Statement on 11 December Jersey City Referendum on the Katyń Monument

The purpose of this statement is to correct several wrong views about the coming referendum on the future of Andrzej Pityński’s Katyń Monument, which proudly stands in Exchange Place, Jersey City, New Jersey.

On December 11, 2018 approximately 25,000 Jersey City residents are expected to vote in a referendum to decide if the June 14, 2018 decision of the Jersey City Council to move the Katyń Monument from its present location in Exchange Place to the foot of York Street should be repealed. A “yes” vote to repeal moving the monument to York Street ensures that Pityński’s masterly sculpture will remain where it now stands in Exchange Place.

The only way that the monument could be moved from Exchange Place in the future is if the Jersey City Council, in defiance of public opinion, votes to do so. This is most unlikely and will be met with strong resistance.

Members of other ethnic organizations, who support a “yes” vote, already have opened their check books to help win the referendum. Polish Americans have not done so, because they wrongly believe to be true falsehoods publicized by media based in Poland.

The following three broadly publicized “fake facts” are not true. These “fake facts” discourage and demoralize Polish Americans, and this dissuades them from contributing money to win the referendum to keep Pityński’s Katyń Monument in Exchange Place.

  1. It is not true that movement of the Katyń Monument from Exchange Place to York Street is a done deal. There is not and never was a plausible plan to move the Monument to the foot of York Street. Mayor Fulop was not negotiating in good faith.
  2. It is not true that the contracts are signed to move the Katyń Monument, whatever may be the result of the 11 December 2018 Referendum.
  3. It is not true that either the Katyń Monument moves to the foot of York Street, or the monument goes into storage.
  4. It is not true that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop kept his promise to explain/apologize to the Marshal of the Polish Senate, Stanisław Karczewski, MD., for tweeting that this high Polish elected official, known for his humanitarianism, is in fact: “an asshole, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier.” Why should we trust Mayor Fulop?

All four of these widely believed “fake facts” are false. Now that you know the truth, please open your checkbooks to fund publicity and get-out-the-vote efforts so the “yes” vote will win in the 11 December Referendum, and this will ensure that the Katyń Monument stays where it is, in Exchange Place, where all may see it, and NOT at the foot of York Street where it will be nearly invisible.

Polish Americans who want to keep the Katyń Monument in Exchange Place have set up a coalition with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups. The Coalition to Re-Purpose Exchange Place as Freedom Plaza challenges the selfish and greed propelled project of Mayor Fulop and the Exchange Place Alliance. They want to build two driveways to service the luxury hotels which flank Exchange Place, and an upscale outdoor restaurant where the Katyń Monument now stands. Freedom Plaza must continue to be the venue where on the Fourth of July the people celebrate Independence Day with commemorations and fireworks. Mayor Fulop and the Exchange Place Alliance want to make the future Exchange Place a paradise for plutocrats, by excluding the people from this beautiful place on the waterfront.

Moreover, the position of the Polish American Congress has remained steadfast since President Frank J. Spula first wrote to Mayor Fulop in the spring of 2018: Andrzej Pityński’s Katyń Monument must remain in Exchange Place. President Spula told me that he was honored to receive an invitation to speak at the Polish Flag Raising at 2 p.m. on Monday, 5 November 2018 at Jersey City Hall, and our President expressed his best wishes for the success of this event, but previous engagements prevent him from coming to Jersey City. Nevertheless, President Spula will be with us in spirit on 5 November at the Polish Flag Raising.

Let us be numerous at Jersey City Hall at 2 p.m. on Monday, November 5, 2018 for the Polish Flag Raising.

 

John Czop

Director of Policy Planning

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