The statue of Father Jerzy Popiełuszko in Greenpoint was vandalized. The perpetrators placed trash all around the statue. Additionally, the head of Father Popiełuszko’s statue was covered with a plastic trash bag.
Additionally, there were anti-Polish slogans written on the statue, and a specific moustache was drawn on Father Popieluszko’s face – a clear reference to Hitler’s moustache – as described by Consul General of Poland in New York Adrian Kubicki, who was present at the scene on May 5.
The statue is placed in the park between Nassau Ave. and Bedford Ave. in the heart of Greenpoint. It commemorates Father Jerzy Popiełuszko – a hero and embodiment of resistance to the Polish population. But as Consul General Kubicki said, Father Popiełuszko represents many values that should be understood by all New Yorkers. “Having any nazi or anti-Polish signs written on a statue like this, should be shameful for all New Yorkers. We should all make sure this will never happen again.”
Father Popiełuszko was a priest, fighting against communism in Poland. He was associated with the Solidarity Movement. Because of his actions as an oppositionist, he was murdered by the communists. He is recognized as martyr by the Roman-Catholic Church. He was beatified in 2010.
The incident in Greenpoint occurred on Monday – May 3. This day is commemorated as the Constitution Day in Poland. It also is the Feast of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland.
St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Greenpoint, who announced the vandalism on their Facebook page, claims, that similar incidents occurred in the past, but there has been very little response from the City. The Church claims that in the past, there was no adequate response from the police, and the City’s park services are never interested in taking care of the square.
On Wednesday, the NYPD Hate Crime Unit published the following message, ensuring they are investigating the incident.
Radio RAMPA reached out to local representatives to ask about their intervention and comment. The Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher, representing Greenpoint in the NY State Assembly, said: “Father Jerzy Popiełuszko was a hero not only to Polish people around the world but to anyone who cares about the struggle for workers rights, human rights, and religious freedom. My heart breaks at the desecration of this beautiful monument in McCarren Park. Poland’s history is Greenpoint’s history, too, and our cherished Polish community has my profound solidarity. I hope we can swiftly get to the bottom of this incident and I urge anyone with information to share it with the 94th precinct.” When asked by Radio RAMPA if Assemblywoman will be pressing on the investigation, she replied “Absolutely. We will reach out to the 94th Pct and the Hate Crimes Division.”
Consul General Adrian Kubicki said, he has already taken steps to ensure the square will be cleaned up and that similar situations will not happen in the future. He will seek to have monitoring system installed in the square. “Installing monitoring system in other places like this, prevented similar situations from occurring again.” He also reached out to the Polish youth gathered around Polish supplementary schools. He said he got a confirmation, they will volunteer to keep an eye on the square.
ADDITION: on Wednesday evening, Polish-Slavic Federal Credit Union declared they are ready to cover the cost of the clean up, as well as installing the monitoring system in the square.” PSFCU is the biggest financial institution serving Poles outside of Poland, as well as the biggest ethnic federal credit union in the US.
As of the time when this article was published, there was no response from Councilman Steven Levin, representing Greenpoint in NYC Council. Radio RAMPA also reached out to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams – we got confirmation the message was received, but Mr. Adams has not replied yet.