On Sept. 8, the Jersey City, N.J., Council approved the $3.75 million Exchange Place Alliance Special Improvement District (EPASID) budget to renovate the area surrounding the Katyn Memorial in Jersey City. The vote was 6 in favor, 1 opposed and 1 abstention.
The design plans have caused great controversy in the Polish American community. In August, the Polish American Congress (PAC) issued a statement calling for the officials in Jersey City to meet with the Polish community to discuss concerns that the memorial, and its message, were being minimized. Some even suggested the new design would “bury” the memorial.
The statement read, “The PAC supports efforts to improve the appearance and accessibility of Exchange Place, but it should not be done in such a manner as to diminish the Memorial and what it represents. The PAC strongly urges Mayor Steven Fulop, and the Jersey City Council to sit down with members of the Polish Community to discuss the plans and listen to the legitimate concerns being raised by our community.”
The PAC stands by its statement and again asks that elected officials in Jersey City meet with the Polish Community and find common ground and seek a satisfactory resolution.
The memorial was unveiled in Exchange Place to commemorate the victims of the Katyn Massacre by the Soviet Union in 1940. The Katyń Memorial is a 34-foot-tall bronze statue created by Polish-American sculptor Andrzej Pitynski. The Memorial is a striking symbol of the brutality of the Soviet Union against the Polish Nation and its people during World War II, and by extension to the millions of victims of communist regimes.