Page 1

16.12.2018 – 15.09.2019


Exhibition in the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture

Central and Eastern Europe 1918–2018

ISBN 978-83-7100-436-0

2 MONUMENT. Central and Eastern Europe 1918–2018 Director of the National Museum in Warsaw Prof. Jerzy Miziołek Chief Curator of the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture Agnieszka Tarasiuk Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture in Królikarnia Division of the National Museum in Warsaw 16 December 2018 – 15 September 2019 Team of curators headed by Agnieszka Tarasiuk Hubert Czerepok, Ania Miczko Academic council Prof. Waldemar Baraniewski, PhD Irena GrzesiukOlszewska, Piotr Nowicki, PhD Krzysztof Pijarski Research team Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Zuzanna Derlacz, PhD Mischa Gabowitsch, Alicja Gzowska, PhD Irena Ławrowska, Prof. Paweł Machcewicz, Marek Matyjanka, Prof. Hana Pichova, PhD Piotr Przybyła, Michał Siarek, PhD Magda Szcześniak, Joanna Torchała, Anna WandzelGubańska, Sylwia Zaremba, Ewa Ziembińska Historical consultation PhD Błażej Brzostek Exhibition design Elżbieta Młynarczyk, Hubert Czerepok, Agnieszka Tarasiuk Exhibition production Ewa Kozik, Zofia Jakubowicz-Prokop, Konrad Schiller Lighting Krzysztof Radziwiłłów Graphic design Jerzy Gruchot, Wojciech Koss / Full Metal Jacket Editing and proofreading Hermina Haintze, Aleksandra Kardaczyńska, Charlie Smith, Anna Wandzel-Gubańska Translation Ewa Kanigowska-Gedroyć, Anna-Maria Tymosz, Maryja Łucewicz-Napałkow, Alena Trafimava, Anna Wandzel-Gubańska Publication editors Agnieszka Tarasiuk, Ania Miczko Education programme Barbara Kaliciuk, Konrad Schiller Promotion Antoni Burzyński Team of the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture Mariusz Grzelak, Monika Janicka, Małgorzata Kowalczuk, Anna Maciąga, Andrzej Urbaniak

Artists Hubert Czerepok, Xawery Dunikowski, Vitaly Faddeev, Józef Gosławski, Artur Grottger, Włodzimierz Gruszczyński, Władysław Hasior, Maria Jarema, Jan Matejko, Ivan Meštrović, Stanisław Noakowski, Henryk Nowodworski, Bohdan Pniewski, Zbigniew Pronaszko, Valentina Stevanovska, Alina Szapocznikow, Michał Szudrawski, Stanisław Szukalski, Jan Świderski, Henryk Uziembło, Henryk Wiciński, Andrzej Wróblewski, Elżbieta Wyrożemska, Zygmunt Vogel, team of architects and sculptors: Andrea and Pietro Cascella, Julio Lafuente, team of architects and sculptors: Oskar Hansen, Zofia Hansen, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Edmund Kupiecki, Julian Pałka, Tadeusz Plasota, Lechosław Rosiński Photographers Karol Breyer, Antoni Brzozowski, Kazimierz Chromiński (tableau Bohaterów Warszawy), Hans-Joachim Gerke, Piotr Molęcki, Stanko Nedelkovski, Edmund Pepliński, Karol Pęcherski, Henryk Podębski, Stoyan Sertev, Michał Siarek, Zbyszko Siemaszko, Pavle Stevanovski, Wolfgang Thaler, and unknown authors



4 Introduction Agnieszka Tarasiuk 8 Józef Piłsudski. The history of a Warsaw monument Ewa Ziembińska 14 Patron-client networks and the making of Soviet war memorials Mischa Gabowitsch

The objects and documents presented come from the collections of the following institutions The Archives of Modern Records in Warsaw, The Central Archives of Historical Records, State Archives in Gdańsk, State Archives in Katowice, State Archives in Opole, State Archives in Suwałki, Belarussian Archives of Scientific and Technical Documentation, Main Library of Warsaw University of Technology, Bundesarchiv, Czech National Archives in Prague, Institute of National Remembrance, Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Science, Brest Fortress Museum, The Town of Sejny, Museum of Architecture in Wrocław, Upper Silesian Museum in Bytom, Museum of the History of Poland, National Museum in Kraków, National Museum in Warsaw, Poster Museum in Wilanów – division of the National Museum in Warsaw, Sculpture Museum in Królikarnia – division of the National Museum in Warsaw, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Dr Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane, Museum of Warsaw, Polish Press Agency/Czech Press Agency (PAP/ČTK), National Digital Archives, State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau, Polish Society of Authors and Composers (ZAiKS)

18 Geohardware. The (post) monumental landscape of St Anne Mountain Piotr Przybyła

Partners Polish Foundation of Modern Art, Institution of Polish Culture of University of Warsaw, National Digital Archives, National Centre for Culture, PKP Intercity, TVP Kultura

40 Fortress by the Bug river Irena Ławrowska

24 Lenin from Jedwabne Paweł Machcewicz 28 The Demolition of a Monument Built for Eternity Hana Pichova 34 The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia– now and then Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Sylwia Zaremba

44 Competition for the monument in Auschwitz-Birkenau Unrealised projects. Irena Grzesiuk-Olszewska 48 Monuments by Vojin Bakić Zvanko Maković 54 Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers Magda Szcześniak 58 Skopje 2014 Marek Matyjanka 62 Exhibition THE MONUMENT. Central and Eastern Europe 1918–2018 64

Educational Program


Introduction When on an Eastern morning a Dutch seaman, Jacob Roggeveen, moored his ship to the shore of the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui, the first thing he saw was a rather uninviting barren steppe inhabited by a small and poorly organised community. The mysterious monuments – stone giants scattered on the slopes of the dormant volcanoes stood in stark contrast to the apparently low level of the island’s civilizational development and revealed the past grandeur of this piece of land lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Agnieszka Tarasiuk

Duché de Vancy, Population de l’île de Pâques et statues Moai lors de la visite de l’expédition La Pérouse en 1786, print., French Digital Library


To the Christian world, which often treats alien traditions and names with a certain reluctance, the island has since been known as Easter Island, and its history has provided an endless source of tales that cross the intersection of science and imagination. The Swiss writer Erich von Däniken suggested that it was a site of extra-terrestrial activity. The Norwegian ethnographer, Thor Heyerdahl, set out on a rafting trip from Peru to the Oceania in order to prove that Easter Island had once been reached by the pre-Columbians. The American bio-geographer, Jared M. Diamond, in his 2005 publication titled Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed1, proves that the first settlers on the island and the ancestors of its 18th century inhabitants came from Asia. The remains of ships and wooden structures that have been discovered prove that there were forests on the medieval island of Rapa Nui which were the source of timber and game, and analysis of middens has shown that the diet of the then residents was rich in the meat of marine mammals. In the peak phases of its development, the local community was supposedly divided into twelve organisational units, the territories of which divided up the island like a wedding cake. There was fierce rivalry among the clans, the main object for this being the moai – the huge statues made of volcanic rock erected to testify to the power of a given clan. A society that was able to undertake such monumental challenges must have had the ability to effectively utilize the natural resources and was most probably also very hierarchical and technically savvy. The skill to sculpt, move and erect these monuments, which weigh many tons, possessed by people who did not have cranes, metal tools – not to mention the wheel – is surely something to be admired. The scale of the statues is fascinating (the tallest, which was never completed, is 22 metres in height and weighs over 250 tons), as is their number (over four hundred), though their form seems somewhat monotonously repetitive. Over the period of six hundred years of the moai phenomenon no new style or departure from the canon has ever been observed. The empty eye sockets add no expression to the faces and when, in 1990, despite there being no archaeological justification for doing so, colour eyeballs were inserted in the sockets of one of the figures, the results were more than horrid and comparable only to a failed image of a deceased Mickey Mouse. It is not the artistic expression of the moai that has for years intrigued researchers, but the huge effort of the creators and the mechanical repetitiveness of the hundreds of found objects. As if they were evidence of the madness of an entire community that could not control its compulsion to erect symbols of their potency. Diamond believed that overexploitation finally led to the extinction of edible animal species on the island and the over-working of soil left it

barren. Once all the trees were felled, there was no more timber to build ships, thus putting an end to deep-sea fishing. The abused natural environment degraded and the lack of basic resources caused the fall of social structures, depopulation and regress. Yet the weakening people of Rapa Nui built ever-bigger statues. In the end, in an act of final convulsion, they began to destroy what they had produced instead of continuing to create that which would be a gesture against all their adversaries. The 18th c. explorers found the colossi overturned and incomplete. The modern reconstructions of entire platforms or the attempts to add spark to the statues by introducing colour are intended to boost the tourist attractiveness of this otherwise barren island located over 2 thousand kilometres from the nearest inhabited piece of land. Despite the example of Easter Island may seeming a somewhat remote and exotic point of reference for reflections on Central and Eastern Europe, there is a certain similarity: in both cases competing social groups were ready to erect monumental sculptures as symbols of their domination and tear down objects built by their rivals. These political battles in stone have accompanied all the abrupt changes that Europe has experienced in the past hundred years. After the end of World War I, a number of new states were established: monuments were used as tools to form the collective identity of their citizens. The mechanisms for replacing old monuments with new ones have always been similar, regardless of the cause and nature of the authority that used them. As Mischa Gabowitsch mentions in his text, the Leninist plan of monument-based propaganda had assumed – from the initial years of the Soviet Union onwards – the replacement of all the Tsarist statues with new Communist ones. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the German communities and diasporas around the world erected 250 towers glorifying Otto von Bismarck. After the death of Józef Piłsudski, a series of reproductions were published in Warsaw presenting the Marshall’s portrait drawn in the ridge of the Giewont mountain, with a caption stating that the mountain was “a 1894.4 metre-tall monument sculpted by nature”2. There were even plans to use explosives to make the peak resemble Piłsudski’s profile even more closely. Ewa Ziembińska has charted the history of the competition for Piłsudski’s’ monumental statue, construction of which was made impossible by the outbreak of World War II. Even in the direst years of the war, the occupiers still managed to find the means and resources to erect monuments. In 1940, a several-metre tall letter V with the sentence “Deutchland siegt an allen Fronten” (Germany wins on all fronts) was placed in many of the European city squares. However, it is the Red Army that infamously prevails in monument erection – an activity that went in parallel to Soviet warfare activities.

1 J.M. Diamond, Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Nowy Jork 2005. 2 Zygmunt Sowa-Sowiński (1908-1954), Giewont as a portrait of Józef Piłsudski, 1936, black and white reproduction on paper, 49,5 x 68,5, inv. No. S/242/MT, The Tatra Museum in Zakopane

Agnieszka Tarasiuk


In 1939, the eastern borderland of Poland occupied by the Soviet Union was immediately marked by dozens of prefabricated monuments of Lenin and Stalin. In his text, “Lenin from Jedwabne”, Paweł Machcewicz describes the role that one of the occupying monuments of the leaders of the revolution played in a mass murder. After World War II, when the region of Central and Eastern Europe found itself in the sphere of influence of the USSR, monument propaganda also spread out into the Eastern Bloc countries. Today, these objects connected with past Soviet domination are sources of understandable controversy and are torn down, moved to the so-called remembrance parks, or turned into things of a different meaning. Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczak has described a history of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, which has been repainted a number of times and has thus become an informal platform for social and artistic discourse. Among the statues of Soviet soldiers we have analysed in the project, only the memorial complex “Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex”, described by the Belorussian researcher Irena Lavrovska, still functions as initially intended. The colossi erected on Easter Island were built larger and larger as conditions deteriorated for society: the biggest moai was never completed. The situation in Europe was similar – the most phantasmagorical designs were often harbingers of the end of an era. The 30 metre Warsaw monument to the Fallen in Service and Defence of People’s Poland by Bohdan Chmielewski was built on the eve of the systemic transformation and lasted only six years (1985–1991). Just as short (1955–1962) was the life of the largest Joseph Stalin monument in Europe, erected in Czechoslovakia. The spectacular dismantling of the Prague giant and the tragic fate of its author Otakar Švec, has been described by the Czech-American author Hana Pichova in her essay. Sometimes it is not the monument itself that is of greatest significance, but its location, where the architectural or geological arrangements provoke its appropriation. In his text Geohardware. The (post) monumental landscape of the Mt of St Anne, Piotr Przybyła describes the changing setting of German and Polish commemorations on the highest ground in the Opolian Silesia region. Monuments situated in Saski Square (today Piłsudski Square) in Warsaw have also changed and been replaced as if in a kaleidoscope. It is not often that monuments are also outstanding works of art. An example of one that definitely does qualify is Constantin Brâncuși’s Endless Column and the entire complex of sculptures in Târgu Jiu. Sometimes a successful form saves an unwanted political monument from demolition – as was the case with a piece by Władysław Hasior situated in the Podhale mountain pass of Snozka, erected in 1966 “to the memory of those fallen in

the fights for consolidation of people’s power in Podhale”. The Organs sculpture, renovated today and stripped of their original inscription and commemorative status, have simply become an artwork in the mountainous landscape. Among other monuments of definite artistic quality are the works by Vojin Bakic, written about by Zvonko Makovic in his essay. Despite their prominent placement and undisputed Internet fame, Bakic’s monuments are gradually falling into ruin, other so-called spomeniks continue to fade away with memories of Yugoslavia and Tito. Intentionally dismantled, like the wings of Nike in the village of Komenska, or uncared for by the state that initially erected them (as in the case of the architectural complex in Petrova Gora), they slowly but surely fall into ruin, eroded by time and weather or taken to pieces by metal scrappers. Although the idea of monumental commemoration seemed anachronistic not so long ago, the political and social significance of monuments is again quite visible if we look at the number of newly erected objects and the ever broader spectrum of public reaction to this phenomenon. In the early decades of the 21st c., the need to belong to a religious or national community is not only not disappearing, but gaining in strength – to the dismay of 20th century pacifists. As societies return to conservative values, so the aesthetic forms and gestures of the symbolic marking of public space become increasingly traditional. Marek Matyjanka describes this phenomenon in his text on the Macedonian programme Skopje 2014. Their authors, ignoring the ideological conflict with Greece, believed that the sources of Macedonian identity lay in some imagined antiquity. Not only have several dozen pseudo-academic monuments been erected, but modernist buildings have been clad with Classiciststyle costumes made of Styrofoam.


Zygmunt Sowa-Sowiński (1908–1954), Giewont jako podobizna Józefa Piłsudskiego [Giewont as a likeness of Józef Piłsudski], 1936, black and white reproduction on paper, 49.5 × 68.5, inv. no. S/242/ MT, The Tatra Museum in Zakopane

——— This publication accompanies the exhibition Monument. Central and Eastern Europe 1918 – 2018 organised by the Museum of Sculpture at Królikarnia, Department of the National Museum in Warsaw, as part of the multi-annual NIEPODLEGŁA Programme. Thanks to the funds and the energy of the celebration of the centennial of Poland’s independence, it has been possible to place a collection of monument designs by Xawery Dunikowski, the patron of the Museum, under conservation. The first of these objects was the design for the tomb of Bolesław Śmiały3 from 1917, and the last included sketches for the planned monument of the Soldiers of the First Polish Army, which was erected in 1963, just months before the artist’s death. Thanks to the collaboration with the National Centre of Culture, it was possible to restore the design of the monument to Marshall Piłsudski created by the Croatian


3 The sculpture is displayed at the exhibition Shouting: Poland! Independence 1918, held from October 26th 2018 to March 17th 2019 in the National Museum in Warsaw.

master Ivan Meštrovic. Art lovers will also be happy to find other monument designs in the exhibition by prominent artists – not just academics of the stature of Jan Matejko, but also representatives from the pre-war avant-garde, such as Maria Jarema or Henryk Wiciński. Monuments belong to several simultaneous orders: the artistic, political and social. This is why when working on the exhibition, the researchers had to leave the safety of the fine arts and look for themes not normally present in museums on a daily basis, such as the military history of battles, contemporary politics, building law or systems of urban management. The exhibition also includes objects such as plans, documents and mock-ups, which have helped to recover the stories of the twenty or so monuments from our region of Europe in the most objective manner. The narrative, which is a compilation of the histories of monuments from different countries and historical epochs, reveals certain repeating stages in the lifecycles of these objects: from the idea, the design, construction, unveiling and use, to the disputes, destruction and decay. The authors of the exhibition do not judge the heroes

who are commemorated, neither do they evaluate the political justification of any of the decisions to erect or tear down any monument. However, the collection of archival materials shows that those who are heroes in one community can be seen as villains by their closest neighbours – in both space and time. Every victory is someone’s failure. The images of rubble from demolished monuments from the past should have a restraining effect on plans to build new ones. Whilst respecting the need to be part of a community as well as for reasons of sublimity, tribute to important figures and commemoration of important events, the positivist non-sculptural means of commemorating should be recalled. When Poland celebrated the millennium of its statehood in Communist times, almost 1500 schools and dormitories were built. There is also a number of hospital-monuments, not to mention the Work of the New Millennium, which may be very monumental in name but which is rather a useful project granting fellowships to young people from small towns and villages. It not only promotes equal opportunities in education, but serves as a living monument to Pope John Paul II.



Józef Piłsudski. The history of a Warsaw monument

The decision to erect a monument of Józef Piłsudski in Warsaw was taken almost immediately after his death. Already on May 16th 1935, a Metropolitan Committee for the Construction of the Marshall’s Monument was founded. The site selected was Plac na Rozdrożu for its proximity to the different seats of state institutions but also its location by the main street of the city used for military parades. There were also plans to delineate a whole city district and name it after the Marshall, as well as to create Piłsudski Avenue, which would run from Plac na Rozdrożu to the Church of Providence. Ivan Meštrović, A plaster model of the Józef Piłsudski monument, from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw. Photo by Bartosz Górka

Ewa Ziembińska


The competition jury in 1937. Standing, from left: art historian Stanisław Lorentz, sculptor Xawery Dunikowski, historian Artur Śliwiński, President of Warsaw Stefan Starzyński, professor Aleksander Bojemski, Marshal Edward ŚmigłyRydz, painter Wojciech Jastrzębowski, general Tadeusz Kasprzycki, general Bolesław WieniawaDługoszowski, painter Tadeusz Pruszkowski, Vice-President of Warsaw Jan Pohoski, sculptor Edward Wittig, conservator of historical monuments Jerzy Roemer. Photo by A. Gürtler, from the collection of National Museum in Warsaw

Ewa Ziembińska


The first competition On February 1st 1936, an open competition was announced with the caveat that it was open to Polish artists only. Despite the fact that the Association of Polish Architects recommended contestants avoid grand-scale solutions, the terms of the Competition stipulated that the monument was to be a monumental “artistic symbol of the great deeds of Józef Piłsudski, worthy of this victorious Commander, Creator of an Independent and Imperial Poland”1. Furthermore, the potential author had freedom in terms of the monument’s scale and the materials used. In order to properly shape the site where the object was to be erected, plans were made to demolish a number of buildings, including pavilions of the Ujazdowski Hospital, the building of the officers’ mess, as well as private houses. Thirteen proposals were to be selected, five of which were to be referred for further consultation and participation in the competition proper. Artists had as many as eight months to complete their concept and the authors of the best designs were to have the costs of making the monument’s mock-up reimbursed. Edward Rydz-Śmigły chaired the competition panel, which included such members as the mayor of the city of Warsaw, Stefan Starzyński, sculptors Xawery Dunikowski and Edward Wittig, deputy director of the National Museum Stanisław Lorenz, Tadeusz Pruszkowski, the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, and Jerzy Remer, the chief conservator of the city. In August 1937, the unfinished edifice of the National Museum in Warsaw hosted a presentation of all the proposals sent in. It was made sure that the selection was done anonymously: each proposal was marked with a number and the names of the artists were kept in sealed envelopes in such great confidence that they have not been opened to this day2. Unfortunately, no winners were ever found in the competition despite moving the deadline by as many as eight months (the competition officially ended on May 31st 1937). Almost 90% of the fifty eight proposals came from Warsaw, one each from Krakow and Poznań, and also Vilnius and Zakopane. A requirement that caused many problems was the suggestion to regulate the urban plan of the square which called for collaboration with architects and urban planners. Some of the works sent in were surprising in their ingenuity and originality. One of the authors, for example, evoked the prophecy of Adam Mickiewicz who spoke about the liberator of the nation and mathematically argued that “Poland had 40 reining kings and 3 poets who were prophets (or poetic kings in times of the country’s enslavement), thus the 44th could only be THE FIRST MARSHALL OF POLAND – the sum of these letters gives the number 44 (8+9+6+5+7+9=44, HE is FOURTY FOUR”. These digits were further used to define the height of the stairs, the pedestals, bas reliefs, etc.

Józef Piłsudski. The history of a Warsaw monument

Three designs by the following authors: Jan Szczepkowski, Henryk Kuna3 and Andrzej Boni as well as Marian Wnuk and Karol Kocimski, were selected for further elaboration. Szczepkowski, who was initially seen as the favourite contender (he gained the highest number of votes in both the first and second vote of the jury) proposed an arch of triumph with a very rich and complicated decoration of planes, arranged in a skipping manner, which was a reference to the stages of Poland’s regaining of independence. The figure of the Marshall leaning on his sabre was to be engraved into the arch (Architektura i Budownictwo assessed the form of the monument as “alien to the architecture of the city” and that it looked like a “theatre stage design”4). The Wnuk–Kocimski team proposed a horse monument on a soaring column narrowing gradually towards its tip, set against a row of arcades. Kuna placed a figure of the Marshall resting on his sabre on an elevation of several steps. On the four sides of the pedestal, a little below, there were to be columns, and below those would be stooping figures of soldiers. The press criticised the chosen designs and demanded that a new competition be organised. The artistic milieu voiced similar opinions5. Second competition A second competition was therefore organised, this time in a closed formula. The artists invited included the previously recognised ones as well as Xawery Dunikowski, Tadeusz Breyer and Edward Wittig, who refused to participate, as well as a number of foreign authors: the Norwegian Gustav Vigeland, the Frenchman Aristide Maillol and the Croat Ivan Meštrovic. Maillol refused immediately, saying that he was neither interested in the competition nor in the hero to be commemorated. Vigeland excused himself for being too busy. The one who sent back a positive reply was Meštrović, a renowned Croatian sculptor and student of Auguste Rodin, who had already made a number of monuments in Europe and the United States. It was the Polish consul in Zagreb who contacted the artist first, most probably in September 1938. Meštrović was then presented with an information pack about the Marshall – books, articles and some photographs, as well as the rules of the competition and the topographic materials6. In April 1939, Meštrović sent his first proposals to the Polish Embassy in Belgrade7 and in May he came to Warsaw so as to personally inspect the site planned for the location of the monument (he had also studied architecture in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and was meticulous in considering the proper distance of space required to surround the monument). Hastened by the Committee for the Construction of the Monument, he first sent in his designs and photographs of mock-ups8, and a few days later cases filled with sculptures9. Although Meštrovic’s work was

1 Program i warunki Konkursu na projekt pomnika oraz placu pod pomnik ku czci Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego w Warszawie, Warsaw, February 1st 1936 roku, no page numbers, archives of the National Museum in Warsaw. 2 The envelopes are kept in the archives of the National Museum in Warsaw. They are soon to be officially opened before a formal commission. 3 Henryk Kuna had already made a monument of Józef Piłsudski; it was erected in 1937 in Rome at the Viale Maresciallo Pilsudski. 4 Tadeusz Filipczak, “O konkursie na pomnik Marszałka Piłsudskiego w Warszawie”, Architektura i Budownictwo 1937, V. XIII, no. 8, pp. 283–291. 5 See Wojciech Jakimowicz, “Cztery szubienice Kuny”, Prosto z mostu 1937, no. 40, p. 7; Zofia Norblin-Chrzanowska, “Pomniki Wielkiego Marszałka,” Świat 1937, Vol. 32, no. 46, pp. 8–13. 6 See List konsula Generalnego Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej w Zagrzebiu z 2 listopada 1938 [Letter of Polish Consul General in Zagreb of November 2nd 1938], archives of Ivan Meštrović, Atelier Meštrović, Zagreb, file no.56. 7 See List artysty do Konsula Ambasady Polskiej w Zagrzebiu z 4 kwietnia 1939 [Letter of the artist for the consul of the Polish Embassy in Zagreb of April 4th 1939], archives of Meštrović in Zagreb. 8 Ibidem. 9 From the letter to the minister of June 20th 1939 we can conclude that the sculptor had sent: 1. A spatial arrangement model; 2. A mock-up of the arch and the monument in the scale of 1:100; 3. A model of the Marshall on horseback in the scale of 1:20; 4. A model of the Marshall on horseback in the scale of 1:10; 5. A study of the Marshall’s bust one-third of its final height.

Ewa Ziembińska



Józef Piłsudski. The history of a Warsaw monument

Exhibition of designs submitted to the competition at the National Museum in Warsaw, 1937, from the collection of the National Digital Archives

evaluated outside of the competition, it was shown next to the other selected designs at an exhibition in August 1939 in the National Museum in Warsaw. Meštrović proposed a highly classical solution: a monument of the Marshall on horseback atop a pedestal and set against an arch of triumph with either a single-arch arcade or three equal-size arcades adorned with figures of Victoria10. The arch was to be made of granite or some other hard stone and the figure of Piłsudski was to be cast in bronze. The statue of the Marshall was 2 metres in height, with the arch being 50 metres. The monument was to tower over its surroundings. The artist also suggested that a museum could be contained in the construction – it would tell the story of Poland’s regaining of independence11. In the recommendations to the technical execution of the design, the artist wrote that particular attention had to be paid to the descent from the side of the Vistula river, so that the terrain would become a natural pedestal. Moreover, as he observed, no tall buildings should be built in the monument’s vicinity12. The concept was in line with a standard known from antiquity of a triumphant commander on horseback. Piłsudski was presented without a hat and, in contrast to his many other likenesses, with his hands crossed on his chest, as a leader looking ahead, confident about his vision of the state. Had the monument ever been made, it would have been one of the most spectacular works by Meštrovic13. A session of the competition jury took place on July 21st 1939. Having analyzed five proposals, a decision was made that none of them could be put forward for technical execution. The design that garnered the most votes was one submitted

by Xawery Dunikowski (11 votes), surpassing the proposal of Henryk Kuna by one vote. The favourite candidate from the first competition, Jan Szczepkowski, received only one vote. Despite the fact that the competition was not open, some artists sent in works that had not been commissioned. The jury decided to take them into consideration. Out of the eighteen works, three were selected: marked with numbers 6, 10 and 13 (Franciszek Strynkiewicz in collaboration with Konstanty Denko; Stanisław Horno-Popławski with engineer Jan Borowski; Kazimierz Mieczysław Bieńkowski from Poznań). The main prize money intended for the laureate was split between Dunikowski and Kuna. The latter presented two proposals – a statue on horseback and a standing figure, made of bronze and set on a pedestal surrounded by stairs and four sets of crowned columns. The pedestals were adorned with bas reliefs with battle scenes for Independence. Dunikowski’s design also included an alternative take on the figure of Piłsudski sitting on the pedestal with a mace in his hand, or on a horse and placed between two modern columns reminiscent of caryatids14. In a letter to the chairman of the competition committee, the artist stressed, however, that he had not used his skills to the full and he would be happy to prepare another design by July 194015. In June he was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. The history of the competitions shows that the jury treated their task very seriously. An analysis of the space where the monument was to be located was made, discussions were held and the details were meticulously studied. The final statement of the committee read: “The Committee for the Construction (…), feeling the burden of the huge

10 In the first plan of the arch, there were also to be figures of the Legioners next to the figure of Victoria, and an inscription. See List Ivana Meštrovicia do konsula ambasady RP z 4 kwietnia 1939 [Letter of Ivan Meštrović to the consul of the Polish Embassy of 4 April], Meštrovic’s archives in Zagreb. 11 Ibidem. 12 The collection of the Glyptotheque of the Croatian Academy of Science and Art in Zagreb, there are still model representing Piłsudski in a very dynamic pose, with the tails of the his coat flying and his hand up as if he was throwing something (inv. no. G-MZP-847, 848, 855, 898). These sketches have no drawn documentation. It seems that they are the effects of the sculptor’s thought about the monument which, however, found no continuation (plaster, inv. no. G-MZP-123). 13 Ewa Ziembińska, Ivan Meštrović / Józef Piłsudski. Historia jednego pomnika, exh. cat., 18 October – 25 November 2018, Kordegarda, Gallery of the National Centre of Culture, Warsaw 2018. 14 The artist used the concept in his work on theMonument of the Gratitude to the Red Army in Olsztyn (Today the Monument of the Liberation of the Lands of Warmia and Mazury). 15 List Xawerego Dunikowskiego do gen. Kazimierza Sosnkowskiego z 28 lipca 1939 [Letter of Xawery Dunikowski to General Kazimierz Sosnkowski of July 18th 1939], Archive of the National Museum in Warsaw.

Xawery Dunikowski, design for the Józef Piłsudski monument, 1938/39, drawing, from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw

responsibility towards Poland of today and of the future, cannot act in haste, and cannot decide on accepting a design which may have many assets but which does not fulfil all that Poland demands today, and what it wants and should leave for posterity. Thus the numerous competitions, none of which have led to a final decision”.

The outbreak of World War II put a halt to the works and the post-war situation in Poland made the execution of Józef Piłsudski’s monument in Warsaw impossible. It was not until the 1990s that the concept was revived and, in effect, two monuments of the Marshall were unveiled in Poland – neither of which were preceded by a competition.


Patron-client networks and the making of Soviet war memorials

Soviet war memorials are often portrayed as merely a form of monumental propaganda intended to convey a simple ideological or geopolitical message. Yet, monument construction in the Soviet Union and its satellite states was never a smooth centralized process: statues and obelisks didn’t just spring up at orders from the Kremlin. In addition to political figures, numerous other actors were involved in building memorials to the Red Army and individual soldiers. Chief among them, perhaps, were members of the army itself: liberated Soviet prisoners of war built monuments to their dead comrades; unit commanders commissioned memorials directly from foundries, supplying scarce materials and manpower; and several army engineers put their skills to use by specializing in memorial construction from Poland to Bulgaria. Mischa Gabowitsch


Instead of a streamlined apparatus directed by Stalin, we need to imagine the construction of war memorials in the immediate postwar period as being governed by the kinds of largely informal patronage networks that were prevalent in many areas of Soviet life. The most significant of these networks centered on Marshal Kliment Voroshilov (1881-1969). The symbolic figurehead of the Red Army and the focus of a personality cult that was second only to Stalin’s, Voroshilov was also the main patron of the fine arts among the Stalin-era Soviet leadership. Voroshilov was a somewhat unlikely candidate for that role. Of poor peasant stock and lumpenproletariat upbringing, he was the embodiment of every Bolshevik intellectual’s dream. Voroshilov liked realist art, especially battle scenes. He appreciated classical motifs in sculpture. He enjoyed riding, and admiring, horses. Voroshilov’s love of seeing himself depicted on canvas and in bronze was well-known in the Soviet Union and abroad. In 1926, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk supposedly asked Pietro Canonica for Voroshilov to be included – anachronistically – in the group of foreign dignitaries standing behind him in the famous Republic Monument in Istanbul. Voroshilov liked to surround himself with artists who shared his tastes, and went to great lengths to support his protégés and steer their creative processes. His relationship with his first major artistic client, Mitrofan Grekov (1882-1934), shaped the future marshal’s patronal practices and, more broadly, military art and its institutions in the Soviet Union. Grekov was a traditionalist painter of animals, army life, and, to a lesser extent, battle scenes. Hailing from a Cossack settlement in the Don region, he studied at the Odessa Art School at the turn of the century, before continuing his training at the Imperial Art Academy in Saint Petersburg. There he studied under Il’ia Repin and, more importantly, under Franz Roubaud, who directed the Academy’s battle-painting workshop. Roubaud, an Odessa-born author of large-scale battle paintings, also created Russia’s first monumental battle panoramas. Two of those – depicting the Defense of Sevastopol’ in 1854-55 (opened in Sevastopol’ in 1904) and the Battle of Borodino (opened in 1912 in Moscow) – would become central to the renewed cult of Russian military glory starting in the 1940s. In his panoramic work, Roubaud directed a large team of artists who did most of the work under his supervision, establishing a pattern that became a hallmark of monumental military painting and sculpture in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, all the way to the dozens of stelae produced for “cities of military glory” by Salavat Shcherbakov’s Moscow studio in recent years. Grekov graduated at an auspicious time for a military artist – one year before the widely celebrated 100th anniversary of

Russia’s victory over Napoleon. His first patron, a personal friend and army colonel by the name of Aleksandr Kolenkin, helped him obtain his first major commissions; a series of anniversary paintings for regiments stationed in the capital. This clientelistic relationship gave Grekov a steady stream of income that did not depend on appreciation by peers or connoisseurs in the art market. Thanks to Kolenkin’s patronage, Grekov later became embedded as an artist with the imperial army during World War I. During the civil war, Grekov retreated to his home region in southern Russia, where he was soon discovered by Voroshilov, one of the leaders of the Red Cavalry. The two struck up a relationship that bore a striking resemblance with Grekov’s earlier friendship with Kolenkin. It was emblematic, more generally, of patron-client relationships in the Soviet Union’s supposedly proletarian army. Key patrons opened doors. They secured the necessary facilities, materials, and models for clients to carry out their commissions – this became even more important in the Soviet-planned economy, where resources were always scarce. Most crucially, patrons allowed clients to circumvent or game the art market to secure commissions: on more than one occasion, Voroshilov ensured that Grekov’s works were returned to exhibitions from which they had been excluded for lack of artistic originality. Grekov died unexpectedly in 1934 while working on a monumental diorama meant to immortalize the Red Army’s civil-war exploits at Perekop. A few weeks later, Voroshilov signed a decree establishing the Grekov Studio of Military Artists within the Red Army. This studio enshrined the army as an independent source of commissions for paintings and sculpture, governed by generals’ tastes rather than the verdict of other artists. Many of the best-known creators of post-World War II Soviet memorials would be employed by the studio – chief among them Evgenii Vuchetich, the powerful sculptor and co-author of famous memorial complexes such as those in Berlin’s Treptower Park (1949), on Mamaev Kurgan in Volgograd (1967), and, posthumously, Kiev’s Motherland Statue (1981). The Grekov Studio exists to this day and continues to produce realist art works on military and related themes – not only for the Russian army, but also for foreign clients such as the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle opened in Skopje in 2011. It is thanks to Voroshilov, in no small part, that Soviet and post-Soviet military memorials continued Russia’s long-standing pre-revolutionary tradition and nationalist models developed in post-WWI Europe, rather than more avant-garde, universalistic forms, and kept this style dominant in military art even through the iconoclasm of the early 1930s and the anti-Stalinist backlash that shook up general artistic life under Khrushchev. Although he sometimes seems to have acted primarily as a

Mischa Gabowitsch


conduit for Stalin and a facilitator of Stalin’s own “reluctant cult,” Voroshilov’s personal tastes and friendships were an important factor in the ascendancy of traditionalist, realist sculptors and painters, many of them his coevals and many, like him, from the steppes of Left Bank Ukraine or Southern Russia – or from Odessa. Members of the network included Aleksandr Gerasimov (1881-1963), a highly influential champion of socialist realist art in painting and of anti-Semitic Russian nationalism. Gerasimov produced some of the most iconic paintings of Lenin and Stalin in the Soviet canon, and often consulted Voroshilov on war memorials, meeting with him on foreign missions or during holidays on the Black Sea coast. Another was Boris Iofan (1891-1976), the Odessa-born architect who designed the famous House on the Embankment in Moscow and was in charge of the long-running yet abortive construction of the capital’s Palace of the Soviets, a project that trained many architects and sculptors who would go on to shape Soviet postwar memorials. Iofan had trained in Rome in the 1910s and was clearly aware of the monumental new war memorials built in fascist Italy and elsewhere in interwar Europe. Yet the Marshal’s network extended beyond the Soviet Union. In 1946, as head of the Allied Control Commission in Budapest, he met Zsigmond Kisfaludi Strobl (1884-1975), the dominant realist sculptor in Hungary. The two struck up a close relationship, despite Kisfaludi Strobl’s upper-class background, and Voroshilov commissioned the Hungarian sculptor to build the monumental Liberty Statue in Budapest to commemorate Hungary’s liberation by Soviet forces. Gerasimov and Iofan were invited to Budapest to discuss the future monument in Voroshilov’s apartment. Later Kisfaludi Strobl was invited to Moscow on several occasions, and other members of Voroshilov’s network were asked to help him achieve recognition there: thus Vuchetich wrote the preface to the catalogue of Kisfaludi Strobl’s solo exhibition. Soviet war memorials of the postwar decades were reminiscent of interwar (or earlier) European examples, bearing hardly any trace of the non-figurative experiments that were taking place in West European memorialization at the same time. The dominance of Voroshilov’s clients in Soviet artistic life and particularly in war-related art goes some way to explain this. Yet the prevalence of patronage also explains the many exceptions from this generalization. If selection among artists and proposals and resource allocation was governed by personal relationships rather than the blanket application of impersonal rules, then alternative networks, or alternative pathways through existing networks,

could produce unexpected results. Clients could gain independence from their erstwhile patrons by finding new ones or playing different patrons off against each other: Evgenii Vuchetich was a master at this game. Conversely, atypical works could emerge on the margins of the system as long as their creators took care not to interfere with the interests of the central figures, or if they found smaller, local patrons. Examples in the first category range from unorthodox memorials to Soviet prisoners of war or other Red Army soldiers built in the 1940s to sculptural representations of crippled veterans produced in the post-Stalin era by Vadim Sidur and Lev Razumovskii. In the second category we find Georgii Frangulian’s work in Kemerovo or Boris Edunov’s in Kaliningrad, facilitated by their personal relationships with the main local factory chairman and the regional Communist Party boss, respectively. In postwar Belarus, the popular head of the republican Communist Party, Piotr Masherov (1918-1980), maintained his own network of artistic clients, many of them associated with the Vitebsk Art School. A former partisan and the only Soviet party leader of any significance to have experienced wartime captivity during WWII, Masherov was unusual in commissioning monuments to victims of war, not just heroes. Thus, in the 1960s and 70s, Leonid Levin (1936-2014), a young Jewish architect from Minsk, gained prominence and won prestigious commissions over the dominant Vuchetich thanks to his connections with Masherov: most famously, Levin designed the Khatyn’ memorial to Belarusian villages burned down during the war. Attention to patronage networks can shed light on the ways in which war memorials were constructed, but they do not explain everything. Other factors – such as unwritten rules and restrictions, “signals” from above, popular expectations, and sheer serendipity – cannot be discounted. In addition, the very existence of formal rules and ideological declarations could give artists or local administrators unexpected openings or some small measure of leverage – such as when anniversary years or references to Lenin’s Plan of Monumental Propaganda were used to extract funds from the budget. Nevertheless, some such networks survived even the collapse of the Soviet Union, or reconstituted themselves thereafter. In post-Soviet Russia, the army remains an important source of commissions for everything from larger-than-life bronze statues to monumental paintings – both are used, for example, in the Federal Military Memorial Cemetery, Russia’s new national cemetery opened in 2013. Far from being a pure expression of state ideology, war memorials remain influenced by personal tastes, and personal relationships.


Portraits of Marshal Kliment Voroshilov in various art media. Illustration from the book Маршал Советского Союза К.Е. Ворошилов. Фотосерия. ed. J.F. Weinstein. Riga, 1941.

Patron-client networks and the making of Soviet war memorials



Geohardware. The (post) monumental landscape of St Anne Mountain

Imaginary laminate? St Anne Mountain, painting on canvas by Henryk Waniek (1997). Reproduced, with the author’s permission, from his collection

In the first edition of Władysław Kopaliński’s Dictionary of Myths and Cultural Traditions, right between Mount Sinai and Tumska Mountain, room was found for a few (brief ) sentences about St Anne Mountain: “in the western part of the Silesian Upland; on the mountainside, an amphitheatre carved into the rock, seating approx. 160,000 people; on the mountaintop, the Monument to the Insurgence Deed by Xawery Dunikowski, 1953 (to commemorate the Silesian Uprising 1919–1921)”1. Although the quoted lexicographical picture of the mountain, bizarrely curt and obscure in places, misrepresents both numbers and spatial relations, a certain heuristic value cannot be denied, as it documents the widespread practice of drawing St Anne Mountain by tracing community-building templates – selective, enlarging and without a care for accuracy. Or maybe writing about the holy mountain in any other way is not acceptable? Piotr Przybyła 1

Władysław Kopaliński, Słownik mitów i tradycji kultury, Warsaw 1985, p. 334.


Erosion of rock on St Anne Mountain slope, drawing in pen, 1937–1944 State Archive in Katowice

Piotr Przybyła


Layers St Anne Mountain is, in a nutshell, an extinct volcano. Its lithological structure comprises predominantly Oligocenic nephelinite, Triassic limestone and Cretaceous marlstone and sandstone. Descriptions of its cultural importance put two aspects – the religious and the political – at the forefront. Sometimes, one might even encounter an image of two seemingly separate St Anne mountains, reflecting, in simplification, the sanctuary on the top of the mountain and the memorial complex at its foot2. On closer inspection, however, such a dichotomic projection divulges certain weaknesses; after all, the histories of those two community building locations are closely interrelated, and each of them comprises various cultural factions. In the case of St Anne Mountain, discontinuities must be sought in other areas and at a different scale. The history of the mountain sanctuary dates back to the 15th century, when the first church was built on the mountaintop. Its religious importance gradually increased, first – after a reliquary was installed, a half-meter tall, full-bodied figure of St Anne with Virgin and Child arrived, then the relics were placed inside, and finally the Franciscan monks settled on the mountain. Endowment and construction of the monastery (1656–1659), expansion of the church (1673) and construction of the calvary assembly, comprising about 30 items (currently over 40 items) (1700–1709) were the subsequent milestones of the cultural advancement of the holy mountain. The sanctuary owed these endowments to the generosity of imperial advisor Melchior Ferdinand von Gaschin and (obligations imposed upon) his heirs, who, by the way, made sure they were given due credit in the form of two mausoleum-chapels on the site. In the second half of the 19th century one of the chapels was supposed to be built of stone brought by pilgrims. Signum temporis… Organized pilgrimages started coming to St Anne Mountain from 1764, when the Franciscans added calvary services to their liturgical repertoire. One hundred years later, annual attendance exceeded 400 thousand; the number is all the more impressive given the fact that, because of the weather, calvary “season” was limited to a few summer weeks. This way, in a fairly short time, the symbolic capital of St Anne Mountain grew to such proportions that it had to be reckoned with by the hegemons of other districts and cadastres documenting the expanse of power. In the second half of 19th century, a divide on St Anne Mountain formed along the lines of language. Sermons on the mountain were delivered both in Polish and German, but the former were attended by twice as many followers. Similar trends could be seen at the local publishing houses – they would print in both languages, but sell more books in Polish. Literature from the time describes St

Geohardware. The (post)monumental landscape of St Anne Mountain

Anne Mountain as “the Silesian Wawel” (Norbert Bonczyk), an unequivocally Polish figure of memory. Almost at the same time, the Prussian state twice effected the dissolution of the monastery (1811–1859 and 1875–1887), transforming slight cracks into deep chasms. The political narrative of St Anne Mountain is undoubtedly rooted in the 19th century. Therefore, it is probably no accident that the fiercest battles of the Third Silesian Uprising (after May 21st 1921), were fought at the foot of the holy mountain; there are also certain signs of premeditation in mythicizing one of its episodes in German political memory. It is about the less than spectacular (from a tactical point of view) capture of the hill by German troops, frequently referred to as “Annabergsturm” or “Erstürmung des Annabergs” (storming of the mountain), which should be seen as a hyperbolic response not so much to the symbolic advantage of the Poles at St Anne Mountain, as to the recent capitulation of Germany. In the following years, in German discourse, the mountain would be converted into a symbol of antagonism – not just Polish-German antagonism, but also internal to Germany. When Edmund Heines, veteran of the 1921 conflict and one of the most brutal men of the new power, visited St Anne in May 1933, he presented a new idea for the mountain: “Annaberg is national socialism”, rules the political trend of 1933. Zeitträger3 A material token of this ideological conquest emerged at the lower part of the mountain soon after the Nazis came to power. In July 1934, a cornerstone was laid for the Thingstätte4, an arena for exalted rituals combining religion, theatre and politics. Architects from the Nazi Parnassus were commissioned for the job – Franz Böhmer and Georg Petrich, designers of the private residence of Joseph Goebbels, the Third Reich’s minister of propaganda. In a period of a little over three years, in a defunct limestone quarry in Krowiok Valley (Ger. Kuhtal), a facility was built that could seat approximately 30 thousand people – the largest of its type in Germany at the time. Besides lavatories and a drainage system, suitable accommodation was provided close by, while the nearby highway and railway line constituted transportation pseudopodia of the entire facility. Although a musical glorifying St Anne Mountain to a national socialism tune, Annaberg by Kurt Eggers, was written as early as 1933, neither this nor any other Thingspiel was ever performed in the amphitheatre. Ironically, after the ceremonial opening on May 22nd 1938, this impressive laboratory of volkist-style social synchronization had to wait for the People’s Poland to host its first official celebration. Initially, the German combatants were to be commemorated by a modest plaque above the

2 Two St Anne Mountains are directly referred to by: James Bjork, Robert Gerwarth, “The Annaberg as a GermanPolish Lieu de Mémoire”, German History 2007, No. 3(25), p. 372–400. About the history of St Anne Mountain in its religious and political aspect, see in particular: Andrzej Hanich, Góra Świętej Anny – centrum pielgrzymkowe Śląska Opolskiego 1945–1999. Studium historyczno-pastoralne, Opole 1999; Pielgrzymowanie i sztuka. Góra Świętej Anny i inne miejsca pielgrzymkowe na Śląsku, ed. Joanna Lubos-Kozieł et al., Wrocław 2005; Juliane Haubold-Stolle, “Góra Świętej Anny w niemieckiej i polskiej tradycji politycznej” [in:] Górny Śląsk wyobrażony: wokół mitów, symboli i bohaterów dyskursów narodowych, ed. Juliane HauboldStolle, Bernard Linek, translation into Polish by Bernard Linek et al., Opole – Marburg 2005; Piotr Przybyła, Narracje (i) infra­struktury. “Mit Ziem Odzyskanych” w pamięci politycznej wczesnej Polski Ludowej (na przykładzie Góry Świętej Anny i Ślęży), Poznań 2016. 3 “Time carriers”. Cf. Wolfgang Ernst, Signale aus der Vergangenheit. Eine kleine Geschichtskritik, München 2013, p. 31. 4 Korbinian Böck, “‘Bollwerk des Deutschtums im Osten’: Das Freikorpsehrenmal auf dem Annaberg/ Oberschlesien”, RIHA Journal 0160, 27 June 2017, [accessed on 20.09.2018], available online at: < articles/2017/0150-0176-special-issuewar-graves/0160-boeck>.

Piotr Przybyła


stage of the amphitheatre. However, in 1935 the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK) – the institution responsible for the commemoration of fallen German soldiers in Germany and abroad – took the project on. At the time its chief designer was (and remained until 1959! Robert Tischler, one of the most influential representatives of sepulchral architecture not only in the Third Reich, but also in the early Federal Republic of Germany5. Cemeteries and monumental Totenburgen (which could be translated as bastions of the fallen) designed by him were preserved in Langemark, Quero, Narvik, Tobruk, El Alamein (the shape of this resembles that of the St Anne Mountain mausoleum, and in particular their common 13th century inspiration), Wałbrzych, and other places. For St Anne Mountain, Tischler proposed an architectural monument: a massive rotunda, evoking military associations, 15 metres in diameter (external) and 7.5 metres tall. The mausoleum, in a recess in the rock and lined with limestone (Figure 3.), must have seemed modest, especially from the direction of the amphitheatre. More powerful dramatic effects were reserved for those who would take the narrow ambulatory circling the inner hall and walk down to meet the dead. The structure of the hall was based on massive blocks and barrel vaults built of porphyritic granite, the same material as was used to build the Monument to the Battle of the Nations in Leipzig. In eleven niches, created as a result, porphyry slabs, called sarcophagi, were placed, inscribed with the most important dates of… exactly, dates of what? “1918: Victory betrayed”, “1923: Sacred sowing”, “1924/30: Nation in danger” – this is the most concise interpretation of national socialism’s historical policy. The ashes of the dead were placed under the floor of each niche. In the centre of the hall a monumental sculpture was installed, carved on site from a block of green porphyry. “This is an extraordinarily beautiful, hard, German material”6, enthused Fritz Schmoll, a.k.a Eisenwerth, a sculptor (and designer of furniture, among other things) mostly associated with the Munich Secession. Out of the German material a German warrior emerged. “1933: Germany awakens”, the laconic inscription explained – as if anybody needed any explanations. The events of 1921 were relegated to the poorly visible background; and not for the last time. The mausoleum, as opposed to the amphitheatre, did not survive the geopolitical changing of the guard on St Anne Mountain. The monument was first demolished and then symbolically “dynamited”. Demolition took so long that there were plans for the press to inform the public about its progress. The “dynamiting”, although in truth being nothing more than political fireworks during a district harvest festival, was blown out of all proportions by community-building memory algorithms.

In place of the demolished mausoleum, a Monument to the Insurgence Deed by Xawery Dunikowski, was built (see Figure 2). It was unveiled by the Chairman of the Council of State, general Aleksander Zawadzki in June 1955, almost ten years after the first competition was announced. Although it is an architectural monument with sculptural elements, similar to the German commemoration, in many aspects it is the antithesis: an open cuboid shape is formed by four pylons, crowned with an architrave. Attached to them are four reliefs (a miner, a steelworker, a farmer and a mother), with coffered heads above them and eternal flame in the centre. On the external walls of the pylons there are leaden “lines”, images depicting Silesian history. It culminates in the scene – which triggers political emotion, and not just today – of the “liberation” of Silesia by Polish troops and the Red Army. Political pilgrimages by highest echelons of the Party, including all the First Secretaries (except Bolesław Bierut), occurred regularly after 1946, and have left a tangible mark in the regional archives of the memory. In some, with an alarming red file-reference signature. Post-breakthrough Poland and post-modernity are clearly not serving the monument well. The ideological merry-go-round does not allow for focusing on its formulas of pathos. The memorial hub seems unconnected to the (mythomotoric) network, uninhabited, abandoned. Post-monumental!? – it is difficult (for me) to escape a tragic association with the title of Wojciech Wilczyk’s famous Upper Silesian series. Today’s battle for St Anne Mountain (green vs grey) will be resolved by the revitalization of the site – coming soon. Perhaps the Angel of History will (or already has) contemplate it nostalgically. But a storm is brewing in Paradise… Hardware …is not just rocks, forms and meanings solidified in them; not just – as Friedrich Kittler would say – the technical a priori of a sacred site, its infrastructure (from the amphitheatre to the highway). It is an entire microcosm of phenomena, artifacts and dispositions, steered by intentional and material agency; it is a space of interactions between people, nature and things. Finally, it’s something like a mechanical BIOS, basic input and output system, an algorithm permanently implemented in accordance with the reading of geodesic instruments, an algorithm which – Kittler again7 – transforms matter from entropy to information. When, as a result of subsequent ideological upgrades and updates, yesterday’s and today’s configurations of sense go stale, a mark in the landscape will lead somebody’s eye to a hard storage medium of time: buried in places, obscured, clumsy, non-continuous, non-hierarchical, non-unequivocal, illegible. However, even as empty as the Treasury of Atreus, it will tell a lot to those who crack its access codes.


Hardware, for now misread and mis-signed. photo by E. Falkowski, Postcard issued by Czytelnik publishing house, 1946, from the author’s collection.

5 Cf. Christian. Fuhrmeister, “Robert Tischler, Chefarchitekt 1926–1959. Ein Desiderat”, RIHA Journal 0159, 27 June 2017, articles/2017/0150-0176-special-issuewar-graves/0159-fuhrmeister (accessed on 20.09.2018). 6 Quotation from: Alfons Hayduk, “Das Reichs-Ehrenmal der Freikorpskämpfer” [in:] Der Annaberg O.-S., ed. H. Rogier, Sankt Annaberg [1938], p. 121. 7 Friedrich Kittler, “There is No Software,” [online], [accessed on 30.09.2018], available online at: < articles.aspx?id=74>.

Geohardware. The (post)monumental landscape of St Anne Mountain



Lenin from Jedwabne „[...] They drove all the Jews into the street. They selected seventy-five of the youngest and healthiest Jews as the first victims of their diabolical instincts; told them to lift and carry a huge Lenin statue, erected by the Russians in the centre of the town. It was impossibly heavy, but under a rain of horrible blows, the Jews had to do it anyway. They also had to sing, while carrying the statue. They brought it to the indicated spot, where they were forced to dig a pit in the ground and bury the statue. Afterwards, those same Jews were beaten to death and thrown into the same pit”1. Paweł Machcewicz

Civilians, under the supervision of soldiers from German occupying forces, topple the Lenin monument in the courtyard of Branicki palace, Białystok, June-July 1941 Photographer unknown, Bundesarchiv

This is an excerpt from the testimony of Shmuel Wasserstein, one of the few Jews who managed to survive the Jedwabne pogrom on July 10th, 1941. It was first published by Jan Tomasz Gross. Historians have doubted the accuracy and credibility of the details, provided by Wasserstein, including those pertaining to the Lenin statue. However, the statue was found in 2001, next to the remains of the Jewish victims, during the exhumation conducted at the site of the massacre by the Institute of National Remembrance. Testimonies of perpetrators and witnesses of the massacre, provided as part of two court trials, one in the late 1940s, the other in the early 1950s, include additional details about the last steps of the Jedwabne Jews, carrying the Lenin statue. They were forced to shout “we are the reason for the war”; Rabbi Avigdor Białostocki was put to the front of the procession and told to carry a red flag. Before they got to the barn, they had to carry the statue around the marketplace and were beaten and humiliated. This was a ritual stigmatization of Jews, who were presented as proponents of communism, responsible for its crimes and the outbreak of the war. It was repeated, in various versions, in dozens of towns invaded by the Wehrmacht in the summer of 1941, after the outbreak of Soviet-German war in territories which were previously – from September 1939 – under Soviet occupation. The occurrence of such acts suggests they were instigated by the Germans, but the available documentation shows that the local populations – Polish and Ukrainian – joined them in large numbers. The first element of

this ritual was to gather Jews in a central location of a town, usually the marketplace, where they were tortured and forced to do cleanup work (for example, as in Jedwabne, to pluck grass from between the paving stones), which was intended to additionally stigmatize them as parasites avoiding work. The culminating moment was the toppling and breaking up of monuments to Lenin and Stalin, which had been erected by Soviet authorities in great numbers as the most visible symbol of the new order. The events were best documented in Białystok, where on June 30th 1941 the Germans forced a group of Jews to topple all the monuments to both communist leaders that could be found in the town. In smaller towns, the “decommunization” of public space and stigmatization of Jews was conducted with less verve, but followed a similar pattern; it was also photographed and filmed by the Nazis. None of these materials – except for Białystok – have been found, but we do have the testimonies of the Jews, allowing the reconstruction of events not only in Jedwabne, but also in a number of other towns. In Siemiatycze, local Poles gathered the Jewish inhabitants in the town square, dressed some of them “[...] in tallitot, gave them hammers and axes and told them to tear down the Lenin statue. The Jews then had to wrap the pieces of the demolished statue in bedsheets and carry them to the cemetery. When carrying the pieces, the Jews would weep loudly. The road to the cemetery led across a river; while crossing it, Jews were thrown into the river whilst still alive...”. In Zaręby Kościelne the Jews, after tearing down the Lenin statue, had to carry the pieces to the river, singing the Zionist

1 “Wokół Jedwabnego,” ed. Paweł Machcewicz and Krzysztof Persak, vol. 2. Dokumenty, Warsaw 2002, p. 225.

Paweł Machcewicz


song Hatikva. As pieces were thrown into the water, one of the victims was forced to recite: “Lenin, you gave us life and you give us death, you shall never rise again”. The sequence of events was very similar in Kolno: pieces of the broken Lenin statue were placed “on carts, drawn by harnessed Jews dressed in tallitot. The entire column walked two kilometres out of town to the Jewish cemetery. There, with songs and prayers, Lenin was buried. At the exit from the cemetery, Poles waited with sticks in their hands. Every Jew was hit on the head several times”2. It is striking that Jews were stigmatized as communists and simultaneously as followers of Judaism. In Jedwabne, Jews placed pieces of the Lenin monument on the outskirts of the town, in the same barn in which soon afterwards – within the next few hours – Polish inhabitants of the town burned several hundred of their Jewish neighbours to death. During the exhumation, pieces of the Lenin monument were found next to the remains of murdered people and their belongings. Several years ago, I was seeking any and all information about the massacre in Jedwabne and the murder of Jews in other towns in that region as part of historical research conducted by the Institute of National Remembrance, in parallel to its prosecutorial investigation. At the time we were able to collect a huge number of previously unknown documents and recreate the course of events in detail; in the case of some towns, virtually on an hour-byhour basis. Historians working on the subject were overwhelmed by the degree of cruelty, evident in all the materials – cruelty so great, at times it seemed unreal. I knew the facts were incontrovertible, but I just could not imagine that ordinary people would turn into beasts, eager to murder helpless victims, including women and children. Only the exhumation and photographs documenting it all brought about the awareness that all this really did happen. I came back to the items excavated in Jedwabne ten years later, when I was establishing the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk. Part of the exhibition was devoted to the Holocaust, as well as the pogroms that occurred in 1941. Together with a team of historians working on the exhibition, we decided to show Jedwabne next to pogroms in Kaunas, Lviv and Iași in Romania. The number of victims in those towns was higher, however I believed that as Poles, we were morally obligated to face, first and foremost, the atrocity perpetrated by members of our own nation. I was convinced that fragments of testimonies and accounts, even complemented by photographs, were not enough for visitors to understand and experience the events of July 10th 1941 (especially as none of the photographs depict the scenes from the day of the massacre). Then I remembered the items discovered during the exhumation. I contacted the prosecutor

Radosław Ignatiew, who conducted the investigation, the most difficult in the history of the Institute of National Remembrance. It turned out that the items were still in the storage rooms of the Białystok branch of the IPN, as evidence in the now-closed investigation. I was able to complete the required formalities and obtain all the items for the Museum. The artifacts have undergone conservation, as without it, some of them would decay irreparably. There was a great number of artifacts: fragments of shoes, belts, buckles, countless buttons. Many museum exhibitions display objects exhumed from mass graves – often the sheer number of them gives an impression of excess, and leads to desensitization among viewers. That is why I chose to display only two artifacts, which in my opinion were particularly symbolic and carried enormous emotional load. Keys, belonging to the victims, found among the remains – their owners still hoped they’d be able to return to their homes. The other was the pieces of the Lenin statue that played such an important role in the massacre and martyrdom of the Jews. As an historian, but also a person deeply involved in the search for truth about Jedwabne several years prior, I found that exhibit indescribably poignant. Looking at it, I could not believe it was not a replica, but the very same lump that the Jews from Jedwabne carried to the site of their execution; that they were murdered and buried right next to it. No other museum in the world had a similar exhibit. I feel that it is thanks to artifacts like this that museums can move and purify the visitors, establishing a real bond with them. We placed the Lenin in a large glass display case, with a photograph of Jedwabne market square in the background. I was aware, of course, that Jedwabne would be one of the most controversial parts of the exhibition. Besides, I was criticized for intending to show this massacre from the very beginning of the museum’s creation. However, I was convinced – as I had been several years before, during my work for the Institute of National Remembrance – that it needed to be done in the name of historical truth and the examination of our Polish conscience. The Museum weathered a frontal attack from the Law and Justice Party long before it was opened. It was accused of not representing “the Polish perspective”, focusing on the suffering of civilian populations and presenting the experiences of other nations. After a long struggle, we were able to open it to the public in March 2017, but just two weeks later the government managed to remove myself and other creators of the exhibition. Soon, modifications began, under the general premise of “Polonization”. Some of the ‘undesirable’ exhibits were removed. New management of the museum also declared that the part related to Jedwabne should be modified as well3. So perhaps it is not yet the end of the road for Jedwabne’s Lenin.


Debris of the Lenin monument from Jedwabne exhibited at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, photo of Jedwabne town square in the background, 2018, photo by A. Tarasiuk

2 All quotations from: Wokół Jedwabnego, op. cit., pp. 334–335, 372, 242. 3 Cf. Estera Flieger, “»Dobra zmiana«” w Muzeum II Wojny chce poprawić Jedwabne, Gazeta Wyborcza, 16.02.2018.

Lenin from Jedwabne



The Demolition of a Monument Built for Eternity Prague once boasted the largest monument to J. V. Stalin in Europe. It consisted of 9 figures – 15 meters tall, 12 meters wide, and 22 meters long. The monument stood on a 15-meter plinth and weighed 17,000 tons. Built from reinforced concrete and granite, it was to dominate the city panorama for eternity. At its unveiling on May Day in 1955, the mayor of Prague promised to safeguard the monument as a cherished symbol of Czechoslovak-Soviet friendship and alliance. Seven years later that symbol was destroyed, and the city embarked upon the most complex reconstruction in its history. Hana Pichova

Sculptor Otakar Švec (1892–1955) posing with a model of the Stalin monument, 1955 photo by Rostislav Novak, ČTK / PAP

A brief history of the monument Immediately after WWII, Stalin selected Prague and Budapest as the two cities where monuments venerating his persona would be built in grand style. In 1951, in Budapest, the monument, designed by Sándor Mikus, was inaugurated. The 8-meter-tall bronze Stalin, portrayed as a speaker, stood on a limestone base on top of a tribune for 5 years. It was toppled by a crowd of people during the Hungarian uprising, sparing the Hungarian Communist Party the task of removing their symbol of Stalinism under Nikita Khrushchev’s order a few years later. Meanwhile, in Prague, the project turned out to be more problematic. The monument, which was the most technically elaborate and financially taxing, was also the most ill-timed. It was built too late, unable to keep up with history. The swift political changes taking place in the fifties had forced the monument to undergo radicals shifts in meaning. In 1949, throughout the planning phase, it was referred to as The Work of Greatest Honor, paying tribute to Stalin. In 1953, following Stalin’s death, the half-completed monument lost its original purpose as a gift of gratitude to the Soviet leader. In 1955, at the unveiling, it stood for eternal friendship with the Soviet Union. But Stalin’s name was barely mentioned. The sculptor’s name, Otakar Švec, was not mentioned at all, he committed suicide a month

before the unveiling. A year later, when the cult of personality was dismantled in Moscow, the monument had become politically awkward. In 1961, as one of the last Stalin monuments still standing in the Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union, it came to symbolize the Czechoslovak government’s inability to keep step with Moscow’s de-Stalinization policies. Finally, upon an impatient directive from Moscow, the Czechoslovak President Antonín Novotný issued an order for the monument’s demolition. The Order for Demolition Following the President’s order, the Central Committee of the Communist Party formed a political-technical committee to work out a plan for the monument’s destruction and for its immediate replacement with another structure.1 Initially, only the Stalin figure was slated for demolition, while his 8 cohorts were to be exhibited at another location. The task of “erasing” Stalin without damaging his comrades posed technical difficulties. The entire body of the gigantic monument was a monolithic structure made of reinforced concrete faced with 235 granite blocks. Each granite block was connected horizontally to the concrete center by iron rods and also attached vertically to the other blocks by means of shallow grooves that were filled with lead, to keep the upper blocks in place.2 It was clear to all that

1 Národní archiv v ČR, fond Novotný, č. k. 148, Příloha III, 1. 2 I would like to thank the sculptor J. Klimeš for this information.


Hana Pichova


The Demolition of a Monument Built for Eternity

Sculpting the Stalin monument, 10.07.1953 Photographer: Jiri Rublic, ČTK / PAP

Underground structures of the former Stalin monument in Prague, 1990 photo by Pavel Chroch, ČTK / PAP

the monument would be a challenge to dismantle. Indeed, as specialists confirmed, the technique referred to as the “oxygen lance” was the only one that could sever Stalin from the rest of the monument without damaging the side statues. However, the only known producer of the “oxygen lance” resided in West Germany. The irony of needing help from the West to annihilate Stalin could not have escaped anyone. Preserving the side statues was important to the committee. Was partial demolition initially perceived as technically easier and politically less conspicuous? Or was frugality a driving force? After all, the committee members knew the cost of the monument and thus tried to salvage at least part of it.3 But by May 1962, the idea of a partial demolition was abandoned, preserving the side figures proved to be too costly and time-consuming.4 The only feasible solution was to demolish the entire monument. The Secret Demolition The demolition of Stalin and his 8 cohorts was an unpleasant form of public embarrassment for the

Czechoslovak Communist Party. To have to suddenly erase the most visible symbol of the cult of personality, which had been in existence for only 7 years, was inherently an involuntary admittance of ideological misguidance. Ironically, the population derived little satisfaction from this “admittance” or from the disappearance of the granite Stalin. The writer Karel Pecka put it succinctly: “. . . we live in a land of wonders. In prison, for ten years, we dreamed of a time when we would get out and, with the drills we used to mine uranium, we would get to Stalin. Then one day, without any explanation, they literally kicked us out, giving us freedom, so we went to Stalin, but they had already been drilling and blowing him up themselves!”5 In other words, by demolishing the monument, the Czechoslovak government denied its population an outlet for vengeance. However, had the people of Prague known about the problems associated with the demolition, they would have marveled at how poetic justice was served after all. The monument, once a source of great pride for its gargantuan size and unprecedented sturdiness,

3 In 1954 the construction cost was estimated at 150 million – at the time this was equal to the cost of 10,000 cars. 4 Národní archiv v ČR, fond Novotný, č. k. 148. Příloha III, 1. 5 In Ludvík Vaculík, Český snář (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, Corp., 1983), 321.

Hana Pichova


now posed problems precisely for these qualities. It proved to be almost indestructible. Built to last forever, the demolition called for an untested method of dismantling that required exceptional technical skill and an extended period of time. Indeed, the structure could not simply be picked up in the middle of the night and moved away to efficiently alter or erase the past with little notice. This fact, nonetheless, did not prevent the government from trying to hide the event. The destruction was shrouded in secrecy. All documentation was strictly forbidden. The media remained silent while deafening detonations shook the city. The silence surrounding one of the most complex sculptural demolitions of all time persists to this today. There seems to be almost no official documentation available from the committee’s procedural meetings pertaining to the actual dismantling process. This lacuna has forced most researchers to rely on the memory of individuals who were in some way connected to this last phase of the monument. For example, engineer Vladimir Křížek remembers the impossible instructions: “You have to demolish the monument, but with dignity . . . So as not to infringe on the dignity of the Soviet Union.”6 Although the entire monument would have to be blown apart, the instructions implied that Stalin’s head had to be dismantled differently, piece-by-piece, by chipping out small granite blocks, which were then lowered to the ground by a special elevator; merely throwing these blocks down could have been perceived as disrespectful. The sculptor Josef Klimeš, who observed the demolition, described it in two stages; the detonative and the mechanical. During the detonative stage, the workers placed scaffolding around the monument and then drilled holes into the granite, fifty centimeters apart, into which they placed dynamite. Before each blast they covered the monument and scaffolding with iron netting, so that the granite would not fly


off like shrapnel. They also covered the plinth and surrounding area with layers of timber and boards to protect it from damage. The three blasts took place in the autumn of 1962. The mechanical stage was much more time-consuming. Since the reinforced concrete construction could not be completely destroyed with dynamite, it took approximately a year to demolish it by hand.7 The explosive technician Jiří Příhoda described the process of deconstruction as not only difficult because of its size, but also because there was fear that the blasts could damage the city’s historical center.8 Příhoda brought down the monument in parts. He drilled dynamite into the granite siding. The first blast decimated the granite blocks on the left and right sides of the monument. The second detonation, ironically resounding just before the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, destroyed the granite siding from the already decapitated Stalin and from the back of the monument. The third explosion turned much of the reinforced concrete into dust and rubble. Altogether the detonation required 1860 detonators, 1900 meters of detonating fuse, 1570 kilograms of plastic explosives and 600 kilograms of other less powerful explosives. The rubble was buried within the cellar-like structure right beneath the plinth. The Present In 1991 a dark-red, twenty-five-meter-tall metronome was erected on the plinth that was once occupied by Stalin. Its steady ticking calls attention to the city’s musical history as well as to the inevitable passage of time. Time, nonetheless, has run out for the metronome. Never conceived as a permanent structure, the timepiece has been slated for replacement. What will replace it will reflect how the Czechs position themselves to their historically difficult past.

Dismantling of the Monument of J. V. Stalin in Prague 28 October 1962 photo by ČTK / PAP

6 Mariusz Szczygieł, Gottland (Prague: Dokořán, 2007), 77. 7 Interview with Klimeš (2012). 8 Martin Skyba, “Stalinův pomník 1962,” Česká televize, 2001. http://www. porady/1091682868-osudove-okamziky/401213100081049-stalinuv-pomnik-1962/.

The Demolition of a Monument Built for Eternity



The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia – now and then The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia, the largest monument of its type in Bulgaria, is located on a major thoroughfare of the city, close to Sofia University and the National Assembly building. It was unveiled on September 7th 1954 – two days before the tenth anniversary of the end of the WWII in Bulgaria. Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Sylwia Zaremba

Construction of the Soviet Army Monument in Sofia, 1953–1954 Photo by Stoyan Sertev Courtesy of Alexander Sertev

The monument is part of a monumental sculptural/architectural complex, comprising a number of sculptural groups in the socialist realism style, arranged across an area of 2000 square meters. The entire complex has a clear central axis, perpendicular to the Tsar Liberator Boulevard (then: Russia Boulevard); it is raised and separated from the surrounding park by granite steps, forming part of the composition. The urban landscape design, applied here, gradually builds a narrative about “Soviet-Bulgarian friendship”, military victories of Soviet Russia and – first and foremost – about building socialism1. On the avenue side, the composition is opened by two groups of statues, depicting the Brotherly Welcome of the Soviet Army in Bulgaria. Their realization was supervised by sculptor Ivan Funev, educated in Sofia, Rome and Paris, who sympathized with communism even before the war. Further on, there is an 80-meter long square, decorated with flowerbeds and flanked by ten bronze wreaths, placed horizontally on pedestals, symbolizing victories of the Soviet Army from Stalingrad to Berlin. The square leads towards the main element of the composition, a group of figures: a woman with child, a worker and a Red Army soldier with a rifle raised high, on a 37 meter tall pedestal, bearing the inscription: “To the Red Army, our liberator – the grateful Bulgarian nation”. The authors of the group are sculptresses Mara Georgieva and Vaska Emanuilova – who were both born in 1905 and died in the 1980s. On the pedestal, on its east and west side, as well as at the back, are three mid-relief panels, 2.2 x 6 meters, depicting the October Revolution of 1917 (by Lûbomir Dalčev and his team), the Great

Patriotic War, (Vasil Zidarov with team) and Support to Soviet Army by the civilian population (Petr Dojčinov with team). All the sculptural elements were made in clay, in temporary workshops arranged at the nearby National Library, and subsequently cast in bronze. Architectural elements were lined with granite, excavated from the Vitosha mountain, which at the same time provides a picturesque backdrop for the monument. The author of the concept of the monument, chosen in the 1950 competition, was Danko Mitov, chief architect of Sofia in 1948–1956. He engaged the most important Bulgarian architects and sculptors to work on it. However, initially, some of the artists were Mitov’s competitors – and the design to be implemented was selected as a result of another competition. The first one, announced in 19482, assumed a completely different location for the monument, in a peripheral area of the city. As one of its creators, sculptor Vasil Zidarov, noted: “under pressure from the public and thoughts expressed by Russian architects” who were members of the jury, the location was changed to the City Gardens across from the Council of Ministers building. Therefore, at the end of 1948, another competition was announced, but this was also unsuccessful – due to the sudden death of Bulgaria’s Prime Minister (and previous Secretary General of the Communist International) Georgi Dymitrov, the site intended for the monument was repurposed for his mausoleum. Very few submissions were made to the second competition, most of them unsatisfactory in terms of form and content. And so the government announced a third competition, with only five artists invited to participate: Danko Mitov, Andrey Nikolov, Marko Markov, Ivan Funev and Kiril

1 See Reuben Fowkes, “Soviet War Memorials in Eastern Europe, 1945–74” [in:] Figuration/Abstraction: Strategies for Public Sculpture in Europe 1945–1968, ed. Charlotte Benton, London–Ashgate 2004, p. 22–24. 2 According to Rumen Neikov, son of monument construction manager, Luben Neikov, the first competition was held in 1946, at the initiative of city authorities. The project was abandoned due to lack of funds. See Joana Penova, “Pametnikt na Svetskata armiâ e kuh” [Soviet Army Monument is hollow], interview with Rumen Neikov [online, translation by authors], [accessed on 18.10.2018], available online at: < Article/775319>.

Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Sylwia Zaremba


Todorov. No unequivocal winner was announced, so the designs by Mitov, Nikolov and Todorov were returned for adjustments, and in May 1950 Mitov’s improved design was approved for implementation3. As Zidarov notes, in each competition the jury included envoys from the USSR: in 1948, architect and professor Leonid Poliakov and Alexander Ivanovich Naumov, deputy chief architect of Leningrad; then in the second it was the pre-war constructivist Alexander Gegello and socialist realism sculptor and academic teacher, Sergei Semenovich Aleshin, and – in the final competition – once again Aleshin and architect Boris Blochin (co-author, with Bulgarian architect Tsolov, of the House of the Party in Sofia, also a pioneer of Soviet prefabricated architecture). “Due to the absence of classical monumental sculptural traditions in our own heritage, the rich experience of Soviet monumental art made it much easier for the creators to do their job” – summarized Zidarov in “Sofia” magazine in 19534. ——— After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a debate started in Bulgaria about the legacy of the past regime. In 1993, Sofia City Council passed a resolution according to which the Lenin statue and five-pointed red star were to be removed from the spire of the House of the Party5. There was also a plan to dismantle the Soviet Army monument, however this was ultimately not done. At the time, one of the authors of the monument, Lûbomir Dalčev, proposed moving it to a less prominent location, far from the city centre, which would, in a way, correspond to the original plans. The matter of the communist legacy is still the subject of heated debate, especially in the context of acts of vandalism and artistic performances involving Soviet monuments across the country. Frequently, voices in the debate include those of Russian diplomats, representatives of authorities and organizations such as the Bulgarian-Russian Forum, demanding the protection of the monuments against vandalism and highlighting the role of Soviet Union forces in liberating Bulgaria “from the yoke of fascism”. Those in favour of preserving the monument argue that it is still a work of art, not just a reminder of the past6. As a historic landmark, it is also protected by law, although it was only in 2018, after yet another case of anti-communist inscriptions sprayed on it in red paint, that Sofia police installed CCTV cameras and started regular patrols7. Before that, the city authorities avoided taking responsibility for the condition of the monument and procrastinated with i.a. cleaning it, arguing that the monument is the property of the State8. In 2010, a citizen’s committee for the dismantling of the monument was formed in Sofia9. This possibly shows the dividing line within

society – the country’s interior remains traditionally pro-Russian, while the capital has quickly adopted a Western outlook10. The most spectacular artistic “attack” on the monument took place on June 17th 2011, when anonymous artists, subsequently revealed as the Destructive Creation group, painted over the relief depicting the October Revolution, transforming historical heroes of the previous era into fictional figures from American pop-culture. Painted characters on the pedestal included The Mask, Joker, Wolverine, Santa Claus, Superman, Ronald McDonald, Captain America, Robin and Wonder Woman. The inscription in Bulgarian underneath said: В крак с времето: “keeping pace with the times”. The undertaking, performed during the Sofia Design Week festival, lasted just one weekend, nonetheless it achieved international fame. Subsequently, other interventions were made, including those related to anti-ACTA movement (February 2012), the arrest of Pussy Riot members (2012), the anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia (August 2013; inspired by David Černy’s painting the Monument to Soviet Tank Crews in Prague pink in 199111) and annexation of Crimea (2014). The site of the Soviet Army monument and surrounding park is a popular leisure destination. It is an important part of the daily life of Sofia’s citizens. State ceremonies are held in the square, as well as concerts, film screenings, holiday fairs, health-food markets, and even the Sofia Gay Pride Parade after party12. The monument is also often chosen as a backdrop for wedding photographs and in the 1990s and early 2000s it was the site of a techno music festival13. Near the Eagles’ Bridge there is a fenced dog park and on the Vasil Levsky Boulevard side, across from October Revolution relief, a skateboarding ramp. Smaller ramps can also be found in other parts of the area around the monument – a square paved with large granite slabs (with some patina on them) is a convenient surface for urban sports aficionados. Given this context, it is not difficult to guess why this particular relief falls victim to graffiti: Iain Borden wrote a lot about the culture-formative, although anarchistic, role of skaterboarders, with references to Henri Lefebvre’s theories14. Skater culture is interlinked with graffiti culture. The Soviet Army Monument, clearly intercepted by the young generation, for whom Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union in 2007 is a far more important point of reference than “liberation” by the Soviet Army, still plays an important role in the city’s space, while at the same time gaining new meanings, open to interpretation15. Much of the graffiti is overtly anti-Russian in nature – hence suspicions that there are “western forces” behind it. However, the spontaneity of realizations casts doubt on conspiracy theories.


The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia – now and then

3 Vasil Zidarov, “Izgraždaneto na Pametnikana Swetskata armiâ” [Construction of Soviet Army Monument], Sofia, 1953, No. 17, p. 10–14, [online, translation by authors] [accessed on: 18.10.2018], available online at: <http://stara-sofia.blogspot. com/2016/04/blog-post_20.html>. 4 Ibidem. 5 See J. Penova, op. cit. 6 See J. Penova, op. cit. 7 See Martin Dimitrov, “Sofia’s Red Army Monument: Canvas for Artists and Vandals,” Balkan Insight [online], [accessed on: 30.10.2018], available online at: < en/article/sofia-s-red-army-memorialthe-favorite-canvas-of-artists-and-vandals-10-25-2018>. 8 Cleaning was done by, among others, youth organizations affiliated with the socialist party and the Bulgarian-Russian Forum. “Sofia Graffiti Fans Mourn Soviet Memorial’s New Look,” Balkan Insight [online], [accessed on: 30.10.2018], available online at: <http://www.balkaninsight. com/en/article/soviet-army-monument-in-sofia-washed-clean-overnight>; “Sofia: różowy pomnik Armii Czerwonej,” TVP INFO,, 21.08.2013 [online], [accessed on: 30.10.2018], available online at: < sofia-rozowy-pomnik-armii-czerwonej>.

The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia painted pink on the 45th anniversary of the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia. The inscription, in Czech, says “Bulgaria apologizes!”, 21.08.2013. Photo by Vladimir Shokov / BTA

9 See Kristina Dimitrova, “Appropriations of Urban Space as Resistance: The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia,” Kritika i Humanizm, 2016, No. 46, p. 51. 10 A bout Bulgaria-Russia relations, see e.g. “Bulgaria” [online], [accessed on: 30.10.2018], available online at: < countries-compared-states/bulgaria/>. 11 “Sofia: różowy pomnik Armii Czerwonej” op. cit. 12 M. Dimitrov, op. cit. 13 K. Dimitrova, op. cit., p. 52. 14 Cf. Antoni Michnik, “Prawo (do) jazdy – skateboarding, Henri Lefebvre and Iain Borden” [online], [accessed on: 25.10.2018], available online at: < watch?v=Zogmi5U7t_g>. 15 K. Dimitrova, op. cit., p. 52.

The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia, painted over by the Destructive Creation Collective, 17.06.2011. Photo by Julia Lazarova / Dnevnik

Spring cleaning in Sofia. Socialists wash the Soviet Army Monument, 9.04.2011. Photo by Vladimir Shokov / BTA


Schoolchildren lay flowers under the Soviet Army Monument during Victory Day celebrations, 9.05.1958 Photo by Evelina Radoslavova / BTA

Klara Czerniewska-Andryszczyk, Sylwia Zaremba


The Soviet Army Monument in Sofia – now and then


Fortress by the Bug river In July 1944, when the front line of the war moved beyond the river Bug, a Soviet garrison remained in Brest Fortress. It comprised of soldiers recently returned from the various fronts and new recruits who had grown up in conditions of Stalinist terror, war turmoil and total propaganda1. They were the ones to dig away at the rubble and ruined structures to unearth the bodies of their comrades, who had met their tragic fate in the fortress between June and July 1941. The soldiers’ bodies usually remained unidentified. The body of Captain Alexei Naganov (1915–1941), with documents and weapons, was only found a few years after the war. Such discoveries stirred emotions, evoking both sympathy and intrigue, not only among soldiers, but also the local inhabitants, who had survived the parades of Soviet and German troops along the main road through the town, the deportation of their relatives and loved ones by the NKVD in 1939–1941, the German occupation, and who then afterwards had to survive the hostile climate of Stalinist ideology. Irena Ławrowska

Creators of the Memorial Complex: sculptor Vladimir Bobyl, artist Vladimir Korol, sculptor Alexander Kibalnikov , architect Viktor Volchak, architect Valentin Zankovych at the construction site. 1960–1961 photographer unknown, Belarusian State Archives of Scientific and Technical Documentation


Painter Nicolai Churaba (1914–1998), whose family survived those dramatic times, wrote in his journal: “In 1947, I was (finally) granted a pass to Brest Fortress, and what I saw there left an indelible impression on me. Since then, this topic has been a leading motif in my work…”2. In 1951, the same subject was taken up by Pyotr Krivonogov (1910–1967), a painter specializing in military art and alumnus of the Mitrofan Grekov art school. He worked on site for several months, preparing a number of studies for his Defenders of Brest Fortress painting. The subject matter of the tragedy of 1941 and war in general also became prevalent in urban monumental sculpture: it is no accident that between the buildings of the District Committee of the Communist Party of Byelorussia and the District Executive Committee a gigantic monument to Russian commander Alexander Suvorov was planned3. The first monument to the Heroes of Brest Fortress was planned for the same location, however, in 1948, the Monument to Soviet Soldiers was erected at the old Garrison Cemetery – the same place the bodies of the unknown soldiers, unearthed in 1944–1948 from the rubble of the fortress, had been buried4. Sculptor Lev Kerbel (1917–2003), one of the creators of the Monument to Soviet Soldiers in Berlin-Tiergarten cemetery (1945), reproduced the composition in Brest, making it an organic part of the landscape. The ceremonial unveiling of the monument on July 28th 1948 helped publicize the matter of the defense of the fortress beyond the borders of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). An article by Moisei Goldberg (1909–1968, (pen name Mikhail Zlotogorov), published in Ogoniok magazine with a print run of 154 thousand, attracted the attention of deputy editor-in-chief of the monthly Novyj Mir, Sergei Smirnov (1915–1976). He found witnesses of the tragedy and followed up on those who, after the battles for the fortress, survived German captivity and Soviet filtration camps5. Thanks to Goldberg, dissenters were suddenly recognized as heroes of war: Pyotr Klypa, among others, was released from prison (1926–1983), later to become the model for the Thirst monument6. A modest exhibition at the Museum of the Defense of Brest Fortress, opened in 1956, attracted some 15 thousand visitors in just a few months. The Museum needed adequate infrastructure, so a plan was prepared for the development of the Fortress grounds7. In that project, the grounds of the citadel were considered a site of a memorial for the first time, with a monument to the “fortitude and fearlessness of the Soviet soldiers”8. The style, the composition, the form, the scale and the location of the monument meant there was the need of a competition, this took place in 19569. Most of the designs – except for that submitted by the team of architect Georgy Zaborsky (1909–1999) – placed

the main monument at the centre of the citadel10. However, an alternative idea that proposed raising an obelisk on the south-western rampart of the fortress, at Moskovskaya street, drew the attention of the jury, even though it didn’t win at the time. The idea gradually gained momentum in competitions of 1959 and 1960–1964, although the designs disappointed the jury with their “standard approach”11. A closed competition in 1965, to which multiple sculptors were invited: Andrei Bembel (1905– 1986), Mark Roberman (1921), M. S. Altschuler, M. Vronsky, Yevgeny Vuchetich (1908–1974), Alexander Kibalnikov (1912–1987), as well as architects: Georgy Sysoyev, Anatoly Marenich, Yuri Shpit (1930–2009), O. Sidorenko12, became an opportunity to break this impasse. At this stage, a number of noteworthy ideas were crystallized, which, after suitable modifications, were included in the final design of the memorial: 1) lowering the level of Ceremonial Square, with the obelisk being dominant (the team of artists was headed by Andrei Bembel and architect Georgy Sysoyev); 2) an evocative composition, with certain features of the main monument visible (sculptor Alexander Kibalnikov, architects Oleg Stakhovich and Valentin Zankovich); 3) a prototype of the sculptural composition Thirst (M. Burdin, Victor Volchik, Sergey Musinski, Yromir Pechkin, Yuri Shpit, and architects, brothers Mark and Leiba Roberman); 4) a high relief, depicting historical scenes of the fortress’s defense (sculptor Altschuler, architects: Maxim Bylinkin, A. Makarov, A. Marenich, N. Milovidov and G. Sayevich). Based on the results of the closed competition, and by power of a decree of the Council of Ministers of the BSSR, a new creative team was formed, with sculptors A. Bembel, A. Bobyl, V. Zankovich, and architects Vladimir Korol, Victor Volchik, Y. Kazakov, O. Stakhovich, Georgy Sysoyev. Distinguished Moscow sculptor A. Kibalnikov was appointed head of the creative team, and Minsk architect Victor Volchik (1914-1987) was made chief architect of the project. Volchik reminisces that Kibalnikov did not involve himself in the organization of the group’s work, so everything started with rivalry and a “tug-of-war”13. Creative differences within the team were not resolved: a number of people worked on their own designs for the monument. Only after the intervention of a state committee did the team members stop designing “as they saw fit”14. In 1967, the first technical drawings were ready and site preparation works commenced immediately. At the same time, works continued to orient the main elements of the future memorial, fine tuning the scale, whilst the condition of historical buildings in the fortress was inspected15. In October of the same year, the memorial design was granted final approval. The site was expanded so as to include the

1 Between 1921–1939 there was a Polish garrison in the fortress, in September 1939 German troops captured it. Between September 21st 1939 and June 22nd 1941, a Red Army garrison was stationed there. In June 1941, soldiers of the garrison fought a battle against German troops who subsequently captured Brest and remained there until 1944. As a result of these events, in Soviet historical narrative of Brest Fortress became a symbol of resistance against the Nazis. 2 Mikalay Churaba, Zhyvapis. Hrafika. Zhytstsyo, Brest 2014, p. 4. 3 See State Archive of Brest Oblast (hereinafter: APOB), f. 5 vop. 1 spr. 418. 4 See BGATD f. 122, op.1, vop. 281, spr. 2. 5 See Mihail Zlatogorov, “Brestskaya­ krepasts’,” Ohonyok № 8, 1948, p. 13–14. Idem, “Za Rodinu! Za Stalina!, Komsomol’tsy i Molodëzh’vooruzhënnykh Sil Soyuza SSR v Vvelikoy Otechestvennoy voyne,” Literaturno-khudozhestvennyy idokumental’nyy sbornik, 1941–1942, Moskva, Voyenizdat, 1951, p. 18–25. 6 See V.A. Torchinov, A.M. Leontyuk, Vokrug Stalina. Istoriko-biograficheskiy spravochnik, Sankt-Peterburg, 2000, p. 437–439. “Poiski Aleksandra Filya,” [in] S.S. Smirnov. Brestskaya krepost’, Moskva, Raritet. 2000. – 406 s. Number of prisoners of war among the Soviet soldiers ranges from 6,5 to 7,5 thousand. See K. Gantser, “Nemetskiye i sovetskiye poteri kak pokazatel’ prodolzhitel’nosti i intensivnosti boyëv za brestskuyu krepost’” Belarus’i Germaniya: gistoryya suchasnasts’, Vypusk 12. Minsk 2014, p. 44–52. S.S.Smirnov. Brestskaya krepost’,Moskva, 1964 7 See Bryestkaya kryepost’. Ot muzyeya domyemoriala. Brest 2006. 8 BGATD f. 122, vop.1, spr. 281, p. 51. 9

See ibidem, p. 42.

10 Also Kobrinskaya street (16th – 18th century), Shasheina (1835 – 1915), Jagiellonska (1918–1939), currently – Masherov Avenue. 11 Anikin Viktor Ivanovich, “Biograficheskiy spravochnik, Minsk,” Belorusskaya sovetskaya entsiklopediya imeni Petrusya Brovki, 1982, t. 5, p. 19. Anikin Viktor Ivanovich, Brestskaya krepost – krepostgeroy, Arkhitektura gorodovgeroyev, Moskva, Stroyizdat, 1985, p. 88, BGATD f. 122, op.1, spr. 281, p. 1. 12 Vuchetich rejected the invitation. See Anikin Victor Ivanovich, Brest·skaya krepost’ – krepost’-geroy, Arkhitektura gorodovgeroyev, Moskva, Stroyizdat, 1985, p. 94. 13 BGATD f. 122, vop.1, spr.281, s.14. 14 Ibidem, p. 44. 15 Works were performed by Special Academic Restoration Workshops of the Ministry of Culture of BSSR.

Irena Ławrowska


future Memorial Park area16. The total surface area of the memorial reached nearly 80 hectares. The axis of the memorial is a pedestrian avenue, approximately 850 meters in length, connecting the system of squares, important sites and the individual elements of the memorial. Starting at the intersection of Moskovskaya (currently Masherov Avenue) and Zubachev street, the avenue leads to the main entrance, which – as the authors stated – constitutes an overture to their oeuvre17. Past the entrance, visitors become immersed in the sombre atmosphere of the memorial. The entrance looks like a gigantic fissure in a monolithic structure, as if after an explosion, which causes the concrete slabs to fall, seemingly accidentally, so as to form a five-pointed star. In the opening of the entrance, the perspective is visible, with the main Fortitude monument looming over the ruins of the former church and Jesuit college (Engineering Administration) and Ceremonial Square. Fortitude is a majestic 30 meter tall monument, cast from thick, unprocessed concrete, depicting a soldier focused on his mission. The back of the monument features a relief with fortress defense scenes. This idea was taken from the design submitted to the competition by sculptors A. Bembel, the Roberman brothers and M. Altschuler, however the implementation is far less expressive then the original idea. The composition is crowned by a bayonet-obelisk, rising above the ruins of the Engineering Administration (Jesuit college) to a height of 104.5 metres. Further behind the obelisk

there are the ruins of the former soldiers’ club (St Nicolas’ Garrison Church), included in the composition. The artistic concept for the memorial began to take shape during Khrushchev’s brief Thaw period and was finalized during Brezhnev’s “stagnation” era, changing – as can be seen here – along with the ideology: from a modest classical stele on the main city square to the majestic memorial complex, situated directly on the site of the events. The excessive scale of the memorial played a negative role even during Brezhnev’s time. Despite the expectations of the authors, the BSSR Association of Architects did not put the design forward for a state award, as, it said, “the central composition is anti-artistic, as it overwhelms the fundamental value of Brest Fortress, the fortress buildings themselves.”18. The Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex unveiling ceremony took place on September 25th 1971, fifteen years after the first contest was announced. The Memorial’s paradigm began to change around 1987: next to the fortress’s defensive story, another, non-military story begins to emerge19. The memorial complex functions in a different way. Some projects, such as the restoration of St Nicholas’ Garrison Church (club), bring new meanings to it, others – such as the Heroes of the Border monument by Valentin Zankovich, or the Western Beltway Overpass – are a dissonance and disrupt the integrity of the complex, depriving it of the “overture” designed by its creators back in 1971.


16 The architectural planning task encompassed: 1. Park design, taking into account the topography of the site. 2. Division of the park area into zones, where trees would be planted by delegations from USSR republics. 3. Dendrological plan, composed by tree type. 4. Tree nursery. 5. Small architectural objects for the park: benches, gazebos, commemoration signs. See BGATD f. 122, vop.1, spr. 281, p. 3. 17 See Anikin, ibidem, p. 106. 18 B DATD, f. spr. 19 See Irena Ławrowska, “Rewitalizacja terytorium historycznego centrum miasta i Twierdzy Brzeskiej. Aktualne problemy i projekty” [in:] Ochrona dziedzictwa kulturowego i materialnego pogranicza, Lublin 2011, p. 121.

The main gate of the Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex Photographer unknown, Belarusian State Archives of Scientific and Technical Documentation

On the day of the unveiling of the Memorial, Alexander Kibalnikov meets defenders of Brest fortress and veterans of the Second World War at Brest railway station, September 1971. photo by: Evgeni Makarchuk

Fortress by the Bug river



Competition for the monument in AuschwitzBirkenau. Unrealised projects. The first encounter with real monumental sculpture came in 19571958 during two competitions of paramount importance: the general competition for the monument to the Heroes of Warsaw and the international competition for the Auschwitz-Birkenau monument. They heralded new phenomena and concepts in Polish monumental sculpture. For the majority of viewers, some of the designs (all of which were made available to the public) must have been a great surprise. I would venture to say that even the members of the jury could not decipher them. The failure to grasp the meaning of the design proposed by the Polish team (Oskar Hansen, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz and Julian Pałka) could have been what sparked vehement protests, spearheaded by Auschwitz Committee members Tadeusz Hołuj, Kazimierz Smolen and Robert Waitz, against the jury’s assessment and the implementation of the project. The Road Monument simply went beyond their ideas of monuments in general. It was beyond the concept itself. Irena Grzesiuk-Olszewska

International Monument to Victims of Auschwitz-Birkenau Camp authors: Pietro Cascella, Giorgio Simoncini, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Julian Pałka 1967-1970, photographer unknown photo by Auschwitz Museum Archive

The breakthrough in the field of monumental sculpture that occurred at this time pivoted, among other things, on the fact that, for the first time, artists themselves started to ask the basic question about what a monument essentially is. Is it supposed to be a sculpture, a piece of architecture, or maybe something else altogether? Thus emerged the notion of the monument as an organised space or place of homage and, finally, Hansen’s notion of the so-called “open form”. Artists also began to realise that the modern monument should be a sign recalling a given event. This sign could be a roadside stone, a cross, or even the landscape itself, the space and the way it is shown and showcased. This is why the Polish team proposed that the whole camp, exactly as the artists had found it at the moment of making the design, serve as the monument. Thus, space and time, not sculpture (even the most dramatic) or architecture (even the most magnificent), became the basis of the composition. It was this breakthrough that charted the further development of monumental sculpture in Poland, and even around the world.

The Auschwitz competition became a great success of Polish art. Out of the seven projects selected for the second stage, three were by Polish artists, and one of these was rated the highest. It was a great surprise for the jurors, for the artists themselves, and above all for the public, who were following the competition closely. In the first stage, judged at Auschwitz on 3rd May 1958, a Polish team consisting of Hansen, Jarnuszkiewicz and Pałka (in collaboration with Lechosław Rosiński and Edmund Kupiecki), presented a project consisting of a plate linking two crematoria. This plate was the very earth of Auschwitz. A narrow, slanted opening cut out into it led into a small interior. The architecture inside consisted of steep walls and the sky above. One of the walls contained a sanctuary with ashes. A red crystal above the urn, at the end of the railway track, by the loading ramp, bled colour into the interior of the sanctuary. The designers consciously renounced any reference to traditional, conventional monuments. Their design was to be a backdrop, a context for human experience. For this reason, it was judged highly by the whole jury.

Irena Grzesiuk-Olszewska


In the second stage of the competition, the members of the team abandoned the first concept as too Christian in the traditional sense. After nine attempts, a new design, the Road Monument, emerged. The camp is dissected by a diagonal road. A 70-metre-wide, simple asphalt ribbon with a profound meaning: never again to the camp and to what happened there. All the elements of the composition, i.e. what remained of the camp, were subordinated to this message. The gate the prisoners entered through was closed once and for all. From now on, nobody would pass through it again. The railway ramp, the barracks and other fragments of the camp buildings were treated is a similar fashion. Forcing itself into the camp, the road strikes it out and exposes what went on inside. Visitors enter upon the road starting in the middle of the section between the Gate of Death and the side fence. Walking along it, they pass by and see the surviving fragments of barracks visible all over the place, rows of poles that held up the barbed-wire fence, the scaffolding of chimneys, iron cages and hundreds of concrete cesspit openings, exactly as the designers had found them upon arrival. The road extends all the way to a staircase leading to the crematorium cellar, and continues onward into the fields, perishing from sight, a finale so different from the fate of the camp’s victims. The rest, i.e. everything on both sides of the road inside the camp, was to be left untouched, letting the passage of time take its toll. The road was to provide a backdrop, highlighting the characteristic elements of the camp – authentic witnesses of the tragedy, while the process occurring along the road was conceived as a ticking clock.

“The lush vegetation,” says Pałka, “which you can’t constantly fight in such a large area, will eventually cover the camp, and in the midst of this wild, greedy nature only a well-tended and meticulously preserved clearcut will remain, a kind of testimony to the crimes committed here.” ‘We assumed”, says Jarnuszkiewicz, “that today, after twenty years, what happened here is unimaginable, it seems impossible, and no sculpture, even the most amazing and dramatically expressive, could convey it; that only the place itself can be its own testimony. Therefore, we thought that, given these conditions, the audience should be made a co-author of the monument, while we would only be acting as directors whose role is to accentuate the most important elements of this dramatic performance.” In this design, the artists forgot themselves, allowing the camp itself to speak. And this is largely what the revelation and absolute novelty of the project was all about. The Polish team only used elements found in the camp, tapping into their maximum authenticity, condemning the camp itself to extermination, subjecting it to the law of self-destruction through the operation of nature and time. Hansen, Jarnuszkiewicz and Pałka wanted to keep the camp as it was twelve years after the war, while all the other distinguished designs saw it as necessary to transform at least part of the area, which was against the competition rules if we assume that the camp was untouchable. But that is precisely what those opposed to the design on the International Auschwitz Committee couldn’t understand. The Committee demanded a sculptural monument, not realising that even the most brilliant


sculpture could not serve as a substitute for the impression made by the very sight of the crematorium. Some statements about the Polish design: “The Road Monument,” wrote Stanisław Jankowski, “strikes out the ominous traces of the camp. It is tragically long. Like lava, it moves along, freezing into place the scars of the barracks, fences, the railway ramp and the crematorium, by which it places plaques with the dates 1940–1945.” “The history of mankind”, wrote Jerzy Sołtan, “knows road monuments. These are the sphinx alleys of ancient Egypt and the temple roads of Yucatan. From this point of view, the concept of the Auschwitz Memorial is entirely traditional. What is novel about it are the traces of authentic death memorials. Any comparison with any work of sculpture would be nothing short of conceit. The Auschwitz Road Monument also has its own sphinxes. These are the camp barracks.” “Hansen’s work”, writes Seweryna Szmaglewska, author of Dymy nad Birkenau (Smoke over Birkenau), “may hurt the feelings of former Auschwitz prisoners. Why? The assumption is too theoretical. We strike out fascism, the authors seem to be saying. No more Auschwitz and never again! It’s perfect for a poster, illustration, or book cover. But if implemented within the vast area of the camp this vision may lose its meaning completely.” “Unfortunately, the Polish project was not selected. Tadeusz Hołuj opposed it”, writes Hansen. “Bakema, Gutt, and Courthion wanted to save the Polish design. The decision was made that two teams, ours and the Italian team combined, would build the monument.” Romuald Gutt, a member of the jury, describes what one may still today consider the unforgivable defeat of the Polish team: “Under the leadership of Henry Moore, we examined the submitted works. There was a long discussion. Everyone voted in favour of Hansen’s design. A final decision was to be made the following day. In the evening, when we came back to the hotel, a bomb exploded. The members of the Auschwitz Committee announced that they would not erect Hansen’s monument. It was a great surprise for us, the jurors.” The purpose of merging three teams was to push the Polish design through. “However”, as Hansen writes, “the Italians understood it literally, as the sum of three concepts. Floors carved like stalls and expressive sculptures of train cars were to be combined with the road concept. That was too much for me. I withdrew.” “Despite the expression of individual sculptures created by the Cascella–Jarnuszkiewicz duo”, wrote Jerzy Olkiewicz about the completed work, “the Auschwitz Monument retains artistic moderation or even a discreet reticence. It is devoid of pathos and does not need to impose an atmosphere, as one already exists.”

Competition for the monument in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Unrealised projects.

“The word monument connotes academism and rhetoric. While working on the design for the Auschwitz Memorial together with the Poles we tried to avoid this pitfall by renouncing the traditional genre ambitions, including dominating over and defining the surroundings. We tried not to disturb the great silence of Birkenau, which in itself constitutes a monument of incomparable power. Our monument is modest, human in its proportions and dimensions. It should act on the emotions”, said Pietro Cascella (sculptor) and Giorgio Simoncini (architect). Despite the fact that it eventually produced a work of compromise, the Auschwitz competition had a huge impact on many monuments in the following years. It set the direction for spatial thinking to be followed in the future by many more creators of monumental forms. It was a turning point.



Monuments by Vojin Bakić

Monuments by Vojin Bakić The years following the Second World War, (…) the spirit of triumphalism over Nazism and the focus that was placed on the role of the victorious Red Army, and of individual heroes, was couched in an easily recognisable ideological code that dominated memorial narratives in the Soviet Union and its satellite bloc of socialist countries. (…) At the time, the links between Tito’s Yugoslavia and Stalin’s Soviet Union were monolithic and tight, though this would change the following year, when the ideological clash led to the articulation of two parallel political lines, based on the same ideological platform. Zvanko Maković

Vojin Bakić, Monument on Petrova Gora Photo by: Wolfgang Thaler, 2013

In the case of Yugoslavia, the imposition of Socialist Realism during the early post-war period focused all attention on recent history, where the War of Liberation was not only interpreted as a struggle against the fascist occupiers, but also depicted as a communist revolution, which tried to put itself forward as the supreme expression of a new humanism that would bring universal benefit and enlightenment to humanity as a whole. By generating such a meta-narrative, communist ideologists intended to articulate the final, unquestionable truth, as a myth that could explain both the present and the future of human beings and society1. In order to maintain the ideological interpretation of the war as a decisive historical event, marking not only the end of a particular social project – capitalism – but also a breach with its culture, identity, ethics and a range of other social attributes, the communists used every possible means to furnish the necessary ideological instruments for an overall discursive practice2. This precisely defined task was open to various methods of implementation, one of the most efficient of which was to mark the sites of memory with easily discernible signs. In order to increase the efficacy of these ‘sacred’ places, with their strong ideological overtones, the post-war years were characterized by the rapid proliferation of monuments – most of them individual sculptures erected in public spaces or landscapes, which, as

a rule, tended to preserve the memory of events connected with the War and the Revolution. (…) Undoubtedly, Vojin Bakić was one of the most prominent sculptors of the period following the Second World War. His work, from socialist realism towards abstraction, especially in the field of monumental sculpture, can be seen to have closely followed the different stages in the evolution of Tito’s socialism, after Yugoslavia’s divergence from the Soviet model. (…) (…) As early as 1946, Bakić created his Call to Arms Monument (also known as the Monument to the Victims of Shooting), which was erected in his native town of Bjelovar the following year (…), making it one of the most important examples of monumental sculpture in Croatia and Yugoslavia as a whole in the second half of the 1940’s. (…) Bakić successfully conveyed a sense of the courage and self-awareness of the oppressed people, in their struggle against the fascist terror. Several of Bakić’s later monuments were actually less successful variations on the same theme. (…) In contrast, Monument to Stjepan Filipović in Valjevo, for which Bakić created the first sketches in 1949, became one of his most important works. (…) A common feature in all of these monuments was the fact that they portrayed male figures that needed to express courage, fearlessness and pride. These lonely figures were confronted with the forces of

1 Enver Kazaz, “Heroj i žrtva u funkciji pamćenja rata” Kultura sjećanja, ed.S. Bosto, T. Cipek, Disput, Zagreb 2009, p. 144. 2 Ibidem, s. 146.

Zvanko Maković


terror – whether in the course of undertaking guard duty or just after being brought to the scaffold. The monument in Valjevo is closest to the Bjelovar prototype. (…). Again, we see a man with raised arms a few moments before his execution. The model for the sculpture was a real revolutionary – Stjepan Filipović (…). He had joined the workers’ movement in 1937, and the Yugoslav Communist Party three years later. (…) In May 1942 (…) a Nazi court martial sentenced him to death by hanging. (…) At first glance, the two monuments are similar, but they actually differ profoundly, and it is this that indicates the start of Bakić’s journey towards maximum reductionism. (…) The monument in Valjevo was created in line with a rather different concept – abstracting close-up visual effects and exposing the monumental volume, which could stand on its own in an unlimited open space; for a monument, this was the only possible treatment of a single gesture, positioned in such a way that it not only figured as an individual act, but grew into a symbol of resistance and audacious revolutionary vigour3. (…) In the end, Bakić became one of the most vigorous participants in the new art scene that emerged in the early 1950’s. (…) Without any doubt, his memorial monuments constitute one of the most important segments of his oeuvre. The role he played, and the influence he exerted in developing this very significant genre for Yugoslavia at the time also serve as indicators of Tito’s particular form of socialism. One might say that Bakić became a paradigm for the creation of memorial monuments in Yugoslavia and that his Monument to Victory at Kamensko is one of the most important works of monumental art in a European context. In this monument, the sculptor showed that a grand idea could successfully be translated into the language of sculpture. And while some of his earliest works, such as the monument in Bjelovar, from the early postwar period, still accentuate heroic gestures inherent to the conventions of the genre, with the monument at Kamensko he opted for victory as the main theme, going back to ideals from antiquity, but using a new sculptural language of his own (…). The abstract shell of the Monument to Victory, forcefully elevated from the ground, shows a convincing and entirely original interpretation of the goddess Nike, with wings outstretched. Pathos and strength are clearly recognizable in the pure abstract elements of the gigantic form located in a beautiful, hilly landscape, surrounded by woodland. For all these reasons, this work may be considered one of the most important memorial monuments in the contemporary art of our region. (…) From the end of his ‘cubist’ phase (…), Bakić progressively reduced and synthesized the texture of his surfaces, until he attained the utmost purification, or crystallization, of form, in the final version of his Monument to Ivan Goran Kovačić (1964),

erected in Ribnjak Park, in Zagreb. (…) The choice of a shiny material significantly replaced the basic features of the work’s volume, as well as the entire concept of the monument. The shiny, smooth skin creates special effects in contact with the surroundings, so the series of sculptures mounted at the Dotrščina Memorial (1964-1968) symbolised a new moment in the very form of the commemoration of historic events. (…) Shiny crystal forms are arranged in nature, which then reflects back on to the sharp, segmented surfaces. The collaboration with two landscape architects, Josip and Silvana Seissel, also played a very important part in developing the monument in Dotrščina, as well as a series of other monuments by Bakić. This sculptural monument grows entirely out of the natural surroundings. Perceived only as a reflection, it appears to be a flash of light that dematerialises before the eyes as the walker strolls through the landscape. (…) In 1981, he finalised his most ambitious memorial complex, on which he had begun work as early as in 1970, and for which he won first prize in a re-run of a competition in 1975. This was his Monument on Petrova Gora. First of all it was not simply a sculpture, as the artist incorporated into it the essence of the entire architectural complex, of which it was a part. Furthermore, in this case as in all previous instances, Bakić relied on the spatial context of the monument – the natural landscape – in a way that enabled it to play a very important part in establishing its meaning. To say this is to highlight the fact that Bakić’s own efforts were always supplemented by those of others – (…) in the case of the Monument on Mount Petrova Gore, (…) the architect Berislav Serbetić, articulated the internal (i.e. functional) contents of the complex that once housed a museum collection commemorating the wartime events that had taken place there. And whereas the viewer’s attention had customarily been directed solely towards the external aspects of a monument, its shape and the environment in which it was located, Bakić’s concept for the Monument on Mount Petrova Gora opened up an entirely new way of looking at sculptural monuments, which was to concentrate on the interior as well. In this instance, the sculptor, alongside the architect Serbetić, paid great attention to the layout of the interior, as a way of enhancing the visitor experience. To this end, they carefully ordered a display of various objects and documents that provided a palpable form of testimony, and created additional space by installing a spiral walkway from the lower level of the building to the top. The spiral walk, in turn, introduced the additional component of time in the work, culminating in the visitor’s final ascent to the viewing platform at the top, which provided views out onto the beauty and infinite expanse of the landscape. The extreme sophistication, complexity and multi-layered


Monuments by Vojin Bakić

Vojin Bakić, Victory Monument in Kamenska, Croatia (Yugoslavia) photographer unknown, 1968, Contemporary Art Museum in Zagreb


ilan Prelog, “The Art of Vojin Bakić,” M Pogledi 1953, nr 11, s. 916–917.

significance of such a work invited comparisons to the role of the traditional shrine. (…) Overall, Vojin Bakić may justly be regarded as the most significant innovator of high modernist memorial art, in a genre that helped Yugoslavia to attain a position of considerable standing on the European scene. Nevertheless, despite all that he had achieved and the place that he had won for himself in the history of modern art, as well as the field of monumental sculpture, those of his works that were located in public spaces were continually vandalized and destroyed after the beginning of radical changes in the political system, from the early 1990’s onwards. Sculptural monuments probably constitute the most sensitive sector of cultural heritage as they are frequently closely identified with their time and become liable to fall victim to retaliation when public perceptions change. (…) In the Croatian War (…) the

majority of Bakić’s works falling into the category of memorial sculptures were destroyed, and this includes (…) his most significant work in this genre – the Monument to Victory, overlooking the village of Kamensko. (…) Today, the place where the monument stood is overgrown with weeds, with small pieces of black granite plate and several fragments of iron and steel still to be found scattered across a radius of over one kilometer. (…) Bakić’s other large monumental complex is the one in Petrova Gora. Fortunately, this did not suffer the same fate as the monument in Kamensko. During the Croatian War (…), the museum collection was taken from inside the Monument, but the architecture itself did not suffer any major damage. Since August 1995 (…) however, the steel panels have been continually removed, illegally of course, and sold for scrap.


Zvanko Maković


Monuments by Vojin Bakić



Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the tragedy; we must build a monument. If it is not built by then, I’m asking each of you to bring one stone to the next anniversary celebration. If everybody brings one stone, we will certainly build the monument. It will be an unusual one, but so too was the situation was unusual. The people’s government shot at their own people1. Magda Szcześniak

Workers on strike look at the design for the Monument to the fallen Shipyard Workers 1970, Gdańsk Shipyard, August 1980. Photo by: Zbigniew Trybek

Lech Wałęsa’s speech, delivered during an illegal gathering organized at Gate 2 of the Gdańsk Shipyard, commemorating the victims of December 1970 on the ninth anniversary of the events, shows the intuition, so characteristic of him, concerning the potential of communal practices – remembrance in this case. The need to create an object that would be a tribute to those killed during the December strike was articulated as early as 1971 by Henryk Lenarciak, employee of the shipyard and participant of the 1970 strike. However, during the demonstration of December 18th 1979, Lenarciak was held in preventive detention; the one to broach the subject of a monument was Wałęsa, who had not worked in the shipyard since 1976, and who was able to hide from the security services the day before2. In the speech quoted above, he had undermined the prevalent general image of memorialization – he advocated not only the memorialization of events that were problematic for the authorities, but also acted in defiance of the authorities’ demands: taking things into people’s own hands and creating a token of remembrance. His proposal resembles a collective performance in the spirit of participatory art, the tangible result of which brings to mind land art. An anachronistic application of those categories allows the highlighting of features not usually found in monument design, such as communal creation and non-traditional, non-figurative, potentially changeable forms of the object. Ultimately, the design of the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers 1970 has preserved, at least partially, the first of those characteristics – its communal nature. Changeable form, however, gave way to traditional religious symbolism.

Thus, the memorialization efforts, the toils to install a plaque or monument, built the community of resistance. This was recognized, not only by representatives of the opposition, but also by the authorities. Based on Security Service documents, Anna Machcewicz observed that the December 1979 demonstration was an impulse for the authorities to: develop two concepts of action. […] Both proposed erecting the monument, before the shipyard workers led by the opposition make good on their declared intentions. One concept assumed placing an obelisk with a plaque commemorating the victims in front of the shipyard gates. The second (recommended by the authors of the proposals) assumed erecting a monument in Srebrzysko cemetery3. Detaching the memorialization site from the site of the massacre was intended to reduce the impact of the monument, especially as a cemetery is a space governed by different rules, requiring discipline and staidness. However, as Machcewicz proves, in 1979 the state authorities were already considering the possibility, unthinkable for many years, to commemorate the shipyard workers at the place of their death, passed daily by thousands of workers. Hence, the demand for a monument to the victims of December ’70 among the initial demands of the strike action in Gdańsk Shipyard in 19804 was probably no surprise to director Klemens Gniech, who was negotiating with the workers at that stage. However, the initiative was a watershed moment in the process, which Jadwiga Staniszkis called “evolution of forms of

1 Op. cit. Andrzej Friszke “Narodziny Wałęsy,” Gazeta Wyborcza, 5.12.2008 2 Cf. Anna Machcewicz, Bunt. Strajki w Trójmieście. Sierpień ’80, Gdańsk 2015, p. 134. 3 Ibidem, p. 137. 4 About evolution of strike demands, see A. Machcewicz, op. cit., in particular chapters Mały strajk and Pod sztandarem MKS-u.

Magda Szcześniak


workers protest”5, as the list of demands sent from Gdańsk to Warsaw on August 14th 1980 combined broadly understood economic issues – pertaining not only to the shipyard workers – and demands for ending the persecution of opposition activists, with a demand for a monument that would permanently redefine the symbolism of the public sphere. In this way, the strike participants built a broad community, comprising not only the workers of a specific factory, but also all those suffering difficult material conditions and those who had fought to improve the workers’ situation in the past. The demand for the monument was accepted by the authorities already at the first stage of the strike action, on August 15th. This might be why it was not included in the list of 21 demands of the Inter-Factory Strike Committee (MKS), created on the night of August 16th to August 17th, as in line with the spontaneous dynamics of the strike, work on realization started right away. Both the first design of the monument and provisional – although, as it turned out, incredibly generative – memorialization in the form of a wooden cross, raised in front of the second gate of the Gdańsk Shipyard. In both cases, the scenario was identical: the design – religious in form and following the romantic paradigm – was prepared by representatives of the intelligentsia, and built by the shipyard workers. As Timothy Garton Ash reported, the author of the idea of a wooden cross was not a shipyard worker, but Tadeusz Szczudłowski, opposition activist from Gdańsk, member of the Movement for Defence of Human and Civic Rights, who came to the shipyard on August 16th having spent three months in prison. The cross was quickly put together by the shipyard’s carpenters, so as to be ready for the Sunday Holy Mass, resulting from negotiations with the Voivodeship authorities. As Ash wrote: After the Mass, father Jankowski blessed a cross made from rough lumber, then driven into the ground to the left of the gate, next to a pile of rusting rails. Later, a piece of paper was pinned to the cross, adorned with a ribbon in national colours and a small picture of the Madonna. On the page, there were a few written verses from Byron’s The Giaour, well known in Poland from Adam Mickiewicz’s translation6. Although it is difficult to say to whom Byron’s work was really “well known”, especially to the extent that would allow for a spontaneous quotation, we may assume, that the use of the seminal oeuvre of Romanticism was a manifestation of dominance of intellectual fancy, rather than a spontaneous addition by shipyard workers on strike. The next form of commemoration was the first design of the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard

Workers 1970, brought to the MKS meeting by engineer Bogdan Pietruszka. According to Wiesław Szyślak, member of the project committee: Our Ship Architecture Design Department went on strike, like everybody else. […] One day, colleagues from the department said to me: “Bogdan drew a nice monument, one that could be put up here”. Bogdan Pietruszka from the Hull Department had artistic talent. So I went to him: “Heard you have a sketch or something?”. “Oh, no, no!”. But he pulled it from under the mattress. He had to be secretive about it, as there was no shortage of undercover operatives among us. I said: “It’s a very good idea”. The design was four crosses with anchors. The sketch everybody knows. It had to be materialized somehow. I sat at the drawing board, drew it in scale, determined the type of materials, cross-cuts, form. The result was a rather large sketch that was taped from the inside in the BHP Hall7. This account of events tells us a lot about the process of preparing monument concept design under the circumstances of the strike action. On one hand, there is a feeling that ideas could be realized that were previously impossible even to imagine, or had to be created in secret – Pietruszka still pulls his sketch from under the mattress8, but his colleague quickly moves to develop the specifics of the concept. On the other hand, the design comes from the top of the shipyard hierarchy (another member of the monument construction committee calls the architects “royalty among engineers”9) and is practically never consulted with the workers themselves. The image of the monument goes into circulation as posters with the sketch, hung in the shipyard, a scale model placed on a table in the BHP Hall, pictures reprinted in foreign press and a photo depicting the act of signing the August Agreements, in which the model looms over the signatories, and subsequently in bulletins and flyers of NSZZ “Solidarność”. Those images were supposed to serve a performative function, to legitimize the existence of the monument and its form before the completion of relevant procedures and securing of finances for construction. Thanks to all the images circulating in the public space, it was as if the monument already existed. Those actions fit the dynamic of the negotiations, conducted by MKS and “Solidarity”, in which the government side was often made to face fait accompli. At the same time, the tactic departed, in a certain way, from the declared model of the strike action, according to which the concepts – for example, the content of 21 demands – were to be determined together, or at least undergo consultations. The workers, seeing the design drawing taped to the inside of the glass

5 About “evolution of forms of workers protest” and “working class awareness dynamic” with respect to August strike action, see Jadwiga Staniszkis, Samoograniczająca się rewolucja, Gdańsk 2010. 6 Timothy Garton Ash, “W Stoczni Lenina. Robotnicy, sierpień 1980,” Więź 1989, No. 2. 7 Wiesław Szyślak, “Wyciągnął szkic spod materaca” [in:] Niepokora. Artyści i naukowcy dla Solidarności 1980–1990, ed. S. Figlarowicz et al., Gdańsk 2006, p. 121. 8 Bogdan Pietruszka’s mattress is preserved in the holdings of European Solidarity Centre. The former owner has written on it: “On this mattress I slept during the occupation strike action in Gdańsk Shipyard. Design of the Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers was hidden under this mattress”. See European Solidarity Centre, “Historical mementos”, [online], [access: 12.10.2018], available on the Internet: < items/show/4367?query=materac&submit_search=Szukaj>. 9 Władysław Knap, “Tempo nie do powtórzenia” [in:] Niepokora…, op. cit., p. 58.


in the BHP Hall, could not change anything about it. Once again, religious iconography played a dominant role, on an exceptional scale to boot. As the author of the design said: “In Polish national symbolism, for the past thousand years the cross signified faith and martyrdom, and the anchor means hope. […] Fire, which will burn at the foot of the crosses, means life. Let the monument be a reminder to all those who would wish to take these symbols from us”10. The commencement of construction was approved by MKS on August 24th 1980, and on September 1st a Civic Committee for the Construction of the “Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers 1970” (SKBP) was formed, initially comprising several persons (all men), and later expanded (with women then joining the committee as well). The objective of the Committee, whose first chairman was Henryk Lenarciak, was to build the monument at record speed – the unveiling ceremony was planned for December 16th 1980, the tenth anniversary of the massacre11. A new version of the design was adopted: one of the four crosses was removed and ten reliefs were added, depicting scenes from the lives of shipyard workers. Gdańsk sculptress Elżbieta Szczodrowska was assigned to design the reliefs. Located at the lower part of the monument, the reliefs did not change its proportions, but because of them, an important symbolic shift occured – the religious-martyrological form (which involved a textual layer: a fragment of a Czesław Miłosz poem and Psalm 29) is supplemented with genre scenes close to the topics of socialist realist art, depicting the everyday lives of the workers: carpentry, painting, metal sheet installation, as well as the “Solidarity” protest. In contrast to the 42-meter tall crosses, visible from a large distance, built with the intention to “fit the composition of the dominant visual axis with the shipyard cranes in the background”12, the reliefs are only visible up close. Embedded in the structure of the crosses, they require an attentive and patient gaze; they probably often remain unnoticed by visitors passing by the monument, just as they have been “overlooked” by creators of various commemorative knickknacks (pins, postcards, medals, badges) prepared for the unveiling of the monument. Nonetheless, the structure commemorating the massacre of workers includes imagery that is rarely encountered in the Polish public sphere (especially since socialist realism was abandoned) – a depiction of physical labour and the working classes. As elements of the visual language of “Solidarity” they reflect the ambivalent nature of the movement itself, which combined cultural conservatism with progressive understandings of class community13. Appreciation for the workers’ labour by depicting it on the monument is also worth emphasizing in the context of the monument’s construction process: it was created not only thanks to financing by donations from the public, but also thanks to the

Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers

hard physical labour of the shipyard workers. They worked “at a mad pace, impossible to recreate”14, “day and night”15. Another important aspect is that building the monument in such a short time was possible only within the existing structures of the shipyard and thanks to impressive competences of its employees. “Almost all departments of the Gdańsk Shipyard participated in the construction”16, and the work itself was done “in shipyard mode”17, that is, with commitment and professionalism, despite extremely difficult conditions. As Robert Pepliński, Elżbieta Szczodrowska’s husband, who worked on the monument, said: There was a line of hull welders waiting to work [...]. On the outside, the welding went smoothly. But inside, the welder quickly began to choke. After ten minutes of work, we pulled the worker out using ropes. He’d be unable to catch his breath, he’d vomit. Gas poisoning was that severe, despite the working air pump. And then the next welder would go in, for his ten minutes18. Similar commitment was given to tasks requiring learning new skills (like workers casting the sculptures19) and those that seemed beneath the workers’ qualifications (“seven hundred engineers took pickaxes and started removing paving stones from the streets”, and “architects personally mixed clay for the sculptors”20); people worked after hours, as well as – with tacit consent of director Klemens Gniech – during work hours21. Thus, building the monument, although it was an exceptional experience for those who participated, at the same time was the result of maintaining the shipyard’s exceptionally stringent work standards. The author of a story published in “Tygodnik Powszechny” just before the unveiling of the monument observed: “If that effort were not underpinned by enthusiasm, by enhanced feeling of community of labour, moral encouragement, and awareness of what is being done and why – the effort would probably be overwhelming, crippling”22. The Monument was unveiled as planned – on December 16th 1980. Contrary to the hopes of the authorities – that the emotions would cool down once the public demand for memorialization of the December massacre, mentioned in the Security Service reports, was satisfied – a few days before the ceremony the “Biuletyn Informacyjny Solidarności” (Solidarity Information Bulletin) indicated the potential of the monument as an instrument to encourage further resistance. In response to the question: “Won’t the monument provide closure to this matter, heal the wounds?” Anna Walentynowicz said: “No, this matter is only being opened. We must not bow our heads, we must not retreat into ourselves. These monuments look towards tomorrow. They open a space where everybody will be able to breathe”23.

10 Bronisław Baczko, “Polska czasów »Solidarności«, czyli eksplozja pamięci” [in:] idem, Wyobrażenia społeczne. Szkice o nadziei i pamięci zbiorowej, Warszawa 1994, p. 198. 11 The works of the Committee(SKPB) are described by Arkadiusz Kazański, “Pomnik Poległych Stoczniowców,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej 2010, No. 9–10, p. 155–157. 12 Grzegorz Boros, “Polska na naszych oczach odnawiała się duchowo” [in:] Niepokora…, op. cit., p. 29. 13 About the discussion on the conservatism of “Solidarity” imagery, see. Łukasz Zaremba, Obrazy wychodzą na ulice. Spory w polskiej kulturze wizualnej, Warszawa 2018. About leftist iconography of the movement, see Magda Szcześniak, Łukasz Zaremba, “Sztandar” [in:] Polska kultura wizualna. Spojrzenia, ed. I. Kurz et al., Warszawa 2017. 14 W. Knap, op. cit., p. 58. 15 Elżbieta Szczodrowska, Robert Pepliński, “Wielkie budowanie” [in:] Niepokora…, op. cit., p. 118. 16 Cf. A. Kazański, op. cit., p. 156. 17 W. Szyślak, op. cit., p. 121. 18 E. Szczodrowska, R. Pepliński, op. cit., p. 118–119. 19 Cf. ibidem, p. 118. 20 W. Knap, op. cit., p. 58. At the same time, as Knap observed when describing tensions within the SKBP Committee: “It’s not like it’s all nice and agreeable all the time. [But] when we work, we work” (ibidem). 21 It should be noted, that at the same time, extremely intense organizational work was being carried out. SKBP Committee documents divulge the enormity of the bureaucratic and design work, as well as the nature of negotiations, that representatives of the Committee had to conduct with the authorities (with respect to, e.g., the wording of inscriptions on the monument or the unveiling ceremony content). 22 Jacek Susuł, “Pomnik i ludzie,” Tygodnik Powszechny 1980, No. 50. 23 Interview with Anna Walentynowicz, Biuletyn Informacyjny Solidarności 1980, No. 27, p.19.



Skopje 2014

For over five centuries, Macedonia was part of the Ottoman Empire – until the two Balkan wars at the beginning of the 20th century: the first (1912) led by Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia against Turkey under the pretext of “liberating the Christian brothers”, and the second (1913) between these former allies. Deep resentment from centuries before were unearthed on grounds of class and religion, and additionally fuelled by the interventions of other empires and perpetuated by nationalism – the ideology of the new era. During the second Balkan war, bloody purges of ethnic populations were committed on all sides. At the time, the region was known by the stigmatised terms “Balkan gunpowder barrel” or “the Balkan pot”1 – both of which continue to be used today. Marek Matyjanka Warrior On A Horse Monument in Skopje photo by Michał Siarek, Alexander series, 2013

1 See Maria Todorova, Bałkany wyobrażone, Wołowiec 2014, p. 253.

Marek Matyjanka


The treaty that ended the second Balkan war split Macedonia into three parts: Greek, Serbian and Bulgarian. Local peasants and shepherds were irrationally and obtusely told what nationality they were, despite nobody ever needing or wanting such labels before – what mattered in the Ottoman Empire were religion and the social status connected to it, not national descent: When Petr Rittih asked the people from the local town of Skopska Crna Gora whether they were Serbs, they replied that yes, they were. When the same question was asked of the inhabitants of Bašino Selo near Veles, half of the respondents said they were Bulgarian, and the other half – Serbian. [...] On top of that, some people claimed they were of Greek nationality, despite the fact they didn’t know a word in that language […]2. ——— After World War II, Macedonia entered the Socialist Federation of the Republic of Yugoslavia. The binding version of history required that attention be paid mostly to the cult of Marshall Tito and the anti-fascist guerrilla troops, as well as the unity of Southern Slavs and the international postulates of socialism. On 26 July 1963, an earthquake turned 80 percent of Skopje into ruins. Over 200 thousand of the city’s residents lost their homes. Skopje became a town of tents erected on a sea of rubble. Mothers named their daughters Šatorka (from šator – tent). Unceasing communications could be heard from the loudspeakers: “(...) female corpse, age 20. Pink pyjamas. Hairspray, Longines watch and a small alarm clock. Nothing more. Female corpse, middle aged. Gold tooth, dyed red hair. Found without clothes. Woman, age 30. Blue polka-dot pyjamas (...)”3. Skopje became a world symbol of solidarity, particularly with help coming from both sides of the Iron Curtain. Both Soviet and American soldiers worked side by side. Poles built the museum of modern art (based on a design by the Warsaw “Tigers”; one of the first exhibits was a painting given by Pablo Picasso), Romanians built a hospital, and the Swiss a school. The United States paid the tuition for seven Macedonian architects to study in American universities – after they returned to their homeland they designed the most prominent buildings in Skopje4. In 1964, Adolf Ciborowski became the director general of the programme of the reconstruction of Skopje under the auspices of the United Nations. Ciborowski had the experience of holding management positions in the Office for the Reconstruction of Warsaw and of the Chief Architect of Warsaw. It was apparently Tito himself who approved the

plan after Ciborowski sketched it on a napkin at a banquet5. The competition for the new urban plan of the city centre was won by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The rebuilt Skopje was to be an “open city”, whose aesthetic and political aspects were to become a single utopian entirety. The new objects were abstract forms of béton brut which looked like spaceships, clenched fists, flowers, stars. Skopje, ruined by the disaster, was to rise again and become the most modern city in the Balkans. ——— When in 1991 Macedonia seceded from the Federate Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, the red five-armed star was swapped for a golden sun from Vergina, a symbol of the rulers of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia – the same that Manolis Andronikos discovered in 1976 in the mass grave of Alexander, an hour’s drive west of Thessaloniki. The Greeks vehemently opposed this appropriation of symbols and history. First of all, they claimed that Macedonia had no right to call itself Macedonia, as this was the name of a province in northern Greece with the capital in Thessaloniki. They also argued that Alexander the Great, his mother, father, the horse Bucephalus and most of his friends were Greeks. Therefore, the Republic of Macedonia could call itself, say, the Republic of Skopje or similar, as long as it did not have the word Macedonia in its title. The dispute got stuck in an acronym – FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). If this idea was to be followed further, the possible effect could even be as absurd as FPITGRBBSOSY – The Former Province of Illyria, Thrace , Greece, Rome, Byzantium, Kingdom of Bulgaria, Serbia, Ottoman Empire, and again Serbia and Yugoslavia6. Finally, Macedonia removed the Vergina Sun symbol from its flag in 1995. ——— References to Alexander never constituted the foundations of Macedonian identity. It was rather the anti-Turkish insurgence from the beginning of the 20th century and the proclamation of the republic as part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1944. According to a study carried out by the Institute of Social and Humanity Sciences in Skopje, less than 10 percent of modern ethnic Macedonians identify themselves with Alexander the Great7. Therefore, when in 2010, the chairman of the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE made a visual presentation of how the capital city was to be rebuilt, few believed that the urban plan for Skopje 2014, with its the quasi-Baroque and quasi-classicist style with references to antiquity (for which art history terminology has no definitions) – orgiastic and colossal – could ever materialise. Some 130

2 Bozidar Jezernik, Dzika Europa. Bałkany w oczach zachodnich podróżników, Kraków 2007, p. 191. 3 Veljko Bulajić, Skopje 1963 [online], [access: 20.09.2018]: < watch?v=PUN4tiRCIDA> 4 See Vladimir Kulić, Maroje Mrduljaś, Wolfgang Thaler, Modernism In-between: The Mediatory Architectures of Socialist Yugoslavia, Berlin 2012, p. 46. 5 See Wojciech Kosiński, “Miasto – świadek historii: dobro i zło, piękno i brzydota,” Przestrzeń i forma 2014, no. 21, p. 27. 6 See Norman Davies, Europa. Rozprawa historyka z historią, Kraków 1998, p. 166. 7 See Katerina Kolozova, “Project and its Effects on the Perception of Macedonian Identity Among the Citizens of Skopje. Policy Brief ”, Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje, 2013 [online], [access: 25.09.2018]: <http://www.isshs.>.


“neo-Baroque” objects were built, from multi-storey garage spaces, town squares, fountains, bridges, to a ferris wheel, two ships on theVardar , and numerous monuments. The project cost 700 million Euros8, while the average salary in the country in 2014 (just above 350 Euro) was the lowest in the region9. In the winter of 2012, the governing party, VMRO-DPMNE, unveiled an arch of triumph. The question of what particular triumph this object is meant to symbolise still remains open. Miroslav Grčev – an architect and the designer of the modern Macedonian flag, as well as the creator of the main urban plan of Skopje from 1997 – said (while tracing the map with his finger): “there are two-metre wide sewage pipes underneath. The only thing that can triumphantly pass under the arch is excrement”. “Here, here, here. Here – it was all to be city greenery,” he said, “and instead there stand plaster models for which the authors should have their professional licences taken away”10. A word that started to regularly appear in the media discourse was “antiquization” – a term used by historians to describe the phenomenon of trying to make a city look like ancient Rome or Athens11. There were literally pseudo-ancient facades and columns plastered on the buildings in the centre (there were also plans, for example, rebuild the modernist GTC department store originally made in the 1970s, turning it into an arbour of the gods of Olympus, with something like the Spanish Steps leading up. The main square that was once dedicated to Marshall Tito, was renamed Macedonia Square and a 25-metre tall (including the column) monument in the form of a fountain was erected, called The Warrior on a Horse. At least, that’s its official name, but everyone knows it is actually a figure of Alexander of Macedonia – the Greeks know it in particular. There are monuments to heroes from different epochs around the neighbourhood: revolutionaries, communists, scholars, saints, a pop singer with a microphone, independence activists and artists. Several dozen monuments crammed in a small centre were supposed to prove the continuity of Macedonian history. In reality, the reconstruction of the capital city became an opportunity to defraud public money. Buildings were built where they should never have been, for example, in flood-risk zones or where they would be prone to damage in case of earthquake. The company Beton A.D., which made over 160 million Euros, later sponsored a multi-storey edifice for the ruling party12. Although it may seem that the whole project is a manifestation of post-modern ambiguity, there

Skopje 2014

is actually one other thesis – that of good old pride in the capital city of a superpower, a totalitarian manifestation of authority13. There are almost no monuments to female figures, and the Park of Women Guerrilla Soldiers has been left derelict, which goes to show that the project is conservative and anti-emancipatory. Although the main heroes of Skopje 2014, Alexander, Philip, and Olympias, establish the ideal (Macedonian) family, the monument of the macho-warrior on a horse is a blot on the landscape created by a homophobic government who, whether they like it or not, erected the world’s biggest monument of a bisexual man14. The new identity was imposed on Macedonian society by force, disregarding the Slavic component and completely ignoring the Ottoman heritage of several hundred years. The multicultural nature that characterised the country for several centuries has been abandoned, as has the tradition of anti-fascist resistance – the Yugoslavian motto of “brotherhood and unity”. Gone is the modernist architecture of Skopje, once the symbol of world solidarity. Without asking if it was ok, and with no public consultation, a new Skopje was built – a city that has unanimously been termed, from the New York Times to Der Spiegel, the “capital of kitsch”. ——— In January 2016, Nikola Gruevski, the (in)formal author of Skopje 2014 and prime minister of the nationalist government, stepped down. Following the publication of tapes proving electoral manipulation, nepotism, corruption, large-scale embezzlement and even an attempt to cover up a murder, court proceedings were launched against him. A few months later, the “colourful revolution” erupted with waves of anti-government strikes, during which the protesters threw coloured paint at public administration buildings and objects from the Skopje 2014 project – cynical symbols of the regime. In 2018, the opposition took control of power. The new minister of culture announced a general revision, which is to entail the reconstruction and reorganisation of the town squares, monuments, and facades put in place by the previous government. The monument of Alexander was removed from the airport, which was renamed the neutral: Skopje International Airport. What used to be the Highway of Alexander the Great is now Friendship Highway. Works on incomplete buildings have been put on halt. The future of the SK2014 objects remains unknown.

8 See “Skopje 2014 pod lupa” [online], [access: 25.09.2018]: <http://skopje2014.>. 9 See Sven Milekic, “Macedonia at Bottom of Regional Wage Table” [online], [access: 7.11.2018]: <http:// average-salaries-in-ex-yugoslavia-region>. 10 From the author’s conversation with Miroslave Grčev. 11 See Jasna Koteska, “Troubles with History: Skopje 2014”, ArtMargins Online, [access: 23.09.2018]: <http://artmargins. com/index.php/2-articles/655-troubles-with-history-skopje-2014>. 12 See Adela Gjorgjioska, Gorgi Pulevski, “Što čeka Skopje nakon Skopja 2014?” [online], [access: 25.09.2018],: <http://>. 13 See J. Koteska, op. cit. 14 See Anastas Vangeli, “Nation-building ancient Macedonian style: the origins and the effects of the so called antiquization in Macedonia,” Nationalities Papers 2011, 39(1), 13–32, p. 18.



THE MONUMENT. Central and Eastern Europe 1918–2018 Apart from the chronology of events, the exhibition also reconstructs the “lifecycles” of monuments. By comparing the different histories of the monuments, we see a certain recurrence of successive stages: The CONDITIONS necessary for the monument to be created, the ADAPTATION of the idea for the social political reality, the SHAPE the monument acquires in the artist’s studio and on site, the UNVEILING of the monument, its USE during official celebrations and subversive public events and, finally, the monument’s DECAY – both material and symbolic, which takes place parallel to the fading or fall of the political system that founded it. The narrative was built on the basis of the histories of the monuments listed below:

Monument of the Gratitude to America, Warsaw, Republic of Poland Author: Xawery Dunikowski Unveiling: 1922 Torn down in 1925 for lack of technical means and controversies about its form Design of the Monument of Adam Mickiewicz for Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania (Republic of Poland at the time) Author: Zbigniew Pronaszko Unveiling of the model: 1924 The model was destroyed by flood and lightning in 1939 Design of the Monument of the Reunification of Polish Lands, Gdynia, Republic of Poland Competition in the years 1928–1931, execution commissioned in 1937 Authors of the concept selected in the competition: Jan Łukasik, Stanisław Marzyński Author of the design from 1937: Wacław Tomaszewski Design never executed

World War I Memorial in Tâgu Jiu, Romania Author: Constantin Brâncuși Unveiling: 27 October 1938 Monument of Józef Piłsudski in Warsaw, Republic of Poland Two-stage competition: 1936–1939 Author of the winning concept: Ivan Meštrović The execution was made impossible by the outbreak of World War II Monument of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Jedwabne, Republic of Poland (then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Unveiling: 1939 Torn down during the pogrom on 10 July 1941 Monument of Feliks Dzerzinsky, Warsaw, Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Zbigniew Dunajewski Unveiling: 1951 Torn down for political reasons in 1989

THE MONUMENT. Central and Eastern Europe 1918–2018

Monument of the Liberation of the Lands of Warmia and Mazury, formerly Monument of the Gratitude to the Red Army, Olsztyn, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Xawery Dunikowski Unveiling: 1954 Monument to the Soviet Army, Sofia, Republic of Bulgaria (then People’s Republic of Bulgaria) Authors: Lûbomir Dalčev with the team: Peter Dojčinov, Vaska Emanuilova, Ivan Funev, Mara Georgieva as well as Vasil Zidarov and his team Unveiling: 1954 Monument to the Insurgence Deed, St Anne Mountain, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Xawery Dunikowski Unveiling: 1955 Monument of Joseph Stalin, Prague, Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakian Socialist Republic) Author: Otakar Švec Unveiling: 1 May1955 Torn down for political reasons in 1962 School-Monument of the Millennium of the Polish State, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Approximately 1200 schools and dormitories were built in the years 1959–1966 Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw, Warsaw, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Marian Konieczny Unveiling: July1964 Moved in the years 1995–1997 International Monument to the Victims of the Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Authors: Pietro Cascella, Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz, Julian Pałka, Giorgio Simoncini, Unveiling: 16 April 1967 Sculpture The Organs (in the years 1966–1993 known as Memorial to Those Fallen in the Fights for Consolidation of People’s Power in Podhale, in the years 1993–2009 as the Monument to the Victims of Domestic Struggle after World War II) Unveiling: 1966

Monument to the Polish Mother, until 1981 Monument of the 25th Anniversary of the Polish People’s Republic, Sejny, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Stanisław Wakuliński Unveiling: 22 July 1971 Taken apart for political reasons in 2018 Brest Hero Fortress Memorial Complex, Brest, Republic of Belarus (then the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Authors: team under the leadership of Alexander Kibalnikov Unveiling: 25 September 1971 Monument to the Fallen Shipyard Workers of 1970, Gdańsk, Republic of Poland (then Polish People’s Republic) Author: Bogdan Pietruszka, Design and Construction Bureau of the Gdańsk Shipyard Unveiling: 16 December 1980 Monument of the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija, Petrova Gora, Republic of Croatia (then Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) Authors: Vojin Bakić, Berislav Šerbetić Unveiling: 1981 The museum inside the monument was closed in 1995 Monument of the Warrior on a Horse, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia Author: Valentina Stefanovska Unveiling: 8 September 2011 Built as part of the Skopje 2014 project Monument to the Victims of the Smolensk Catastrophe, Warsaw, Republic of Poland Author: Jerzy Kalina Unveiling: 10 April 2018 Monument of Lech Kaczyński at Marshall Józef Piłsudski Square, Warsaw, Republic of Poland Author: Stanisław Szwechowicz Unveiling: 10 November 2018


Educational Program 16 December 2018 – 10 April 2019 further program available online at

Curator Guided Tours

Sundays / 12.00 PM 23 December | 30 December | 27 January | 24 February | 31 March

Guided Tours

Sundays / 12.00 PM 20 January | 17 February | 17 March | 24 March in English: 3 February | 3 March

Museum Thursdays

12.00 PM 3 January | Guided tour 17 January | Lecture by Joanna Torchała: Polish monuments of gratitude to America 31 January | Guided tour 14 February | Lecture by Ewa Kozik: Behind the scenes of the exhibition 28 February | Guided tour 14 March | Guided tour 28 March | Lecture by Agnieszka Tarasiuk, curator of the exhibition

A Verbal Monument: Monuments From The Literary Perspective

Thursdays / 18.00 PM 21 February | Sylwia Chutnik 7 March | Mariusz Szczygieł 4 April | Filip Springer

Family Workshops: About Monuments, But In A Different Way

Sundays / 12.00 PM 13 January | Laughing out loud – a few words about the history of the monuments 10 February | Everydayness – monuments to non-select events 10 March | Here and now – a few words about performance 7 April | (Im)permanence – a monument in time

Workshops For Adults

2 March / Saturday / 12.00 PM | Design workshop with Hubert Czerepok workshop registration:

International Scientific Conference

21–23 March / co-organized by Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw The topics of the conference will include reconstruction and in-depth analysis of monuments’ biographies, on many levels – material, social, cultural, historical, political and ecological, as well as discussions about their specificity both in the context of social macroprocesses and grassroots level cultural practices. By combining perspectives of art history, cultural studies, social studies, anthropology, socio-political history and law, we shall try and develop the most effective methods of understanding the phenomenon of monuments beyond the boundaries of particular disciplines.


15 September 2019

Financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as part of the multi-annual NIEPODLEGŁA Programme for the years 2017–2022



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