Mayor of Gdańsk vs Ministry of Defense. Dispute over WWII commemorations

TVN24

tvn24The monument to the Defenders of the Coast at Westerplatte

Polish Armed Forces are an integral part of Westerplatte; each year the representatives of uniformed services partake in the commemorations of the anniversary of World War Two outbreak, and this year will be no different, said the Mayor of Gdańsk Paweł Adamowicz on Thursday.

"We have trust in the Polish uniform. The Polish Armed Forces are an integral part of Westerplatte and each year, at 4.45 on September 1, the representatives of uniformed services take part in the commemorations. This year will be no different. However, we do not trust the political and partisan command of the Ministry of Defence," the Mayor of Gdańsk emphasised.

He added that the previous year he "made some concessions" and agreed to change the formula of the commemorations. "I was tricked. I was lied to by the ministry of defense's officers who had promised me that the Remembrance Appeal will be read in turns by a scout and an officer. We all agreed to this. I accepted a compromise," said Mr Adamowicz.

As he underlined, in the end, the Appeal was read out in full by an officer. "On 1 September 2017, an officer dressed like a civilian, by the order of some female officer from the ministry, blocked out scout leader Lemański who was on his way to read out the Remembrance Appeal," he said.

The Mayor of Gdańsk referred in this way to the comment by the Minister of Defense Mariusz Błaszczak made earlier on Thursday. The minister said that, by the order of Mr Adamowicz, the army representatives are to be excluded from the Westerplatte commemorations.

At the same time he demanded from Gdańsk mayor to change this decision. The minister added that he cannot imagine the September 1 commemorations without the presence of Polish Armed Forces.

Defense minister added that the decision by the mayor of Gdańsk fits into a wider trend of his "bizarre" initiatives, such as giving the name of "Free City of Gdańsk" to one of the city's roundabouts.

Shortly after the mayor of Gdańsk issued his statement, the ministry of defense responded and accused Mr Adamowicz of lying. The ministry added that it upholds the demand to reverse the decision to exclude the army representatives from the September 1 commemorations.

Autor: gf / Źródło: TVN24 International, PAP