Katyń Memorial (Jersey City)
Katyń Memorial in Jersey City
|Dimensions||10 m (34 ft)|
|Location||Jersey City, New Jersey|
The Katyń Memorial is dedicated to the victims of the Katyn massacre in 1940. Created by Polish-American sculptor Andrzej Pitynski, the memorial stands at Exchange Place in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, near the mouth of the Hudson River along the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.
Unveiled in June 1991, a 34-foot-tall (10-meter) bronze statue of a soldier, gagged and bound, impaled in the back by a bayoneted rifle, stands atop a granite base containing Katyn soil. It commemorates the massacre of over twenty thousand Polish POWs by order of Joseph Stalin in April and May 1940 after Soviet Union troops had invaded eastern Poland. The event came after the partition of Poland between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia resulting in the occupation of the nation during World War II. The eastside of the pediment has a bronze relief depicting the starvation of Poles deported in a mass ethnic cleansing program imposed on over a million Polish citizens, carried out by the Soviet occupying authorities who sent them in cattle trucks to Siberia. Many never returned.
Plaque commemorating victims of September 11 attacks
After the September 11 attacks a plaque was unveiled on the front side of the pediment, saying:
- NEVER FORGET! PRAY FOR ALL THE INNOCENT VICTIMS AND HEROES WHO DIED IN THE TERRORIST ATTACK ON AMERICA SEPTEMBER 11, 2001
In April 2018, it was announced that there were plans to remove the memorial as Exchange Place was to be made into a park. Mike DeMarco, chair of the Exchange Place Special Improvement District, was quoted by The Jersey Journal as being in favor of the removal calling the statue was "politically incorrect" and "I don't think the statue's appropriate for a major metropolitan area ... [The monument is] a little gruesome ... I can't imagine how many mothers go by and have to explain it to their children." In a tactical move in November the mayor withdrew his support of the plan.
Following opposition by Polish-Americans and Polish officials, this plan has now been rescinded and it has been agreed that the monument will be relocated 200 feet away but will remain on the waterfront in a location that is both dignified and practical. Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, visited the monument, and had a brief exchange with Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop about the relocation of the monument on May 16, 2018.
On December 20, 2018, the eight-member Jersey City Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that the monument remain where it stands in Exchange Place “in perpetuity”.
Polish president's visit
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- Stoltzfus, Duane (June 6, 1991). "Statue Erected as Memorial to Katyn Massacre". The Record (Bergen County, NJ). Archived from the original on November 4, 2012.
- "Katyn 9/11 Memorial". flickr.com. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Uroczystość odsłonięcia Tablicy Pamiątkowej wmurowanej w cokół Pomnika Katyńskiego w Jersey City w Stanie New Jersey - seria zdjęć wykonana w dniu 12 września 2004". polishamericancongressnj.org. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Polish president to be remembered tonight at Jersey City vigil". nj.com. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "Polish president is killed in plane crash in Russia". nj.com. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- "N.J. Polish community mourns loss of president, leaders". nj.com. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
- Rojas, Rick (May 11, 2018). "Jersey City Argues Over a Statue, and Politicians in Poland Weigh In". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
- "Polish president meets with mayor on statue removal dispute". The Associated Press. May 16, 2018.
- Post-midnight, Jersey City council ends nine-month Polish statue mess. Finally.
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