It weren't the ‘Nazis’ that the Home Army fought
On the anniversary of the landing on the beaches of Normandy, Angela Merkel said that “the Americans and the British liberated us.” “Us,” meaning whom? The Germans? And from what? Who invaded Germany so that the Americans had to liberate it? This is an aberration,” says Adam Borowski, a social activist and participant in a recent campaign to replace the word “Nazis" with “Germans” on plaques commemorating WWII-era crimes in Warsaw.
Translator’s note: In this translation, the term “Nazi” has been used to refer to the Polish-language word “Hitlerowcy”, which refers to “the followers of Hitler”, a term not commonly used in Poland before the end of the 1940s.
TVP WEEKLY: You covered the word “Nazis” on Warsaw plaques commemorating crimes during WWII with a small adhesive foamcore board saying "Germans”. The event took place on October 2, 2021, after which the capital's conservator of historical monuments, Michał Krasucki, filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office. A few days ago the prosecutor found that no crime was actually committed. The liberal Gazeta Wyborcza wrote: “They destroyed the memorial plaques, they will remain unpunished. The prosecutor's office is kind to pro-government vandals from the [conservative] 'Gazeta Polska'.
ADAM BOROWSKI: First of all, the issue does not concern “Gazeta Polska”. A total of 12 people participated in our protest event, and I was the only representative of the "GP" clubs. I took part in this event as a representative of the former Solidarity Underground. It was organised by distinguished activists from the 1970s and 1980s, so our activity had nothing to do with the "Gazeta Polska" clubs.
Secondly, I consider it praise that "Gazeta Wyborcza" writes about me in such a way. The paper was founded to serve the entire anti-communist opposition. Since then, it has been appropriated exclusively by one political side... I have no respect for it and do not care about its opinions.
Third, we didn't destroy these plaques. We pasted stickers on them with inscriptions to reflect the original intentions of their designer, Karol Tchorek. Immediately after he made the design [in 1949 - ed.], the GDR was created, which – from the perspective of the Communists – represented the so-called “good Germans”. Therefore, the term “Nazis” [“Hitlerowcy”] was invented. And this was the term used on the aforementioned plaques. But after all, the Home Army did not fight “the Nazis”. In the same way, cafes and streetcars during the occupation were not for “the Nazis”, but “only for Germans.”
The term "Nazis" is therefore false. That's why we decided to restore the actual perpetrators of the crime to the plaques.
Andrzej Gelberg, former head of "Solidarity Weekly," the initiator and coordinator of the aforementioned protest event carried out on the 77th anniversary of the surrender of the Warsaw Uprising, said that the pasted-over words were corrections to the plaques.
Yes, they were corrections. The event was to restore some order, based on the truth that not Nazis, but Germans, were responsible for the crimes. We divided into groups. We pasted stickers with the correct inscription on 146 plaques, which took us two hours.
Gelberg said the stickers were made by professionals.
They were aesthetically pleasing. Of course, they stood out from the sandstone from which the plaques are made. It was clearly visible that they had been glued on, as the inscriptions on the plaques were carved in, while our plaques were flat. But this had the advantage that the name of the real perpetrators of the crime immediately caught the eyes of Warsaw residents.
However, it turned out that the glue we used came off the surface of the plaques quite easily. City services eagerly removed our stickers – and today they again have false content.
We did not damage the historic plaques. Calling us vandals is silly. Besides, why doesn't "Gazeta Wyborcza" write anything about vandals when churches are being vandalised? On the one hand, it takes up the subject of the "PiS prosecutor's office," which has not seen fit press charges, and on the other hand, it does not mention the “judges of the [opposition] Civic Platform” who see nothing wrong with "Grandma Kasia" humiliating and shoving officers, attacking political opponents, or that vandals from the Citizens of Poland [poltical group] walk over the Monument to the Victims of the Smolensk Tragedy. These are double standards. What, according to "GW," should I have done? Pay for the plaques I did not destroy?
”Wyborcza” writes that City Hall's spending on repairing the plaques has already exceeded PLN 60,000 [EUR 13,500].