Monument to massacre of thousands of Poles to disappear from Jersey City?
PR dla Zagranicy
An international row has erupted after an announcement last month that a monument to the Katyn massacre, in which 22,000 Poles were killed by Soviet secret police, could be removed from Exchange Place, a public square in Jersey City.
The Jersey City monument to the Katyn massacre. Photo: Eleanor Lang/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The city plans to put the monument in storage in order to convert the space into a park.
But Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, Polish Ambassador to the US Piotr Wilczek, and Polish diaspora organisations have opposed the plan to remove the monument.
Polish Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski called it "really scandalous" and "very unpleasant" and vowed to write to the city's mayor Steven Fulop.
But Fulop said Karczewski was an anti-Semite, Holocaust denier and white nationalist.
Karczewski declined to comment the insults but said he wanted an apology from Fulop and did not rule out legal action against the Jersey City mayor.
Meanwhile, a Polish MP from the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party told Polish Radio that she hoped Fulop's comment came from a lack of knowledge and not from bad intentions.
Unveiled in June 1991, the monument is made up of a ten-metre-tall bronze figure of a soldier who has been gagged and bound and impaled by a bayonetted rifle mounted on top of a granite base containing soil from Katyn, western Russia.
Exchange Place Special Improvement District chair Mike DeMarco was quoted by The Jersey Journal as saying that the monument is "gruesome" and that the idea that Russians are backstabbers is "not exactly a politically correct idea nowadays." DeMarco has suggested that the monument could be relocated.
In the spring of 1940, after invading Poland the previous year, the Soviets launched a campaign to eliminate Poland's elites, which came to be known as the Katyn massacre.
Some 22,000 Polish officers and other members of the intelligentsia were deported to various sites in the Soviet Union, among them the Katyn forest in western Russia, where each was shot in the back of the head.
The Katyn Massacre was officially kept under wraps by the Soviet Union, and later Russia until 1990. (vb)