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Mikołaj Kopernik Monument (Pomnik Mikołaja Kopernika)

The monument to the world famous Polish astronomer.

ulica Krakowskie Przedmieście, near Staszic Palace (map)
Pomnik Mikołaja Kopernika
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This monument to the world famous Polish astronomer, commissioned by Stanisław Staszic, was erected in 1830. Proving that the Earth orbits the Sun, Mikołaj Kopernik expounded one of the most important scientific theories in the history of mankind. On one side of the plinth is the Latin inscription ‘Nicolo Copernico Grata Patria’ ('A grateful nation honours Mikołaj Kopernik'), whereas the other side bears the Polish inscription ‘Mikołaj Kopernik from his countrymen'.
During the occupation, the monument was the site of one of the many famous acts of minor sabotage: the Germans covered the Polish inscription with their own German text, which was removed under the threat of immediate death by Grey Ranks soldier Alek Dawidowski (Dawidowski removed the German plaque right under the eyes of the German police, which was headquartered at Krakowskie Przedmieście 1). In 1944 the statue was slated for destruction and was removed from Warsaw. Miraculously it survived, was repaired, and returned to its rightful place. The statue was the work of Bertel Thorvaldsen. Exact copies made from the same mould stand in Montreal and in Chicago.

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