Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

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Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

Post by henryk » 18 May 2016 18:42

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/25331 ... ote]Polish city decides to remove Soviet memorial

PR dla Zagranicy Roberto Galea 18.05.2016 12:51

A memorial of gratitude to the Red Army is to be removed from the centre of Szczecin, north-western Poland.
The fate of the monument in Szczecin is being disputed. Photo: PAP/Marcin Bielecki

A decision to this effect has been taken by the City Council, with 23 votes for and three against. One of the opponents of the move, Dawid Krystek of the Democratic Left Alliance, has said that those who voted for the removal of the memorial represent far-right forces who “have no respect for the thousands of Soviet and Polish soldiers who were killed along the combat route from Elblag to Szczecin.” According to Krystek, the decision of the City Council is not legally binding. He expressed confidence that “the Mayor of Szczecin will not remove the memorial without a consent by the Russian Federation”.

Councillor Marek Duklanowski of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party stressed, however, that the decision of the City Council is in line with residents’ expectations, adding that the Red Army did not liberate the town but enslaved its citizens.

The monument in tribute to the Red Army and its services in the capturing of the towns in Western Pomerania during World War II was unveiled on 23 April 1950, the fifth anniversary of the Red Army’s entry into Szczecin. In 1992 a five-pointed star made of concrete was removed from the monument. (mk/rg) [/quote]
Note: Democratic Left Alliance is the successor to the former Communist Party of Poland
http://www.dw.com/en/poland-plans-to-te ... ote]Poland plans to tear down hundreds of Soviet memorials

Since 1989, Poles have removed hundreds of memorials erected after World War II thanking the Red Army for liberating Poland from the Nazis. But around 200 memorials still remain. Now, the government wants them gone.

Historian Pawel Ukielski of the Polish Institute for National Remembrance (INR) would love to see the removal of the biggest symbol of the Soviet era in Poland - the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. Since the 1950's, the 231-meter-high building has been the country's tallest building - and a thorn in the side of many Poles. In 2009, Polish Foreign Miniser Radoslaw Sikorski called for it to be demolished, saying it would be cathartic for Poland to symbolically bury the Soviet era.

Poles have a history of such demolitions reaching back to the 1920s, when the newly founded Polish state destroyed all symbols of the Czarist period. Among them was the hated Alexander Nevksy Cathedral in central Warsaw, demolished in a series of controlled explosions. The same can't happen to the Palace of Culture and Science, as it is now under heritage protection. But many other monuments could soon disappear.

An end to gratitude
It's a "natural, normal thing" for communist symbols to disappear from public spaces in Poland, Prime Minister Beata Szydło said recently on Polish broadcaster TVN 24. But at the moment, no one seems to know just how many monuments might be affected. In 1994, around 570 objects were listed as part of a Russian-Polish agreement, but many of them have been removed since 1989. Around 200 objects are still very noticeable, and they have to go, said Lukas Kaminski, the director of the INR in Warsaw. "Memorials in city centers and villages can send the wrong historical signal," Kaminski said.

Red Army Memorial in Warsaw 'The wrong historical signal'

'New yoke' from the Red Army
Until recently, his institute took a very different position: Only in 2015 was the first scientific study about the history of the so-called "gratitude monuments" published. Now, the very monuments that were so carefully studied are set to disappear from public life. "What do you think we got, when the Soviets liberated Poland from Hitler, if not a new yoke?" said Kaminski.

Several cities removing monuments
The argument that the monuments are not about honoring the Soviets, but that they bear witness to an era in Poland's post-war history is getting short shrift in the debate. Several cities and communities reacted quickly to calls to remove Soviet monuments. In Szczecin, a huge monument "of gratitude to the Red Army" has long been a target.

Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science was built by the Soviets after World War Two

And around 500 km further east on the Russian border to Kaliningrad, people have welcomed the new remembrance policy of the Polish government. Krzysztof Kiejdo, the mayor of the small Polish town of Pieniezno, already reached one of his goals in the fall of 2015. After years of back and forth with various officials, he managed to remove a monument to the Soviet war hero General Ivan Chernyakhovsky of the Red Army.

Places of remembrance remain
But for the Russians, Pieniezno in eastern Poland remains a symbolic place - with or without the monument to the Soviet hero. "It is still a place of remembrance for us and we will continue to visit it in future," Russian ambassador Sergey Andreev told DW. Just this winter, Andreev laid a wreath to remember the death of the Russian general.

Meanwhile, the debate over the monuments is escalating. A few days ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Poles of desecrating many monuments and announced that he would take the necessary steps to "prevent such unacceptable policies." His spokeswoman even compared the methods used by the Poles to those of the so-called "Islamic State."

Poland has new heroes
Warsaw has remained steadfast, however, saying it's not talking about destroying cemeteries and gravestones. It simply wants Polish heroes on pedestals, not Russian ones. Historian Ukielski even has a suggestion: Poland's "outcast soldiers." The Polish partisans fought against the communists for years in the wake of World War II, and despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, they've never been properly honored.

Date 13.04.2016
Author Monika Sieradzka / dc [/quote]

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Re: Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

Post by henryk » 20 May 2016 19:09

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/25369 ... ote]Poland set to remove street names linked to communism
PR dla Zagranicy Alicja Baczyńska 20.05.2016 15:55
On Friday, President Andrzej Duda signed a bill clearing the way for a removal of symbols commemorating the communist era in Poland
Once the new legislation comes into force next year, some 1,300 street names associated with the country's red past will be removed.
The authors of the legislation assure the citizens will able to keep their IDs and passports brandishing the unwanted street names until the documents expire.
The new legislation, brought forward by Law and Justice senators, was nearly unanimously adopted by the Polish parliament in April.
The law does not include monuments, obelisks or commemorative plaques. (aba) Source: IAR [/quote]
In 1994, before I visited Poland for the first time, I borrowed a street map of Warsaw (pre 1989) from the Public Library. Subsequently I bought a guide book. I was surprised at the very large difference between the book's map and the library's map.

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Re: Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

Post by henryk » 22 May 2016 18:44

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1991 ... l-ii[quote]
Sign Of The Times: A Square Deal For Heroes Of Poland

March 06, 1991|By Joseph A. Reaves, Chicago Tribune.

WARSAW — Across the hall and two doors down from the mayor`s office sits the man who decided it was OK for Pope John Paul II to replace a former Communist Party boss. Zbigniew Lewicki also made it possible for Woodrow Wilson to return to Poland. And he found a place for James Joyce in a Warsaw suburb. Lewicki is chairman of the 11-member Special Committee of Street Names, which has been working frantically for nearly a year to wipe the taint of communism from the map of Warsaw.

``Actually, it`s been a very amusing process,`` said Lewicki, a literature professor at Warsaw University. ``You never really know what is going to upset people or what`s going to capture their imagination.``The committee began work last June, a month after Poland`s first free local elections. Since then, 20 street names have been changed and about 100 others are in the process of being changed.``The process is really quite complex,`` Lewicki said. ``Name changes are formally done by the local districts-and we have seven local districts in Warsaw.

``But the local districts can only vote on a name change after it has been approved by the mayor`s office. So, in effect, we have veto power.`` As committee chairman, Lewicki has been quick to use the veto, sometimes in surprising circumstances. Recently, for example, he rejected a proposal to change the name of the street in front of City Hall to the Avenue of Solidarity. ``We vetoed the idea because we didn`t think it was appropriate,`` said Lewicki. ``Ideologically, I admit, it is pretty difficult to reject. But renaming this one Solidarity Avenue would be strictly a propaganda ploy.``

`` We can`t go around renaming everything in honor of Solidarity. I`m not saying there`s anything wrong with it. We just believe it`s slightly inappropriate.``Advocates of Solidarity Avenue still may have their way, however. Lewicki is leaving the committee for a job on the Foreign Ministry`s North American desk.

In any case, the name of the street in front of City Hall is certain to change. It is now named after Karol Swierczewski, a Soviet Red Army general of Polish origin who fought in the Spanish Civil War and became a leading Polish Communist after World War II.

Another prominent postwar Communist, Julian Marchlewski, already has been stripped of his honors. The main north-south street in Warsaw, which bore his name, now is the Avenue of Pope John Paul II.``We made an exception to our rules for the pope,`` said Lewicki.``Normally, no one can have a street named after them unless they have been dead for at least five years. But for a pope who comes from Poland, we made an exception.` The Avenue of Pope John Paul II was among the first to be named after the communists fell from power in August 1989. Another early change was the Square of the Paris Commune, which reverted to its prewar name: Woodrow Wilson Square.

``Most changes so far have been pretty simple,`` Lewicki says. ``As a general rule, we want to honor people who couldn`t be honored under the old regime.`` One obvious example is prewar leader Jozef Pilsudski, whose name has been given to the sprawling square before Poland`s Tomb to the Unknown Soldier. ``That one was a little political because the square used to be known as Victory Square,`` Lewicki said. ``There isn`t anything wrong with having a Victory Square in the middle of Warsaw, but Pilsudski was such an important hero to the Polish people that we decided to approve the name change.``

Unlike most other countries in the former East bloc, Poland managed to avoid having its greatest thoroughfares named after legendary communists. There never has been a Boulevard Marx, Lenin Lane or Engels Avenue.Warsaw briefly had a Stalin Street, but that was changed nearly 35 years ago.
Still, the communists did rename scores of streets and Lewicki`s committee is slowly working its way through the list. ``In most cases, they are simply reverting to their old names,`` said Lewicki.

The square outside the university where the Polish communists held their first congress has been changed from United Workers Square to Polytechnic Square, its prewar name. And Feliks Dzierzynski Place, commemorating the founder of the Soviet secret police, is known again as Bank Square.

Surprisingly, the committee had trouble renaming a street in honor of Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, the now-legendary Solidarity activist who was kidnapped and murdered in 1984. ``We wanted to find a street near his church, but the people didn`t want their addresses changed,`` Lewicki said. ``We finally found a little lane in a suburb near the factory where he was Solidarity chaplain.``

There were problems, too, when someone suggested naming a street after Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the staunchly anti-communist primate of Poland who died in 1981. ``The communists, under great pressure, had already allowed a tiny square to be named for Wyszynski,`` said Lewicki. ``We couldn`t have a street and a square just a few blocks apart with the same name so we named the street Cardinal of the Millennium Street. He was primate during the 1,000th anniversary of Catholicism in Poland. So we got around the problem.``

``Of all the changes, my personal favorite is James Joyce Street,`` said Lewicki with a devilish grin. ``I used to teach Joyce. I`m glad the committee found a place for him.``[/quote]

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Transfer to Borne Sulinowo

Post by henryk » 29 Jun 2016 18:18

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/25940 ... new-museum
Borne Sulinowo is about half way on the line between Szczecin and Gdansk.
Poland plans to transfer Red Army memorials to new museum

Radio Poland 29.06.2016 14:11

Poland is planning to set up an open-air museum of Soviet-era memorials which are being dismantled and removed from locations across the country.

Paweł Ukielski (left). Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

The new display is to be established in Borne Sulinowo, a town in north-western Poland which served as a secret Soviet military base between 1945 and 1992. It was not transferred to Polish jurisdiction until October 1992, several years after the collapse of communism in Poland.

Soviet memorials on Polish soil remain controversial as the liberation of Nazi-occupied Poland by the Red Army towards the end of World War II led to the installation of a Moscow-backed communist regime in Warsaw that endured until 1989. The issue of such monuments sparked sharp exchanges earlier this year between Warsaw and Moscow.

The decision to move so-called memorials of gratitude to the Red Army to Borne Sulinowo was made by Poland’s Institute for National Remembrance. Its deputy head, Paweł Ukielski, told a press conference in Warsaw that Borne Sulinowo, which remained closed to ordinary Poles for decades, is a historically symbolic location and a fitting place for such a display. He said that there are 229 Soviet Army memorials around Poland which could be transferred to the new museum.

Ukielski added that the decision on setting up the Borne Sulinowo display has not been consulted with Russia. “Polish public space is an element of Polish sovereignty and decisions relating to it do not have to be consulted with any of our neighbours.” He added: “There is a Polish-Russian agreement on the preservation of cemeteries and sites of remembrance but it does not cover symbolic ‘memorials of gratitude’.”

According to preliminary plans, the Borne Sulinowo site is to open on 17 September next year, the date when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. (mk/pk)

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Re: Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

Post by henryk » 30 Jun 2016 19:17

http://coldwarsites.net/country/poland/ ... uote]BORNE SULINOWO – THE BIGGEST FORMER SOVIET MILITARY BASE IN POLAND

Borne Sulinowo garrison housed the biggest group of Soviet land forces in Poland. About 25,000 soldiers stationed here in two military towns (Borne Sulinowo and the nearby Klomino) and exercised on the surrounding training ground of about 18,000 hectares. Borne Sulinowo garrison was a closed military base officially excluded from the territory of Poland.

It was built between 1933-1938 by Germans as a military base with testing and training grounds, soldier barracks and The Artillery School of the Wehrmacht. It was officially opened on August 18, 1938 by Adolf Hitler. Named Gross Born at that time, it had strategic importance for the Third Reich.

Borne Sulinowo was not destroyed during World War II. In 1945 it was taken over by the Soviet Army which stayed here for 50 years. Borne Sulinowo garrison became a strategic part of the Northern Group of Forces. The exact number of Soviet soldiers and military equipment of that time is not known. The spy report to CIA revealed that in July 1981 (5 months before the martial law implementation in Poland) the number of T-55, T-64 and T-72 tanks in Borne Sulinowo increased to 1,000.

In 1968 a Missile Brigade with missile launchers R-300 (the equivalent of the American SCUD) was placed near Borne Sulinowo, in Brzeznica colony. In the mid-80ties this unit had 60 atomic bombs.

The last transport of Russian soldiers left Borne Sulinowo railway station on October 21, 1992. Today about 5,000 inhabitants live in Borne Sulinowo and tourism is the key to its development.
[/quote]

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Re: Removal of Soviet Memorials in Poland

Post by henryk » 20 Jul 2017 19:15

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/3172 ... laws[quote]Moscow urges Europe to step in over Polish de-communisation laws

Polish Radio External Service 20.07.2017 15:28

The Duma has urged European parliaments to intervene on Poland’s new laws which allow the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers, a move which Moscow has called a “blasphemous” insult to their memory.

Two-metre tall bust of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin. Photo: Stiopa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Last month, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law “de-communisation laws” banning communist propaganda and allowing monuments which glorify totalitarian regimes to be removed.

“The desire of unscrupulous politicians to rewrite history … is growing before our very eyes,” the Russian parliament, the Duma, said in a statement.

The Duma said Warsaw was undermining Soviet Russia’s “decisive contribution” to driving Nazi German forces out of Poland towards the end of WWII.

“The USSR paid an immense price for the liberation of Poland, losing over 600,000 Soviet soldiers and officers, who died in engagements with the enemy in the territory of Poland and were buried there,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

Poland and Russia in 1994 signed a bilateral deal to protect memorial sites, which Konstantin Kosachev, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, said was interpreted differently in Moscow than Warsaw, Russia’s Kommersant daily said.

Poland’s foreign ministry has in the past said that the deal concerns exclusively war cemeteries.

“In Poland there are 1,875 cemeteries and cemetery sections where Russian and Soviet soldiers are buried,” the Polish foreign ministry has previously said, adding that some PLN 14 million had been spent on their protection in recent years.

But Russia said the deal extends also to symbolic monuments, Kosachev told Kommersant.

Kosachev said Moscow may push for sanctions against Poland.

Polish commentators have highlighted that, in their appeal for “historical accuracy”, the Duma and Russian media have not mentioned the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 which outlined the joint invasion of Poland, Russian crimes against Poles including the 1940 Katyń massacre of 20,000 Polish officers, and over 40 years of totalitarian oppression during the Moscow-backed communist regime in Poland after World War II.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Russia Public Opinion Research Centre found that more than 62 percent of Russians do not oppose monuments to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin being put up.

A separate poll by the Russian Levada Centre found Stalin to be considered Russia’s greatest historical figure by citizens of that country.

Poland’s National Institute of Remembrance, which is tasked with prosecuting crimes against the Polish state, is currently cataloguing sites commemorating Soviet soldiers.

Many monuments will be placed in museums once they are taken down under the new laws. (vb/pk)

Source: IAR, duma.gov.ru, mid.ru
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