Polish president visits Jersey City to say he’d prefer Katyn monument to stay where it is

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Two days after Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced that the Katyn Monument will be moved from Exchange Place to the end of York Street, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda journeyed to the city to tell Fulop personally he’d prefer the city not move the memorial.

Before the president arrived, Fulop was joined by local officials including city council members James Solomon, Jermaine Robinson and President Rolando Lavarro.

Jersey City Ward C Rich Boggiano was in attendance after he and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun held a press conference at City Hall to say that the monument should stay put at Exchange Place.

As Fulop said at his own press conference on Monday when he announced an agreement with the Polish community to relocate the monument in a yet-to-be constructed park at the end of York Street, he said that the memorial just doesn’t align anymore with the plaza’s usage for the past 20 years’ worth of festivals, celebrations and other “happy occasions.”

While still waiting for the president to arrive, Fulop approached the media tent protecting the media from the rain while holding a miniature replica of the Katyn Monument.

We asked the mayor what his words would be to the Polish President.

“We’re going to welcome him, we’re glad to have him here today in Jersey City. We’re going to give him this gift on behalf of the people of Jersey City,” Fulop said.

When the president finally arrived, the mayor presented him with a wreath that the President then laid down at the base of the monument. They spoke briefly, and just like that the president was whisked away by a caravan of police vehicles.

We had an opportunity to catch up with the mayor at the end of the event, having to leave the security perimeter to reach him along the waterfront.

As Polish and American media rushed towards the area to ask questions, we were the first to ask the mayor what the Polish president said to him.

“He was very direct, he stated his preference that the monument stays where it is, and he said that under the circumstances if that is not possible, the most important thing is that [the monument] is in a dignified and respected location. So he was very direct and straightforward,” Fulop stated.

Not long after the event finished, U.S Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) issued a press release regarding the Katyn memorial – not much of a surprise given the current state of the civil war between Hudson Dems, where Fulop and Sires are on opposite sides.

Sires, along with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), introduced a resolution to “recognize the memorials and monuments to the Katyn Massacre as important historical reminders of the heinous acts that took the lives of approximately 22,000 innocent Polish prisoners of war.”

“Memorials have been erected around the country, including in Jersey City, to honor the tens of thousands of victims of the Katyn Massacre that occurred in 1940,” Sires said.

“They stand as not only a remembrance to the victims, but as an irreplaceable reminder for all Americans of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes.”

We live streamed the entire event to our Facebook Page, narrating developing events as they unfolded:

Polish President Andrzej Duda’s visits the Katyn memorial in Jersey City with Mayor Fulop and local officials.

Posted by Hudson County View on Wednesday, May 16, 2018