null Message by the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities on the Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship

In my capacity as the Deputy Commissioner for the Rights of National Minorities in Hungary, I find it highly important to commemorate the historical events that had shaped the identities of the state-creating nationalities living together in Hungary. The Day of Hungarian-Polish Friendship is in the rank of such special events, on the occasion of which we celebrate the historical friendship between the two nations on March 23rd each year. The relevant decision was adopted by the Hungarian National Assembly and the Polish Sejm in March 2007.

On the occasion of the Year of Hungarian-Polish Solidarity, quite a number of joint cultural events were organized in 2016, where the discussion of our common history was just as important as the presentation of our contemporary values. In 2017, commemorating the century-old friendship between Hungarians and Poles, as well as the Polish community living in Hungary may also be timely because it is this year that we celebrate the 300-year anniversary of the repopulation of the only settlement in the current territory of Hungary whose full population was Polish, i.e. the village called Derenk. The village, which is deserted today, is situated in the territory of the Aggtelek National Park, close to the Slovakian border. The community, which died out in the period of the 1711 plague epidemic, was revitalized by the Esterházy family in 1717, as they invited Polish settlers from Spis County there. Today, it is only the ruins of the long-ago school and a chapel that mark the place of the once thriving village. This historical site, however, is still important for the Polish community living in Hungary, which is signified by their annual commemoration held in the village at the time of the old saint’s day festivities.

The dynamically developing Hungarian-Polish relations and the countless signs of the friendship between the two nations prove that the often-quoted words (1849) of Stanisław Gabriel Worcell, who was Kossuth’s friend in the emigration, have stood the test of time: “Hungary and Poland are two oaks of eternal life, they have separate trunks, but their roots run far under the ground, they get connected and invisibly entwined. So the existence and strength of one is the condition of the life and health of the other.”

Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Prof., HC University Professor, Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights