Polish Warsaw Uprising Mural Vandalized

(Photo by Grzegorz Fryc via Nowy Dziennik)

(Photo by Grzegorz Fryc via Nowy Dziennik)

“It is hard to describe how one feels when looking at the devastation of the mural. That was an act of vandalism that has to be punished,” said Antoni Chroscielewski, World War II veteran, who fought in the battle of Monte Cassino, and who is now a commander of District 2 of the Polish Army Veterans Association of America.

Last Friday morning, the large mural commemorating the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, located on one of the walls of the Polish National Home “Warsaw” in Greenpoint, was vandalized. Three graffiti artists showed up at 4 a.m. and obliterated it with graffiti, painting over the faces of the those who fought in the uprising, as well the anchor – a symbol of the Warsaw Uprising. They came back to the site on Friday afternoon to take photos of themselves in front of the demolished mural. Security guards from the Polish National Home tried to catch them but didn’t manage to.

“The vandals knew very well what they were doing. They must have realized that they were destroying a painting that was so important for the Polish-American community. There was a sign ‘Warsaw Uprising 1944’ written on the original painting along with a short history of the Uprising,” said Grzegorz Fryc from the Pangea Network, who initiated the creation of the mural.

The mural, which commemorates the victims and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, was unveiled three months ago – on Aug. 3, 2014 to mark the 70th anniversary of one of the most notable battles in the Polish history of World War II. The mural was an initiative of the Pangea Network and the Polish Army Veterans Association of America.

“It is scandalous that the devastation of the mural happened just three days after Poland’s Independence Day (celebrated each year on Nov. 11) and American Veterans Day,” Mr. Fryc said in an earlier interview with the Nowy Dziennik.

The vandals signed their graffiti with the so called tags: T.REX, EHC and CIK, which – along with the recording from security cameras – may help the police to identify them.

The NYPD has deployed officers from two elite police special forces units, including the NYPD’s hate crimes unit, on suspicion that the act of vandalism may have been a hate crime.

“This act of vandalism can be compared to the desecration of graves. The mural commemorated thousands of heroes who died in the Warsaw Uprising. It contained the images of the fighters themselves: Richard Kossobudzki – father of the well-known American journalist Rita Cosby, 12-year-old Witold Modelski, who was the youngest fighter to receive the [Polish] order of Virtuti Militari and Julian Kulski, one of the still-surviving fighters,” said Mr. Fryc. He also added that a consoling thing is he gets a lot of emails with support from the Polish Americans and Poles living in Poland.

“We want people to know about what happened. The mural was an important monument for the Polish Americans and we can’t just let it go. We have notified American media and each of us Polish Americans has to raise their voices about this event, just like we protest against the usage of the erroneous phrase “Polish concentration camps.” What happened is an insult directed at each of us,” said Mr. Fryc.

He also told Nowy Dziennik that the painter who created the mural – Rafal Pisarczyk, a Polish-American artist from the New York area – will start working on repainting it this week, although the work will cost some $5,000. The authors plan to unveil the renewed mural in a ceremony.

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