The court: communistic symbols are not monuments and should be pulled down

Posted in the Poland Forum


Kraków, Poland

#1 Jul 12, 2013
Two young people on 17 September 2011 (on the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland) threw paint on two Warsaw monuments “Soviet-Polish brotherhood of arms”(called by Warsaw people “Four sleepers”) at Wilenski square and “Gratitude towards Red Army” in Skaryszewski park and placed inscriptions “The Red Plague” on them.

The Warsaw court dealing with the case, stated that according to the law, these are not monuments, because these are symbols of repression and torment by the communist repression apparatus, symbols of the Soviet occupation. Since these are not monuments, they should be pulled down.

According to the Article 261 of the Polish Criminal Code
Whoever profanes a monument or other public place commemorating a historic event or honour a person shall be subject to a fine or the penalty of restriction of liberty.

The judge Ewa Grabowska dismissed the case of the men who painted the obelisks. She admitted that the men devastated the obelisks but according to the law these objects are not monuments. Both objects stir up controversy amongst historians and Warsaw citizens. For some these are symbols of communism for others the falsified testimony in the Polish history, when the Red Army didn’t help the Warsaw Uprising.” The judge emphasized that the “Four sleepers” is situated near the buildings, where the Soviet security services repressed the Polish people connected with the pro-independent underground activity, for example near the obelisk was the War Tribunal, Public Security Office, and NKVD camps (prisons).

It is hardly to imagine that the repression scale conducted in these objects persuade the citizens of Warsaw to the sense of gratitude. The court went into the case deeply and came to a conclusion that both objects “Soviet-Polish brotherhood of arms” and “Gratitude towards Red Army”, which were insulted by the accused men can’t be recognized as monuments as defined by the art 261 of the Polish Criminal Code,(…) According to the court the objects can’t be defined as monuments, because only objects which were erected to commemorate events or a person that deserve the honour are protected by law, explains judge Grabowska.

Many monuments testifying to the former era have disappeared from our landscape, in the present political realities. Also the objects “Soviet-Polish brotherhood of arms” and “Gratitude towards Red Army”should be pulled down, the more so because the motions have already been tabled two times. The fact that the objects still exist, does not elevate them to the monument rank and don’t justify their legal- criminal protection, said Grabowska.


Kraków, Poland

#2 Jul 12, 2013
On 10 July 2012 the patriotic circles who since 1990 have been trying to remove the monument in honour of the Red Army in Katowice, organized a symbolic farewell party for the monument. The organizers were brutally pacified by the police who defended the monument in honour of the invaders of Poland, the symbol of dishonour and enslavement. One of the oppositionists during PRL times was strangled unconscious by a police officer and taken to the hospital.

I wonder what will be the decision of the court in this case.

Kraków, Poland

#3 Jul 23, 2013
The prosecutor's office defends in a brotherly way the monument to "Four sleepers".

District Prosecutor's Office for Warszawa–Praga Polnoc has appealed from a decision of the court, which dismissed the case of painting the monument to "Four sleepers" in the Warszawa–Praga district. The court decided then that according to the law, similar communistic symbols in Poland are not monuments and should be pulled down. The prosecutor's office doesn't agree with this argumentation.

- There is no definition of a monument described by a law. Every building, every architectural structure, every thing which has to commemorate a specific person or historical event can be a monument, claims the prosecutor's office.


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