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Cracow. The case of the Museum of Independence Deed. Voivode on the state of secured collections

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Over 90 exhibits, including eight “unique” ones, were secured by officials in the illegal Museum of Independence Deed. As informed on Friday by the voivode of Lesser Poland, Łukasz Kmita, among the most valuable recovered artifacts is the flag from the coffin of Marshal Józef Piłsudski. On Thursday, the door of the facility was opened by a locksmith, assisted by policemen, because the Union of Polish Legionnaires did not want to give the museum items. Now it turns out that the memorabilia become in very bad condition.

As part of the execution, more than 90 exhibits and elements of historical equipment were secured – informed on Friday the voivode of Lesser Poland, Łukasz Kmita, summarizing the administrative execution at the Museum of the Independence Deed in Krakow’s Oleanders.

Read also: “Recapturing” an illegal museum assisted by the police. “Legionaries” did not want to give away souvenirs

He added that eight “very valuable, even unique exhibits” were found inside, as well as soldiers’ clothes and uniforms. He admitted that they were in very bad condition, very damp. Among the most valuable artifacts is the flag from the coffin of Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

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Krakow, Oleandry. “Taking back” the Museum of Independence Deed from the hands of “legionnaires”Krakow City Hall

On Thursday, the voivode’s officials and employees of the National Museum in Krakow entered the facility to secure the collections, which had been managed by the Union of Polish Legionnaires. The commander of this group did not want to let the officials inside, so the door was opened by a locksmith, and the whole operation was supervised by policemen.

Krakow, Oleandry. “Taking back” the Museum of Independence Deed from the hands of “legionnaires”Krakow City Hall

The takeover of the collection is the result of the decision of the Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński of 2020, which banned the further operation of the Museum of the Independence Deed. For nearly three consecutive years, however, the memorabilia was still under the supervision of the museum. The delay in the entry into force of the minister’s decision was justified by the pandemic coronavirus.

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Krakow, Oleandry. “Taking back” the Museum of Independence Deed from the hands of “legionnaires”Krakow City Hall

Voivode: we are ready to hand over the keys to the city

A separate battle with the Union of Polish Legionnaires is waged by the City of Krakow, which owns the building – Dom im. Józef Piłsudski. “Legionaries” wanted to take it over by usucaption, but there is no final court judgment that would order them to hand over the property to the city.

– As the voivodeship office, we are ready to hand over the keys to these rooms to the city after the execution is completed, so that the city can manage this property. We want to ensure that all the most valuable collections are secured and exhibited in the future – declared Łukasz Kmita, the voivode of Lesser Poland, during a press briefing summarizing the administrative execution on Friday.

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Krakow, Oleandry. “Taking back” the Museum of Independence Deed from the hands of “legionnaires”Krakow City Hall

The sappers will enter the museum

Now the collections are to be taken care of by employees of the National Museum in Krakow. The items were handed over to the conservators of this institution as a deposit. – All kinds of exhibits have been safely transported to our archive at ul. Orzeszkowa and secured – said Kmita. – Rooms have been prepared there to store these exhibits in a safe manner under the care of the National Museum. The National Museum does not take over the collections in the legal sense, but it will take care of it in such a way that this heritage is not destroyed, the voivode noted.

The activities of the voivode’s services will last at the House of Józef Piłsudski on Monday due to the discovered materials that require sapper security.

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As we managed to find out, the documents of the ministry indicate that at this stage it may be difficult to determine the legal status of individual museum exhibits. This means that it is not known who actually owns the collections.

Earlier, in mid-March, the voivode of Lesser Poland, representing the minister of culture in this matter, issued a decision in which he called on the legionnaires’ union to voluntarily hand over museum exhibits and cease activity. – The union had time for this on Tuesday, April 11, until 9 o’clock. However, the activists did not respond to the call, so on Thursday we went to the place to pick up the harvest – informed us the spokeswoman for the Małopolska voivode, Joanna Paździo.

Along with the decision to ban the activity of the Museum of the Independence Deed in Krakow, the ministry explained that its purpose was to secure the collections related to the struggle of Poles for independence by the National Museum in Krakow. It justified that the inspection carried out in 2018 revealed a number of serious shortcomings in the functioning of the Museum, including the security of the collections and visitors. “The museum received post-inspection recommendations, which – mainly due to the lack of financial resources and organizational possibilities – did not implement” – informed the ministry.

Ministry officials emphasized that the director of the National Museum in Krakow undertook to take proper care of the collections of the Museum of the Independence Act and to run the museum as a branch of the National Museum.

Main photo source: Krakow City Hall



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