Paweł Adamowicz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paweł Adamowicz
Adamowicz in 2018
Mayor of Gdańsk
In office
26 October 1998 – 14 January 2019
Preceded byTomasz Posadzki
Succeeded byAleksandra Dulkiewicz
Personal details
Paweł Bogdan Adamowicz

(1965-11-02)2 November 1965
Gdańsk, Poland
Died14 January 2019(2019-01-14) (aged 53)
Gdańsk, Poland[1]
Manner of deathAssassination by stabbing
Political partyIndependent (2015–2019)
Other political
Liberal Democratic Congress (1990–1994)
Conservative Party (1994–1997)
Conservative People's Party (1997–2001)
Civic Platform (2001–2015)
(m. 1999)

Paweł Bogdan Adamowicz ([ˈpavɛw ˈbɔɡdan adaˈmɔvʲit͡ʂ]; 2 November 1965 – 14 January 2019) was a Polish politician and lawyer who served as the city mayor of Gdańsk from 1998 until his assassination in 2019.[2]

Adamowicz was one of the organizers of the 1988 Polish strikes before becoming the head of the strike committee. In 1990, he was elected to the Gdańsk City Council, chairing the body from 1994 during his second term and holding this post until 1998.[3] He was elected Mayor of Gdańsk in 1998 and reelected in 2002 with 72% of the vote.[4] In 2018, he was reelected as an independent.[5] He was known as a liberal, progressive figure, speaking in support of LGBT rights, immigration, and of minority ethnic groups such as Kashubians.[6]

On 13 January 2019, Mayor Adamowicz was stabbed during a live charity event in Gdansk, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity's 27th Grand Finale, by 27-year-old Stefan Wilmont, a former inmate diagnosed with schizophrenia.[7] Adamowicz died the following day from his injuries, at the age of 53.

Early life and education[edit]

Adamowicz was born in Gdańsk. His parents Ryszard and Teresa were Polish economists, who were moved to Poland from Vilnius, LSSR, in 1946.[8] Paweł later recalled that his parents were suspicious of communism and party propaganda.

"Like many Poles of our generation, [my] brother and I have thus been shaped against the obligatory official history; since childhood we have known not only the sinister wording of the Gestapo abbreviation, but also the NKVD; we perfectly understood what is behind the names of distant places: Kazakhstan, Siberia, Katyn. We hardly saw a place for ourselves in this double world."[8]

He studied law at the University of Gdańsk, where he also rose to prominence as a student movement member. He was one of the organizers of the 1988 strike, becoming the head of the strike committee.[9] Between 1990 and 1993, he served as a vice-rector for student affairs at his alma mater.[3][10]


Adamowicz in 2014

In 1990, Adamowicz was elected a member of the city council in Gdańsk, chairing the council from 1994 in his second term, and holding this post until 1998, when he was elected the Mayor of Gdańsk.[3] On 10 November 2002, he was re-elected with 72% of the vote.[4]

He was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Golden Cross by Pope John Paul II, and the Cross of Merit in 2003 by President Aleksander Kwaśniewski.[11] In 2014, he received the Cross of Freedom and Solidarity in honour of his contributions on behalf of Polish democracy.[12]

In 2018, he was an honorary patron of the 4th Gdańsk Gay Pride Parade, in which he also participated.[13]

In November 2018, Adamowicz ran as an independent candidate for the office of Mayor of Gdańsk and was re-elected for a sixth term, being endorsed by the Civic Platform in the second round and remaining a vocal critic of the current ruling party in Poland, Law and Justice. He was due to serve until 2023.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1999, Adamowicz married Magdalena Abramska, a law student at Gdańsk University whom he met during his studies. She later became a professor of law there. They have two daughters, Antonina (born 2003) and Teresa (born 2010).[5][14]


Assassination of Paweł Adamowicz
LocationGdańsk, Pomorskie Voivodeship, Poland
Date13 January 2019
c. 20:00 (UTC+1)
Attack type
Assassination by stabbing
Deaths1 (Paweł Adamowicz)
MotiveUnclear, possibly mental illness or personal revenge
AccusedStefan Wilmont
Demonstration against violence in Warsaw following the assassination of Adamowicz

On 13 January 2019, Adamowicz was stabbed in the heart and through the diaphragm with a knife on stage at the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity event in Gdańsk and was taken to University Clinical Centre in Gdańsk in critical condition, where he underwent five hours of surgery.[15][16] He succumbed to his injuries the following day.[17][18]

The assassin was apprehended at the scene of the crime. A Gdańsk police spokesman said that the detained man was a 27-year-old Stefan W[ilmont] who lived in the city;[19] the spokesman also stated that the man had a "long criminal history", including four bank robberies.[20] After stabbing the mayor, he seized the microphone and claimed false imprisonment and torture at the hands of the previous centrist Civic Platform (PO) government.[21][22][23] Adamowicz's murder was inadvertently captured on video by the many attendees of the charity event.[24]


Candles arranged in the shape of a heart on the Solidarity Square in Szczecin, 16 January 2019.[25]

On 14 January, thousands attended vigils across Poland to pay their respects to Adamowicz. His widow, Magdalena, who was in London at the time of the assassination, was flown back to Poland by the Polish government.[5]

President Andrzej Duda described the attack as a "hard-to-imagine evil" and stated that the day of Adamowicz's funeral will be observed as a national day of mourning. Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński described the attack as "an act of inexplicable barbarism" and, on Twitter, EU Council President Donald Tusk said, "Paweł Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdańsk, a man of Solidarity and freedom, a European, my good friend, has been murdered. May he rest in peace."[20]

Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, expressed "great sadness" and offered his "deepest condolences" on behalf of the European Commission.[26] The European Parliament held a minute of silence to honour Adamowicz, with President Antonio Tajani speaking of the mayor's "closeness to the people" and "ability to listen".[27] Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, described the attack as "Devastating violence ... for all of us who value public service and open, accessible democracy".[28] Anton Alikhanov, the governor of the neighbouring Kaliningrad Oblast in Russia, expressed his condolences, calling Adamowicz "our great friend" and proclaiming a minute of silence in memory of his death.[29][30] On the day of his funeral, Pope Francis offered his condolences as well as gifts for the family of Adamowicz.[31][32] The mayor of Bremen Carsten Sieling, which Gdańsk is a twin city with, said "we are shocked by the terrifying and cruel death of Paweł Adamowicz". In the city hall a book of condolence was displayed from 14 January through to the 17th.[33]

On 17 January 2019, Zdeněk Hřib, the Mayor of Prague, appealed to the city council to name a street in Prague in honor of Paweł Adamowicz.[34] On 5 June 2019, a promenade in the Riegrovy Sady park in Prague named after Adamowicz was officially inaugurated.[35][36] On 10 October 2019, the city of Athens Award for Democracy, "Honoring those building bridges when others build walls" was presented to the family of the victim by the mayor of Athens K. Bakogiannis.[37][38][39]


Polish Scouts guarding the coffin of Paweł Adamowicz at the European Solidarity Centre prior to the funeral

On 18 January 2019, Adamowicz's coffin was decorated with white flowers and draped with the flag of Gdańsk,[40] before being driven in a hearse from the European Solidarity Centre in the city, past schools, monuments and other places significant to the dead mayor's life. It was watched by thousands of people on screen. When the hearse reached the Church of St Mary, the city's main basilica, the coffin was brought into the church. After a mass, Adamowicz was cremated.[32][41]

On 19 January, the main funeral service was held at St Mary's Church, Gdańsk. Notable people who attended included the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, President of Poland Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, former President of Poland, communist oppositionist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa, former Polish Presidents Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Bronisław Komorowski, and former German President Joachim Gauck. Thousands more Poles watched the service on screens. At the end of the service, Adamowicz's ashes were laid to rest in one of the chapels of St Mary's Church in Gdańsk.[32][41]

Selected awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Funeral Mass for late Gdańsk mayor at noon on Saturday". 16 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Liberal mayor of Poland's Gdansk dies after stabbing". Reuters. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "ULI Belgium Annual Conference" (PDF). Urban Land Institute. 16 May 2017. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Padły bastiony Sojuszu" (fee required). Gazeta Wyborcza (in Polish). 12 November 2002. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  5. ^ a b c d "Who was Pawel Adamowicz?". BBC News. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  6. ^ Regan, Helen; Wells, Stephanie (14 January 2019). "Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz dies after being stabbed in heart on stage". CNN.
  7. ^ "Stefan W. Miał schizofrenię paranoidalną. Ujawniono analizę postępowania lekarskiego | Wiadomości Radio ZET".
  8. ^ a b Wiktor Ferfecki (14 January 2019). "Prezydent Gdańska Paweł Adamowicz nie żyje" [The Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz is dead]. Rzeczpospolita (in Polish). Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  9. ^ Friszke, Andrzej (2006). Solidarność podziemna 1981-1989. Instytut Studiów Politycznych Polskiej Akademii Nauk. p. 261. ISBN 978-83-88490-45-3.
  10. ^ "Paweł Adamowicz życiorys dzieci rodzina – prezydent kadencja". (in Polish). Archived from the original on 1 September 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "Gdańsk – the official site of the city". 5 December 2018. Archived from the original on 5 December 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Notable Deaths – The mayor of Gdansk, Poland, has been assassinated at a charity event". 14 January 2019.
  13. ^ Gałązka, Dariusz (9 May 2018). "26 maja ulicami Gdańska przejdzie Marsz Równości" [On 26 May, the Equality March will pass along Gdańska streets]. (in Polish). Archived from the original on 17 November 2018. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  14. ^ "A 'friend of Jews,' Polish mayor dies after stabbing attack - Diaspora - Jerusalem Post". Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  15. ^ Kozińska, Anna (13 January 2019). "Paweł Adamowicz dźgnięty nożem na scenie WOŚP. Prezydent Gdańska jest w ciężkim stanie" [Paweł Adamowicz stabbed on the scene of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. The Mayor of Gdańsk is in a bad condition]. WP Wiadomości (in Polish).
  16. ^ Szaro, Grzegorz; Dobiegała, Anna (13 January 2019). "Prezydent Gdańska Paweł Adamowicz został dźgnięty nożem na scenie podczas finału WOŚP [AKTUALIZUJEMY]" [The Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz was stabbed on the stage during the finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity [UPDATED]]. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  17. ^ Plucinska, Joanna (14 January 2019). "Mayor of Gdansk dies after stabbing – doctor's statement". Reuters. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  18. ^ Davies, Christian (14 January 2019). "Mayor of Polish city dies after stabbing at charity event". The Guardian.
  19. ^ Pietrzak, Karolina. "Stefan W. usłyszał zarzuty. Nożownik odpowie za zabójstwo Pawła Adamowicza". wiadomosci (in Polish). Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Stabbed Polish mayor dies in hospital". 14 January 2019. Archived from the original on 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  21. ^ GERA, VANESSA. "Doctors fight to save Polish mayor stabbed in heart on stage". idahostatesman.
  22. ^ "Polish mayor dies after being stabbed at charity event". RTÉ. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  23. ^ Davies, Christian (14 January 2019). "Mayor of Polish city dies after stabbing at charity event". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  24. ^ (14 January 2019). "Atak nożownika w Gdańsku". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  25. ^ ""Największe serce świata"– w hołdzie dla Pawła Adamowicza zapłonęły znicze". Radio PiK. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Thousands march across Poland to remember slain mayor". RTÉ.ie. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  27. ^ Skrzypczak, Natalie (14 January 2019). "Deadly attack on Gdansk mayor sparks protests in Poland". Deutsche Presse-Agentur. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Reactions to the death of Gdańsk Mayor". 14 January 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  29. ^ Kaлининград.Ru. В правительстве области почтили минутой молчания память президента Гданьска. (in Russian). Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  30. ^ Костоглодов, Денис. "Наш большой друг": чем запомнился Павел Адамович жителям Калининградской области. (in Russian). Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Papież Franciszek złożył kondolencje rodzinie Pawła Adamowicza" [Pope Francis paid condolences to the family of Paweł Adamowicz]. (in Polish). 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  32. ^ a b c "Pawel Adamowicz: Poland mourns death of stabbed Gdansk mayor". BBC News. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Paweł Adamowicz nie żyje. Zachodni politycy oddają mu cześć. "Druzgocąca strata"" [Paweł Adamowicz is dead. Western politicians worship him. "Devastating loss"]. Gazeta (in Polish). 14 January 2019. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Praga: burmistrz Zdeněk Hřib chce stworzyć ulicę im. Pawła Adamowicza". Onet Wiadomości (in Polish). 21 June 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Prague officially inaugurates street in honour of slain Polish mayor". Kafkadesk. 8 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Praga ma promenadę im. Pawła Adamowicza" [Prague has a promenade named after Paweł Adamowicz]. Rzeczpospolita (in Polish). 5 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  37. ^ Κώστας Μπακογιάννης : «Τιμάμε εκείνους που όταν οι άλλοι ορθώνουν τοίχους, αυτοί χτίζουν γέφυρες» -Το βραβείο Δημοκρατίας της Πόλης των Αθηνών στη μνήμη του δολοφονηθέντος δημάρχου του Γκντάνσκ, Πάβουελ Αντάμοβιτς. City of Athens (in Greek). 11 October 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  38. ^ Σε ειδική εκδήλωση στην Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά ο δήμαρχος Αθηναίων Κώστας Μπακογιάννης θα απονείμει την Πέμπτη 10 Οκτωβρίου στις 20:30 το Βραβείο Δημοκρατίας της Πόλης των Αθηνών.. Athina984 (in Greek). 10 October 2019. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  39. ^ Ο πιο αδυναμος κρικος> (in Greek). 7 August 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  40. ^ In the Gdansk’s Sound of Silence
  41. ^ a b "Paweł Adamowicz: thousands attend Gdańsk mayor's funeral". The Guardian. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  42. ^ "M.P. 2010 nr 98 poz. 1144". (in Polish). Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Paweł Adamowicz Kawalerem Orderu Legii Honorowej" [Paweł Adamowicz, Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor]. (in Polish). 29 September 2012. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Teenetemärkide kavalerid". President of Estonia (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  45. ^ "Paweł Adamowicz honorowym obywatelem Warszawy". (in Polish). Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  46. ^ "Mayor Pawel Adamowicz awarded with dr. Benjamin Barber Award 2019". Retrieved 20 May 2023.

External links[edit]