Topics of coins
Smolensk - in memory of the victims of 10 April 2010
The most tragic dates are not affected by the passing of time.
They become embedded in the minds of people even when they
morph into memory and then history left to next generations.
The day of 10 April 2010 will always be such a date. At 8.41 a.m.,
the government plane Tu-154M with the Polish delegation to mark the
70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre on board crashed at the Severny
airport near Smolensk. All 96 persons lost their lives in the crash.
The speed of today's dissemination of information allowed the whole world to know of the fatal crash by 12 CET, share the disbelief in the size of the tragedy, and witness the shock and pain of the Polish public that grew ever bigger as new pieces of information were pouring in. The news updates added new widely known names to the list of the crash victims. They were: Polish President Lech Kaczyński and his wife, Maria, last Polish President in Exile Ryszard Kaczorowski, Deputy Speakers of the lower and upper Houses of the Polish Parliament, more than a dozen Members of Parliament, commanders in chief of the branches of the armed forces, ministry officials, representatives of state institutions, war veteran and social organisations, Presidential chancellery staff, senior members of the Polish clergy, accompanying persons, government security officers and the 7-member crew. In a few minutes, Poland sustained a loss of an extent hardly seen in the political history of the world. The private despair of the victims' families was coincident with the loss to the State that was deprived of its top decision makers, the nucleus of the armed forces, prominent members of public life and, finally, seasoned politicians who honed their skills during the two decades of Polish democracy. The National Bank of Poland also suffered a loss as its President Sławomir Skrzypek, in office since 2007, was a member of the presidential delegation and died at the Severny airport.
Every country, nation and culture is vested with gestures of homage used to commemorate the death of its prominent representatives: from a black ribbon attached to the flag, fire salutes during funeral ceremonies to erecting monuments and minting coins. The latter is part of the mission of the central bank that has for decades formed the numismatic calendar of Poland's momentous events.
On the first anniversary of the tragedy, the National Bank of Poland will issue coins in memory of the victims of the Smolensk plane crash: a 100-złoty gold coin dedicated to the late presidential couple, a silver 20-złoty coin that pays tribute to all the victims, and also a silver 10-złoty coin commemorating the late President of the National Bank of Poland. A 2-złoty coin, struck in Nordic Gold, that will complete the set is an item from the popular coin series known not only to coin collectors. It will also commemorate the 96 persons who died in Smolensk on 10 April 2010.
When designing the issue of numismatic items commemorating the crash victims, the central bank submitted this idea for approval to the families of Mr Kaczyński and of Mr Sławomir Skrzypek. Not only did they give their consent to the proposal but also appreciated the initiative to honour their loved ones. The coins will remain a token of tribute that - like the most tragic dates - is timeless.
The victims of the Smolensk plane crash:
Anna Maria Borowska
Stanisław Jerzy Komorowski