Warsaw, Poland – Poland’s ambassador to Washington Piotr Wilczek said he was “disgusted and appalled” by the “acts of vandalism” committed against the statues of Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski in the United States’ capital.
The statues of the two Polish national heroes, erected not too far from the White House, were defaced last night as demonstrations and riots sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody continued across the country.
“I am disgusted and appalled by the acts of vandalism committed against the statue of Thaddeus Kościuszko in DC, a hero who fought for the independence of both the US and Poland”, Piotr Wilczek said in a first post, before imporing the White House and the National Park Service to “quickly restore the statue to its original state”.
In a second Tweet, the Polish ambassador added that it was “regrettable that in the wake of these protests, many national monuments, as well as the statues of Polish heroes Pulaski and Kosciuszko, were senselessly defaced. The memory of those who fought for US independence and the abolition of slavery should be shown greater respect”.
Despite curfews and the deployment of thousands of National Guard soldiers, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across the United States again on Sunday, with peaceful demonstrations against police killings of African-Americans overshadowed by unrest that ravaged cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and flared near the White House in Washington where the statues of Kościuszko and Pulaski were defaced.
Now in their seventh day, the demonstrations were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African-American man, during his arrest in the city of Minneapolis on May 25.
Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski were two Polish military commanders who both fought in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth’s struggles against Russia and Prussia, and on the US side in the American Revolutionary War. A national hero of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the United States, Kościuszko has given his name to many places and monuments around the world, in addition to the one in Washington, and is one of the most honored persons in Polish history.
Known as “the father of the American cavalry”, Pulaski is also widely commemorated, especially in the United States, and is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship. Pulaski Day is a local annual holiday celebrated on the first Monday of March by Polish-Americans in Chicago and its surroundings.