans and Soviets in the 20th, some 6 million of its citizens murdered by Nazis and some several hundred thousand more murdered by Soviets and their lackeys thereafter. Yet it has risen again, many times over, no matter what it has endured. Indeed, the 20 years in its post-Communism phase have largely been a period of expanded wealth, military power, and good relations with both Germany and Russia.
The glue that has held Poland together through all of these events is Catholicism, which is believed widely and more sincerely there than in nearly any other European country. Let us hope that the Polish people’s Catholic faith sees them through this latest tragedy.