The inhabitants of Gdańsk want to change the name of the street whose patron is Lech Kaczyński. The Institute of National Remembrance comments

The inhabitants of Gdańsk want to change the name of the street whose patron is Lech Kaczyński.  The Institute of National Remembrance comments

Residents want to change the name of the street under the patronage of President Lech Kaczyński. Until 2017 it was ul. Dąbrowszczaków.

More than six years ago, the Pomeranian Voivode, Dariusz Drelich, proposed changing the names of several streets in the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship in connection with the decommunization act of 2016. Then it was renamed, among others: street Dąbrowszczaków on Lech Kaczyńskiego, as well as ul. Kruczkowski to Matuszewski.

Many residents did not like the decision in 2017 – they expressed their opposition especially against the street named after the former president, who died in the Smolensk disaster years ago.

A petition regarding a referendum was submitted to the city council

After six years, this issue returns – all thanks to a petition that was submitted to the Gdańsk City Council at the end of January – as reported by the Trójmiasto portal. Its author is one of the residents – he proposed that the city organize a referendum on restoring the old names of the streets.

He argued that no vote had been organized before the controversial name change. Moreover, he recalled that “there were doubts whether these names were actually related to communism” – the Tricity portal quotes the text of the letter. The man also points out that streets – such as Dąbrowszczaków – “have become embedded in the minds of residents.” According to the author, the referendum will help to learn the opinion of the people of Gdańsk on this matter, and its implementation is supported by the new government and the voivode (currently Beata Rutkiewicz, appointed to this office by Donald Tusk at the end of December).

The city authorities prefer public consultations due to the costs

This petition is to be considered soon – at a city council meeting. Councilors of the Civic Coalition also asked whether it was possible to organize a referendum on this matter at all. In the Public Information Bulletin, Danuta Janczarek, secretary of Gdańsk, confirmed that it concerns residents, so it falls within the scope of tasks that can be resolved using a local referendum.

However, Tricity indicates that the authorities would prefer to resolve the matter by conducting public consultations, instead of a costly referendum. However, for this to happen, both the voivode and the Gdańsk Institute of National Remembrance must give their consent. In this matter, the portal contacted the press assistant of the Pomeranian branch, Artur Chomicz. He stated that the president “certainly deserves to patronize a street in Gdańsk.” – The connections with Gdańsk are very important in his biography and justify keeping the street’s name – he says.

Gdańsk Institute of National Remembrance: We believe that the street should retain its current patronage

Chomicz also said that Kaczyński “held many honorable public functions, with the office of president at the forefront.” – Therefore, we are deeply convinced that ul. Lech Kaczyński should retain its current patronage, he noted. He also drew attention to the law on the prohibition of propagating communism or other totalitarian regimes. If the previous name of the street was returned, it would be against the regulations.

Tricity also talked to the spokeswoman of the Pomeranian Voivode. As Natalia Glińska-Jackowska says, Rutkiewicz believes that residents of small communities know best what they need, so if they decide in one way or another that the name of the street should be changed, a decision will be made. However, the consent of the local branch of the Institute of National Remembrance (specifically, the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation) is still required.

Unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Lech Kaczyński in Gdańsk

It is worth recalling that on February 12, a commemorative plaque dedicated to President Kaczyński was unveiled at the headquarters of the Institute of National Remembrance in Gdańsk. The ceremony was attended by, among others, his brother, president of Law and Justice Jarosław Kaczyński.

– This plaque, which reflects and maintains his memory, is so important, especially in this city where he spent many years of his life and where he was active. And in the city that became the capital of “Solidarity” – the Solidarity revolution. The place from which the largest social movement in the history of the world was organized – he told the audience.

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