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Polish Partisans Finds A Home In South Boston

Posted on September 7, 2006

The following story appeared in the Boston Globe by Adrienne P. Samuels, Globe Staff, and Andrew Ryan, Globe Correspondent

The Polish Partisans sculpture by Andrew Pitynski moved under police escort today to its new home outside the MBTA's World Trade Center Station-Silver Line stop on the South Boston waterfront. The monument had stood on Boston Common from 1983 until January 2006.

The five haggard horsemen depicted in Polish Partisans, a statue that stood on Boston Common for 22 years, found a permanent home this morning when a crane hoisted the sculpture into place on the South Boston waterfront.

As a clutch of politicians and reporters looked on, Polish war veterans laid a red-and-white flowered wreath at the foot of the monument, which memorializes Polish freedom fighters who battled the Nazis during World War II.

"We celebrate today the truth," said the sculptor, Andrew Pitynski of Brooklyn, N.Y. "The truth that was buried for more than 60 years. The history of the Polish Partisans is the tip of the iceberg in the tragedy of the Polish nation."

Pitynski and some in the local Polish community were outraged when the statue was abruptly removed from Boston Common in January and locked in a storage facility. The sculpture was loaned to the city in 1983 and plunked down near the corner of Charles and Beacon streets and never reclaimed.

City officials argued that Polish Partisans was never intended to be a long-term fixture on Boston Common and lacked a proper pedestal necessary for permanent display.

While local Polish groups marched in protest on City Hall, Daniel A. Grabauskas, the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, proposed a solution. Grabauskas, who attended today’s dedication, offered a permanent spot on MBTA property outside the Silver Line's World Trade Center Station, in a plaza near the waterfront.

Some in the Polish community have complained that the South Boston location doesn’t hold the same cachet as Boston Common. Others, including some of the 20 to 30 onlookers who attended today’s dedication ceremony, were happy that the horsemen had found a permanent home after all these years.

"I think this is a wonderful spot," said Honorary Consul Marek Lesniewski-Laas of the Polish Consulate in Boston. "The more I look at it, the more I think it is good."

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