Law and Justice's campaign poster concerning theforthcoming referendum on the recall of Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Jaroslaw Kaczynski was compelled to comment after veterans of the Warsaw Rising, the doomed 1944 bid to defeat the Nazi German occupiers, criticised a Law and Justice poster campaign for next month's referendum on recalling Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Posters bearing a large letter 'W' had prompted comparisons with the so-called W-hour symbol, which signified the outbreak of the Warsaw Rising on 1 August 1944 (W stood for 'Wybuch', meaning outbreak).
General Zbigniew Scibor-Rylski, chairman of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents, had told the Gazeta Wyborcza daily that “we are outraged.
“Our insurgent symbols are now being used – like the Smolensk tragedy – to divide people,” he said.
However, Jaroslaw Kaczynski has responded that “the letter 'W' is a symbol of Warsaw, and not the rising.
“The letter 'W' is a symbol of Warsaw, the whole history of Warsaw, and all that what was great and good about it,” he argued.
Kaczynski also pointed out that the mayor of Warsaw, a member of Donald Tusk's Civic Platform party, herself used a symbol of the rising on her official web site (in this instance the so-called 'anchor' symbol, which stands for 'Poland fights.')
About 200,000 Poles, mostly civilians, died in the two-month Warsaw Rising. In August 1944, the Red Army – technically a Polish ally – went back on its pledge to join the fight in Warsaw against the Nazis, in spite of earlier indications. A Soviet-backed communist regime was ultimately installed after the war, and the rising maintains a powerful hold over the national consciousness.
The referendum on whether Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz should be recalled will be held on 13 October. (nh)