Plans to relocate a memorial commemorating the massacre of tens of thousands of Polish officers by the Soviet Union in 1940 is facing opposition here in Jersey City and from the Polish Consulate.
The Katyn memorial, a 34-foot-tall monument depicting a bound-and-gagged soldier impaled in the back by a bayoneted rifle, has been a fixture at Exchange Place since 1991. The city plans to put it in storage during a planned transformation of the Exchange Place plaza into a public park, and the statue may not return to its current location.
Asked to comment, Poland’s ambassador to the United States, Piotr Wilczek, said he is “concerned” about the sudden announcement that the memorial may be moved and by the “lack of dialogue” between the city and the Polish-American community.
“I encourage all involved parties to engage in a productive dialogue so that a solution can be arrived at which does not involve a permanent relocation of the memorial,” Wilczek said.
The park creation is a project of the Exchange Place Special Improvement District. Its chair, Mike DeMarco, who is also CEO of real-estate firm Mack-Cali, said it’s the city’s decision whether the statue remains there after the plaza renovation is complete. His personal preference is that it is moved elsewhere.