Katyn Memorial, Jersey City

Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz.

Katyn Memorial, Jersey City

Andy Urban

Located on the Hudson River waterfront at Exchange Place in downtown Jersey City, the Katyn Memorial depicts a bayonet being thrust through a Polish soldier’s back. The statue and accompanying plaques memorialize the Polish soldiers, government officials, and civilians murdered by the Soviet Union during the 1939 Katyn Forest massacre.

I was initially struck by the fact that a monument to a distant, relatively obscure event in European history, is so prominently displayed in Jersey City. Historically, however, Jersey City’s large Polish-American community was vocal in protesting Soviet control of Poland.

Finally, this memorial prompted me to think about what monuments are not present in Jersey City. There is no statue, for example, commenting on the horrors of the African slave trade. There is a statue to José Rizal, the Filipino revolutionary and martyr, but it is not as prominent.

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About urba0090

is an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the American Studies and History departments at Rutgers University.
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