UK: Graves of Polish Freedom Fighters Desecrated, Sculpture of Christ Thrown on Bonfire

Polish
GRZEGORZ JAKUBOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Polish graves and the Christian iconography surrounding them have been desecrated in the multicultural city of Manchester, England.

Polish graves in St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Churchyard, a cemetery in the Manchester suburb of Moston, have — not for the first time — been vandalised, with headstones pushed over, tombstones cracked, and ornamental crosses smashed.

A wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ, believed to have been carved from a tree overgrowing the graves, was even thrown on a bonfire.

The graves are the final resting place of many Second World War veterans and women’s auxiliaries who continued the fight against Nazi Germany from overseas after 1939 but found themselves unable to return home after the Soviet Union and a communists puppet regime took control of Poland at the end of the conflict, according to the Manchester Evening News.

“I’ve been working here for over seven years, bringing these graves back. When I saw that I basically cried. I admit it. Those soldiers fought for the freedoms we have here and they deserve our respect and dignity,” said Karol Peruta, who tends to the largely abandoned Polish graves.

“The people buried here are total strangers to me but I respect them because they have done so much for us,” he added.

“I’m convinced this is about the Poles. Every grave there has a red and white ribbon. Only the Polish ones are getting damaged. It’s heart-breaking,” Peruta told the MEN.

This marks a change in attitude from an earlier blog post by Peruta, where he said he did not think the desecrations, which have been going on for a long time with little police interest, were specifically anti-Polish —  “it looks more like a stupid and bored youth looking for a hidden place to consume alcohol and drugs,” he suggested — although he did express concern that Christian symbols appeared to be targeted with particular ferocity.

“[I]t is puzzling that religious symbols such as crosses and pictures are always destroyed,” Peruta noted.

“For seven years, someone has been regularly and notoriously destroying the image of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, which is hung on a tree by the graves of our heroes,” he observed.

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