Remembering Pawel Adamowicz's support for New Eastern Europe
The murder of Pawel Adamowicz, major of Gdansk since 1998, during a charity event on 14 January 2019 left many in shock, both in Poland and abroad. The team of New Eastern Europe, the English-language version of the Polish magazine Nowa Europa Wschodnia, remembers: ‘It is thanks to Adamowicz that New Eastern Europe was established in 2011, when he suggested that the city of Gdańsk and the European Solidarity Centre be the funders and co-publishers of the project.’ Adamowicz continued to support the publication over the years, Adam Reichardt acknowledges in a comment for the Kyiv Post.
Among Adamowicz’s achievements as major of Gdansk is the European Solidarity Centre, an internationally renowned educational venue and museum of the Polish trade union and democratic opposition movement Solidarnosc, which Adamowicz himself played an important role in. Adamowicz’s office and the ECS both hosted and supported Eurozine’s annual meeting of cultural journals in 2016.
Independent media in Poland have commented extensively on the attack and its political implications, including the online cultural journals Kultura Liberalna and Krytyka Polityczna. The question as to how far this gruesome act should be conceived as a political one is under discussion. According to Kornelia Konczal’s article for the Merkur blog, the Polish government’s public defamation of Adamowicz was a key factor; other authors, including Lukasz Pawlowski from Kultura Liberalna, call for restraint and warn against further aggravating the already polarised, heated public debate. The Polish journals Liberté! and Wiez, meanwhile, published an appeal signed by Polish journalists calling for a ‘Lex Adamowicz’ to penalise hate speech.
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