Posted 2005-09-18 13:01 (#28932) Subject: Omni news
Location: Barton Upon Humber
I hope this might be interesting for Polish readers of this forum, and for me it would be interesting to hear their opinion. Actually I'm not surprised about these things going on in Suwalki region - not long ago one could spot grafiti like "litwinow do gazu".
Orginal article: http://www.omni.lt/?i$9359_70693$z_306089
and my translation, sorry for mistakes and possible discrepancies:
„ To commemorate thousands of Polish people, killed in 1941-1944 at Paneriai (Poniary) near Vilnius [...] Executioners were special Lithuanian volunteer’s detachment “Riflemen of Paneriai”, in the service of Nazi security force….” These are the words that appeared on granite monument, that was erected on 9th of September in Poland in Sejny (Seinai) district, Berznyk village’s cemetery.
There is no doubt this was reaction to work at the graves of Lithuanian soldiers, because on 25th of August restoration works started of Lithuanian soldiers, that were killed during 1920 Berzyk battle, graves. For this moment few years had to pass, because that long negotiations and project agreement lasted not only with Polish official institutions, but also with diocese of Elk and local dean. Labourers doing ground work joked that they would expect if not order, than medal for the work in extreme conditions. Above mentioned monument rose next to graves of Lithuanian soldiers. While working in Poland and reading inscription that Lithuanians “carried out execution of thousands of Polish people” they feel uncomfortably, as if they were on the battlefield. But even for non historians it is known, that Lithuanians buried here – from 5th infantry regiment of captain Kazys Skirpa, were soldiers that have nothing to do with the history of World War 2.
A while ago, this place was on the edge of cemetery, covered by bushes. And gravestone of Lithuanian volunteers was modest, built on efforts of local Lithuanians. In 2001 next to Lithuanian soldiers graves monument for Polish legionnaires was built, to commemorate Polish military “Neman” operation against Bolsheviks. But even sober minded Polish people were in doubt that Berznik was the place to choose to commemorate victorious “Neman” operation. There were no Bolsheviks in this area nor fighting with them. Despite historical ambiguities, since 2001 every year end of September Berznik cemetery becomes place of local Polish patriotic manifestations, with high ranking officials from Voevodship and district present.
Lithuanian labourers, carrying out works at cemetery, say they did not expect that work will cause so much stress. Not because of spooks. They’re encountering quite earthly obstacles. Local dean, Wladyslaw Napiorkowski few times locked the gate and insistently requested to stop works. It seemed that Lithuanians are breaching agreements, because works being carried out not as per agreed by both sides project. This was also alleged by bishop of Elk Kaminski and chief of Polish council of Protection of Polish Fight and Suffering Andrzej Przewoznik.
Consulate of Lithuanian Republik in Seinai is of different opinion. According to consul Aušra Černevičienė, Lithuanians are carrying works out according to plans, only problem is, that once works were started in place, it appeared that monument for “Neman” military operation is different from the project that Lithuanian side was adjusting their original project. That is why Lithuanians have no other choice than to build their gravestone 2 metres away. And because of these 2 meters Polish side declared Lithuanians to be in breach with agreement. But Lithuanian diplomats hope that this misunderstanding will be resolved and volunteer’s graves will be restored on time – by the end of this month.
Local Officials “heard nothing”
And newspapers of Podlase voevodship are full of abusive headlines. Lithuanians are described as agressors, enemies, okupants, allies of Bolsheviks, and on recently built monuments for Poniary victims – as Nazi helpers. By the way, for the sake of clarity – not a single Pole from Seinai district died in Poniary, as well as not a single Pole that was killed there is buried at Berznik cemetery. So what purpose was to build such monument next to the graves of Lithuanian soldiers that died decades before Poniary events?
Local officials when ask to comment whether this was the best place for such monument, claim they never heard about this monument. Nor zealous supervisor of cemetery, Berznyk’s dean W. Napiorkowski wished to answer this question. The head of Seinai district, where every third inhabitant is of Lithuanian origin, Marian Luto, one week after monument was built claimed not to know anything of what is going on at Berznyk cemetery. Bishop of Elk Kaminski and Seinai town and local council officials know nothing about it. And the head of PR dept of Podlasia voevodship A. Kaminski, who visited Lithuanian graves at Berznik and could not not to see only a 1 meter away built monument, says he cannot remember content of inscription and therefore cannot comment.... Only head of council of Polands Fight and Suffering A. Przewoznik, with whom Vilnius negotiated restoration of soldier’s graves admits that it is very bad thing to happen, that such monument with such inscription was erected next to the graves of Lithuanian soldiers
Local Lithuanians have no doubts that this very unfriendly and deliberate act against Lithuania and Lithuanian people. And they’re looking for what reaction will follow from Lithuania, because when recently a causing danger post (commemorating Polish soldiers) was demolished in Varena, Česlovas Juršėnas himself rushed to Warsaw to settle it.
There were talks earlier that Presidents of both countries will be present for the ceremony of unveiling of Lithuanian volunteer’s monument. But now, when next to Lithuanian soldier graves stand out such a provocative monument, is it possible?