Tens of thousands attend Gdańsk mayor's funeral

Around 45,000 people attended the funeral in Gdańsk (northern Poland) of the city's murdered mayor, Paweł Adamowicz, according to police estimates. Meanwhile in Warsaw, crowds watched the ceremony on public screens.

Adamowicz died on Monday from injuries suffered in a Sunday knife attack in Gdańsk.

The funeral mass, which started at noon, was said by Poznań (western Poland) Metropolitan Bishop and Polish Episcopal Conference President Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki. A homily was given by Gdańsk Metropolitan Bishop, Archbishop Sławoj Leszek Głódź, in which he appealed for spiritual unity in the face of Adamowicz's death.

"We are here today (...) to say a farewell prayer to our brother in faith, the late Paweł Adamowicz, the mayor of the City of Gdansk. To extend to him our last rites of brotherhood, respect and recognition. To express our solidarity with the mayor's next of kin, who have been struck by tragedy. To testify to the unity of our hearts in the face of the tragedy that has befallen the late Paweł Adamowicz," Głódź said.

Recounting Adamowicz's mayorship of Gdańsk, Głódź observed that he was a true patriot of the city who "gave his heart to his service" and "followed the path of his earthly, dynamic, creative and future-oriented life."

Paweł Adamowicz was mourned by his closest family members, including his children, Antonina and Teresa. In her address at the ceremony, Adamowicz's wife, Magdalena, said she hoped the good brought by her late husband would spread and lead to the disappearance of divisions and hatred.

"Paweł, you encouraged doing good here (...) in Gdańsk. I believe this good will spread further, to other cities, to the whole world, that divisions will start to disappear and this wave of hatred will be over," Magdalena Adamowicz said.

Poland's Catholic primate, Wojciech Polak, in a letter to the funeral participants at Gdańsk's St. Mary's Basilica, wrote that that he thanked God for the good Adamowicz had spread to other people, and expressed sympathy with the deceased mayor's next of kin.

"I stand in prayer before the coffin of the tragically deceased Gdańsk Mayor Paweł Adamowicz to thank God for all the good that has become the share of many through his hands and heart," Polak wrote.

In the letter, Polak recounted that he had received the news of Adamowicz's death with sorrow, and voiced regrets that he could not attend his funeral ceremony personally owing to his current attendance at the World Youth Day event in Panama.

"Therefore, I wish to take this path to extend my special sympathy and spiritual solidarity (...) to the late mayor's spouse, children and loved ones," Archbishop Polak wrote.

Attending the funeral were President Andrzej Duda, European Council head and former Polish PM Donald Tusk with his wife, former Polish presidents Lech Wałęsa, Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Bronisław Komorowski, current PM Mateusz Morawiecki with his wife and former government leaders Hanna Suchocka, Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Waldemar Pawlak, Jerzy Buzek, Marek Belka, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Ewa Kopacz. Also present were Culture Minister Piotr Gliński and Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski.

Representing the Polish parliament were the deputy speakers of its two houses, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska (Sejm - lower house) and Bogdan Borusewicz (Senate - upper house).

Also present were Jerzy Owsiak, the founder of the Grand Orchestra of Christmas Charity organisation during whose finale Adamowicz was attacked, national Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, Gdańsk Immigrant Council head Aws Kinani, former German President Joachim Gauck and the mayors of Rotterdam, Bremen, Leipzig and Hamburg.

Acting Gdańsk Mayor and Adamowicz's former deputy, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, said Gdańsk should strive to be the kind of open community Adamowicz had envisaged.

"Let us do everything to be the kind of community our mayor Paweł Adamowicz dreamed of: let us be open, let us be hospitable, let us be loyal to each other, let us show respect to those who think differently, let us convince one another by the force of argumentation and not the argument of force. Let us show good to each other on a daily basis and not only on special occasions, let us lead better lives with others and for ourselves," Dulkiewicz appealed.

In Warsaw crowds gathered in the city's Zamkowy Square to watch a video broadcast of the funeral ceremony. Present among others was Warsaw Deputy Mayor Renata Kaznowska.

The funeral ceremony ended shortly after 3:00 pm. The urn containing Adamowicz's ashes was interred in the St. Martin's Chapel of St. Mary's Basilica.

On Sunday, November 13, Gdańsk, northern Poland, Mayor Paweł Adamowicz was stabbed three times by a recently released convicted criminal who rushed onto the stage during the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity finale in the city. The mayor suffered severe cardiac and abdominal injuries. Doctors gave Adamowicz emergency treatment on the spot and subsequently transported him to the Medical University of Gdańsk hospital, where he underwent five hours of surgery. Adamowicz died from his injuries on Monday afternoon without regaining consciousness.