Culture minister, Gdańsk mayor, meet on museum controversy

Jarosław Sellin, deputy Culture Minister met Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, to discuss the planned Museum of Westerplatte and the Defensive war of 1939.

The meeting comes as the Lower House is working on a bill on the construction of the Westerplatte Museum. According to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, the bill will help with the construction of the museum. However, Gdańsk city hall says it’s an attempt by the central government to take over the historic site.

The Culture and National Heritage Ministry proposed that representatives of the municipal government enter into an honorary committee for the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte.

“I proposed today, that land of the city of Gdańsk can be included in the new facility. So that it can be used to commemorate Westerplatte properly. I know that the Minister is considering the offer. I propose that we create this institution together, we take responsibility for it together. We would take the joint responsibility for the shape of commemoration, for the shape of the exhibition, but we would also jointly run the institution. I hope the Minister considers the proposal,” said Aleksandra Dulkiewicz.

Aleksandra Dulkiewicz described Westerplatte as an “incredibly important place for the Polish identity, a piece of Poland, that was defended longer than any orders demanded, by Polish soldiers 80 years ago.”

Westerplatte is the place where WWII started. It was a small Polish outpost located within the Free City of Danzig. At 4.45 am on September 1, 1939, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began shelling the outpost. The Polish soldiers manning it managed to hold out for seven days despite being cut off from any Polish help.