• August 21, 2017
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Memorial plaque of Mickiewicz brothers in Vilnius

A memorial plaque of Stanisław Cat-Mickiewicz and Józef Mickieiwcz will be placed in Vilnius. After a year of bureaucratic procedures, on the 8th of August 2017, director of self-government administration of Vilnius has given his permission.

The plaque (in polish and lithuanian) will be placed on one of the houses on Witebska street, in Rossa, where in 1907-1922 lived notabilities – writers and publicists.

First trial to memorialize Józef and Stanisław (Cat) Mickiewicz in Vilnius has been made a dozen of years ago by people connected to ‘Kurier Wileński’, which did not work out. We decided to take other road. Initiative was supposed to be not polish, but polish-lithuanian. Especially when popularity of Mickiewicz in lithuanian elites has been growing for some years now, and Stanisław Cat-Mickiewicz is no more a no name person in Lithuania, like it used to be some years ago’ – said Aleksander Radczenko, from the group memorializing Mickiewicz brothers in Vilnius.

In April 2016 a group has been formed: Dr Giedrė Jankevičiūtė from Vilnius Academy of Arts, Dr Eligijus Raila from Vilnius University, polish community worker Zbigniew Głazko, Dr Andrzej Pukszto from Vytautas Magnus University, political scientist Mariusz Antonowicz and blogger Aleksander Radczenko. Appeal has been signed by 40 famous lithuanian scientists, historians, culture activists. Among others, Alfredas Bumblauskas, Gražina Dremaitė, Vytautas Ališauskas, Antanas Gailius, Nerija Putinaitė. Faculty of History on Vilnius University has supported such initiative, because of big contribution of Józef Mickiewicz and Stanisław Cat-Mickiewicz in understanding between Poland and Lithuania and polish-lithuanian dialogue. Yet applying for permission took over a year.

‘The problem was a letter ‘w’ again. We have settled that names and surnames of Mickiewicz brothers on the memorial stone should be written in their original form. Lithuanian law allows it, and respect towards these exceptional Vilnius citizens – demands it. During the first meeting of board, members expressed their dislike towards such transcription and suggested placing lithuanian transcription near polish one. We have rejected such suggestion’ – says Aleksander Radczenko.

Finally – when Remigijus Simasius, Gintautas Paluckas and Mykolas Majauskas have been involved – third time, Vilnius’s Commission of Names, Monuments and Memorial Plaques agreed on original spelling of names and surname of Mickiewicz brothers. But we still needed a permission from Committee on Culture, Education and Sport.

The committee has gathered on the 21st of June and the project of memorial plaque of Mickiewicz brothers has arisen a controversy. Zbigniew Maciejewski from Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania proposed placing lithunian transcription next to original transcription (polish), because Adam Mickiewicz is written down in two versions on memorial plaques in Vilnius’. Finally Dr Eligijus Raila convinced members of the Committee to accept such spelling.

Currently the funds are being collected in order to hang up the plaque. Part of the funds has already been given by PKN Orlen.

Translated by Agnieszka Piontek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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