President signs controversial bill regarding Westerplatte museum construction
The special bill on Westerplatte has been signed by the President, despite protests by many circles and parliamentary opposition. According the new law, the state would take over the ownership of parts of land and hand it to the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, for it to build an outdoor exhibition.
The Chancellery of the President informed on August 1 that Andrzej Duda has signed the special law regarding the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and War of 1939. The law assumes expropriation of land owners, including the city of Gdańsk, from the area where the defense of Westerplatte took place in September 1939.
According to the creators and supporters of the bill, it is meant to facilitate the construction of the outdoor Museum of Westerplatte and War of 1939.
The bill authored by Law and Justice MPs was the object of criticism of the opposition and Gdańsk city authorities.
The special bill determines, among other things, the investments connected to the museum's construction, including construction works, supplies and other services, as well as the exact location at the Westerplatte Peninsula.
The land at the Westerplatte Peninsula is belongs to several owners, including the Border Guard, as well as private and state-owned companies. The biggest part, however, is owned by the city of Gdańsk - around 9 hectares. At the area owned by the city there are numerous many ruins of former military facilities, as well as the hill at which the Westerplatte Monument is located.
"Hostage" of political dispute
The city of Gdańsk had its own plans for the peninsula. On its behalf, the Museum of Gdańsk created plans for a branch. Gdańsk city authorities, as well as curators, historians and scientists have been critical of Law and Justice's special law from its inception.
The Mayor of Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz informed on July 20 that she had sent a letter to President Duda in which she asks him to veto the bill or refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal.
On the next day, over 130 academics and journalists turned to the President with the same request. "In our opinion, the adoption of the bill violated the standards of the Polish and European laws. Its faultiness manifests itself also in false statements suggesting that Westerplatte was in a unkempt state," the letter reads.
According to scientists and journalists who undersigned the letter "Westerplatte became a "hostage" of dispute created by the government, pertaining not so much to history or identity, but to the amount of power and possibility to complete particular interests".
On July 22, in front of the barracks ruins at the peninsula, the employees of the Museum of Gdańsk hanged banners with slogans criticising the special bill, saying for instance: "Westerplatte is not for sale!".
Specustawa dotycząca Westerplatte została podpisana przez prezydenta, mimo protestów wielu środowisk i opozycji. Według jej zapisów państwo przejmie część gruntów na półwyspie i przekaże je Muzeum II Wojny Światowej w Gdańsku pod budowę plenerowej wystawy. Kancelaria Prezydenta podała, że Andrzej Duda w czwartek, 1 sierpnia podpisał ustawę w sprawie budowy Muzeum Westerplatte i Wojny 1939 – Oddziału Muzeum II Wojny Światowej w Gdańsku. Ta specustawa zakłada wywłaszczenie właścicieli gruntów - w tym miasta Gdańsk - z terenów, na których we wrześniu 1939 roku trwała obrona Westerplatte. (http://www.tvn24.pl)
Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: tvn24