Prosecutors drop Red Army rape statue case
PR dla Zagranicy
Public prosecutors in Gdansk have dropped an investigation into the illegal installation of a statue portraying a Soviet soldier raping a pregnant woman.
Photo: Jerzy Szumczyk
Artist Jerzy Szumczyk, a fifth year student at Gdansk's Academy of Arts had installed the statue on the city's Avenue of Victory (Aleja Zwyciestwa) late on Saturday evening.
The statue was removed by police, and an investigation launched into whether there had been “a public incitement to hatred on the basis of nationality”, a crime which can warrant a two year-prison sentence.
“Prosecutors did not detect a crime in the conduct of the prospective perpetrator,” confirmed Jolanta Janikowska-Matusiak, head of the Gdansk-Wrzeszcz District Prosecutor's Office.
She noted that the matter will now be handed over to police, who may however fine the artist for carrying out an “indecent prank.” The maximim fine for such an offence is 1500 zloty (360 euros).
Russia's ambassador to Poland Alexander Alexeyev had condemned the action.
“I am deeply outraged by the prank of this student from the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts,” he said.
“With his pseudo-art, he has insulted the memory of over 600,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the struggle for the freedom and independence of the Poland.”
He descibed the action as “an attempt to sow discord between our nations.”
Szumczyk has said that he created Komm Frau (Come Here Woman) so as to show “the tragedy of these women.”
Historians have estimated that over 1 million German women were raped by Soviet soldiers from 1944-45.
Prior to the German invasion of Poland in 1939, Gdansk was a free city (Danzig). Over 95 percent of the inhabitants were German.
The rape of Polish women was also commonplace (1944-47) during the Soviet liberation of Poland, although to a significantly lesser degree, with highest estimates at 100,000. (nh)