An art student sparked outrage in Poland when he illegally placed a life-size sculpture of a Soviet soldier raping a pregnant woman at gunpoint in a local square.
Jerzy Bohdan Szumczyk, 26, says his sculpture recalls the crimes against women that were common during World War II that are often forgotten.
“I wanted to show the tragedy of women and the horrors of war,” Szumczyk told AFP Wednesday.
He installed the sculpture overnight Sunday in the northern port city of Gdansk, right beside a communist-era memorial that celebrates the Red Army for pushing Nazi Germany out of the city back in 1945.
Historians say an untold number of women were raped by Soviet soldiers during the liberation, but the subject is considered taboo because Russia has debated whether the crimes ever occurred.
Szumczyk told AFP the artwork was “an expression of pacifism and a signal for peace.”
Police were alerted to the illegal monument by a local women who found it offensive.
Szumczyk’s case is currently being reviewed by prosecutors who will decide by Thursday whether he is to be charged for inciting racial or national hatred.
The Russian ambassador to Warsaw, Alexander Alekseyev, denounced the monument on the embassy website calling it “vulgar” and “openly sacrilegious.”
“I am deeply outraged by a prank of a Gdansk Academy of Arts student whose pseudo-art desecrated the memory of 600,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the fight for Poland’s freedom and independence,” Alekseyev wrote on Tuesday.
Prior to the occupation of Germany, Gdansk was a free city. After it was liberated, it was ruled by Moscow for another 50 years, during which time scores of Poles were killed, AFP reported.