Poland – Sejm passes special legislation regarding Westerplatte museum construction

TVN24 – On Thursday, the Sejm passed the special law on the construction of the Westerplatte Museum and War of 1939 in Gdańsk. The draft bill drawn up by Law and Justice (PiS) MPs was criticised by the opposition and Gdańsk authorities. 262 MPs voted in favour of passing the bill, 164 were against and 1 abstained. Earlier on, the house voted against the motion to reject the bill in full and 4 amendments changing the name of the legislation.

“A moment ago in the Sejm we witnessed how PiS cares about national remembrance. Nevertheless, I still believe there’s another way and I won’t give up. On Tuesday – a session of the culture committe in Polish Senate,” mayor Dulkiewicz wrote on Twitter on Thursday. Asked on Friday in Polish public radio if the city of Gdańsk will have anything to say regarding the planned museum and developing the land on Westerplatte, Dworczyk nodded.

“Minister Sellin (deputy minister of culture Jarosław Sellin), who’s in charge of this project, spoke on this issue on many occasions,” he added. “Let’s be clear here: the mayor will not dictate details of how the museum should look, but she will be treated as a partner and her voice will certainly be heard,” he said.

“Yesterday when we were discussing the issue in the parliament, I was under the impression that some opposition MPs had lost touch with reality,”Dworczyk said. According to him, the special law was being portrayed as “some sort of oppression on Gdańsk, an attempt to harm our collective memory and residents of Gdańsk”. According to the chief of PM’s office, the crux of the dispute over Westerplatte is that, since last few decades, the peninsula “looked, and I think it’s fair to say, disgracefully”.

“If a venue symbollic to all Poles, where the Second World War started, was simply in ruins and it lasted in that state for decades, and now the government wants to build a museum there, to invest over one hundred million zlotys and to include Gdańsk authorities in the honourable committee and decision-making process – then I think it can only be regarded in a postive way,” he said. In his opinion, “people who are trying to “cause turmoil” over the special law (on Westerplatte) are driven by politicial interest”.

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