- April 7, 2018
Tomaszewski: Poles in Lithuania need a support. They expect Polish authorities to take an action.
The best way to help us is to make sure that Polish politicians did not forget about the slogan “nothing about us without us.” — Said Waldemar Tomaszewski in an interview with the www.wPolityce.pl.
Can we say that the attitude of the Lithuanian authorities towards Poles living in Lithuania has changed?
Waldemar Tomaszewski, chairman of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania: Yes. Recently we’ve heard positive statement of Saulius Skvernellis and the majority of representatives of Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union on Polish community in Lithuania.
President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have visited Lithuania recently. Have those visits brought any results?
The Marshal of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski and the Marshal of the Sejm Marek Kuchciński have also been to Lithuania. Those visits, especially president’s visit, made Polish-Lithuanian relationship more positive. This could be called a breakthrough. However, we’re still waiting for some specific action towards issues of Poles in Lithuania.
How Polish government and Polish citizens can help Poles in Lithuania?
Poles in Lithuania need a support with many issues. They expect Polish government to take an action towards respecting Polish-Lithuanian Treaty. Especially the articles relating to the rights of Polish majority in Vilnius region. Whereas, Polish citizens are often related to the borderland families, including mine, and they are living in today’s Poland as a result of Yalta Conference. Approximately one in four Poles originate from borderland, in some regions even one in two. Certainly, the best way to help us is to make sure that Polish politicians did not forget about the slogan “nothing about us without us.”
Can we expect positive solution in the matter of Polish education in Lithuania and spelling of Polish surnames?
In recent years, the issue of Polish education in Lithuania have been solved in 80% thanks to the Polish community in Vilnius and their solidarity, unity and determination which eventually led to the widespread school strikes. The massive support of the Polish Sejm in September 2015 and their resolution on Polish education in Lithuania, that has been accepted by over 400 Members of Parliament, was an important moment. The fact that all Polish political parties spoke with one voice was meaningful. The issue of spelling Polish names is ridiculous as it run on for 20 years now, and the recent registered draft law contains only one Polish letter “w”. The key issue is the matter of regain lands seized by the Soviet. In Lithuania this process is now over, but in Vilnius, where almost all owners are Poles, only half of the land was regained. Another issue is the discrimination of our children and youth on Matura exams and during official language teaching.
How would you comment on the accusation that “the voices of Polish community are the representatives of local Putin’s political party,” which has been published in “Gazeta Polska”?
It’s a nonsense. Although the publication of this ridiculous article and the insult of Polish patriots living in Vilnius region is not surprising. After all, they were also blaming catholic TV Trwam channel and Radio Maryja station. They are simply untrustworthy. They certainly don’t understand that bearing false witness is against the Commandments of God.
By Tomasz Karpowicz.
Translated by Aleksandra Jackiewicz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.