- August 21, 2012
There will be no Julian Tuwim’s Street
The Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court quashed the local government of Vilnius’s decision on naming one of the streets in the area after Julian Tuwim. The decision is final and it’s not subject to appeal.
The decision was appealed against by the former representative of the local government of Vilnius, Jurgis Jurkevičius, who is one of the candidates of the Social Democratic Party for the autumn parliamentary elections. His successor, who is, on the other hand, a representative of the right-wing conservative party, did not withdraw the case from the court, even though only in January the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court had agreed with the government of Vilnius.
The subject of the dispute over Tuwim were his merits for Lithuania. The Ministry of Interior’s regulation on naming of streets, building and other objects provides that street patrons must be merited for the country. Therefore, Jurkevičius first demanded the cancellation of the decision taken in Aprillast year, which granted naming the so-far unnamed, 9-kilometer-long grovel road in Zujūnų after Julian Tuwim.
The inhabitants of Zujūnų opposed to it. They gathered 108 signatures in support of the Tuwim’s street, and on 22 July 2012 the local government took the unanimous decision to reject the Jurkevičius’ claim for merit of Tuwim for Lithuania. He did not give up and the case came to court.
However, the local government managed to convince the court that this Polish poet is merited for Lithuania, because famous Lithuanian poets, i.e. Martynas Vainilaitis, Eduardas Mieželaitis and Jonas Aistis, imitated his works. Therefore, the court dismissed Jurkevičius’ complaint, but his successor as governor of the Vilnius district, Audrius Skaistys, exercised his right to appeal and he appealed against the decision to the Supreme Court.
Tuwim’s merits for Lithuania weren’t a problem anymore, since the Court saw some procedural violations. The judgment of the court shows that the administration of the Vilnius district had failed to fulfill the formalities of reporting the project to the government together with an explanatory letter. Because of this failure, the Lithuanian Supreme Administrative Court quashed the government’s decision.
As we informed before, the idea of naming the street after Julian Tuwim came from the initiative of local villagers of Balandiskiu, Maskoliski, Pustalowki, Pilikany and Lejcie, across which runs the road. These villages are mainly inhabited by Poles. The case started simple, with no ethnic or political subtext.
‘First of all, we wanted to name the street that had no name’, told us a year ago Anna Polewicz, one of the initiators of naming the street after Polish poet. ‘I didn’t even suspect that this name will trigger such a reaction and this witch-hunt.’
As Mrs. Anna told us, a few years ago she received a piece of land in Zujūnų from her mother, so she came back to the countryside with her husband and decided to build a house there. When the house was built, Mrs. Anna asked the county to issue a number for it. Then it turned out that her house cannot have a number, because the street has no name. Then, Mrs. Anna filled an application to get a name for it.
‘First, I wanted this street to be named after Mickiewicz or Slowacki, but it turned out that there already are such streets in the municipality. Then, I thought about Tuwim, because just then I read his “Pan Hilary” to my son. It’s why I typed his name to the application. And now, when the name was approved and we got house numbers, all of a sudden somebody didn’t like it and they want to change it’, the initiator of street naming told ‘Kurier’ about the case.
Julian Tuwim was a poet, writer, author of vaudeville shows, sketches and operetta libretti and lyrics, one of the most popular poets of the interwar period. His father – Izydor – came from Calvary on the border of Lithuania and Poland, and his mother – Adela of Krukowski – was born in Lithuania in Marijampole.
Tłumaczenie Ewelina Zarembska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Zarembska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.