Pawel Adamowicz, the mayor of Gdansk, Poland, was stabbed at a charity concert last night and died today of his wounds. Adamowicz was 53-years-old, and was considered a leading critic of right-wing nationalists. He was also thought of as a friend of the Jewish community.
The New York Times says that Adamowicz, who has been the mayor of Gdansk since 1998, also supports the gay community and the rights of immigrants in a country that has a history of being anti-immigrant.
Lukasz Szumowski, the health minister, was alarmed by the stabbing.
“It was impossible to win against everything that had happened to him. God rest his soul.”
Police say that the suspect, arrested at the scene, was a 27-year-old “mentally disturbed” man who has previously been incarcerated, but seems to have no political motives in the attack.
Adamowicz was killed at the country’s largest charity event, which raises money for medical equipment.
The mayor of Gdansk was participating in a countdown to a light show when the suspect burst onto the stage and stabbed Adamaowicz repeatedly in the heart screaming about having been previously jailed.
“That’s why I killed Adamowicz.”
The conservative party condemned the assault on the mayor. President Andrzej Duda released a statement.
“We usually disagree with Mr. Mayor Pawel Adamowicz when it comes to political views on how to lead Poland, but today we are with him and his loved ones unconditionally, as are — I hope — all of our compatriots.”
Pawel Adamowicz is survived by his wife, Magdalena, who was in London at the time of the stabbing, and two daughters. The mayor of Gdansk participated in Gay Pride events and supported the Jewish community after vandals threw rocks through a synagogue window.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called Adamowicz “a longtime friend of the Jewish community” in a country with a tragic history regarding the Jewish people.
The mayor was known as a vocal opponent of the extreme-right, opposing marches organized by the National Radical Camp, or ONR, in Gdansk. Adamowicz organized an anti-fascist march himself in response.
AJC Europe agreed that the mayor was an ardent supporter of the community and tweeted a message in response to Adamowicz’s death.
“He was a true friend & ally in countering xenophobia. We must confront hatred in the public sphere.”
Adamowicz was also known for speaking out against the Polish law on Holocaust speech, which outlawed any “rhetoric in which Poland is blamed for Nazi crimes.”
Mayor Pawel Adamowicz called the law “idiotic and evil.”