Nowa Huta Cross and Riots

Krakow, Poland

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31-953 ul. Ludzmierska 2
Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Designed as an ideal socialist city, Nowa Huta was to be atheist by definition and as such its design didn't designate any urban plots for troublesome churches. As one can imagine, the policy didn't go over well with the locals who, backed by Bishop Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope JPII, began fighting for a permit to erect a Catholic place of worship, right from the get-go. The progress is finally came with the political thaw of October 1956: the papers and permissions have been granted, a site was chosen and, soon, a large wooden cross was erected and consecrated in the Theatre district. In June 1958, the ground was broken for the foundations, but the work was promptly halted as the leniency of the communist authorities had apparently expired, and the site has been designated for a school. With the intention of removing the consecration of the cross, the authorities aptly anticipated a conflict after many special events and the armed forces have been deployed in all through the south of the PL. Nowa Huta was officially closed and dense column of military trucks, armored vehicles, cannons and machine guns sealed off the centre of Krakow, with the only line of communication between the two cities being the taxi drivers who announced that the “revolution of Nowa Huta” had begun. Tensions erupted in a street war between the police and some 4,000 Defenders of the Cross", on 27 April 1960 and lasted for several days, with water cannons, tear gas and dogs unleashed on civilian protesters. The number of people injured or killed in the conflict is unknown, but officially distributed reports (suspicious by nature) listed military casualties to 200, and witnesses suggest that the number of civilians would have been three or four times more. Officially 493 people were arrested and 87 sentenced to prison for internships of 6 months to 5 years.
And the cross? He stood, though provided at the school was yet built on the original church site beside it as armed officers guarded the cross day and night. By the 1970s, the Nowa Huta Cross was in a very poor form, and looking ready to keel rot and decay, an idea which greatly pleased the authorities, which assumes that when he had done so to their problems. Not to do so. A gigantic oak cross was secretly prepared and when the opportunity to proceed with the installation, she was born in the late 70's, while the officers were absent from their posts for May 1st celebrations (Communist Labour day), it was erected on the site of the original. It will be later replaced by a metal cross and in 2007 by the bronze cross which stands today bearing the inscription “To John Paul II, the Defender of the Cross – the grateful people of Nowa Huta.” The city, meanwhile, will remain without a church until 1966, when Arka Pana was built a half kilometre away (though it would be prevented from being officially consecrated until 1977). In 2002, the small Church of the Sacred Heart was consecrated next to the Nowa Huta Cross and at the side of the school.


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