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Final verdict on the exhibition of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

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The Court of Appeal in Warsaw dismissed appeals regarding the permanent exhibition at the Museum of the Second World War. Five years ago, former museum directors filed a lawsuit against the institution they worked for for protection of copyright and personal rights.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw issued a verdict in a case for the protection of copyright and personal rights brought by the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, its former employees Paweł Machcewicz, Piotr Majewski, Janusz Marszalec and Rafał Wnuk.

“The verdict is right”

On Monday, the chairwoman of the SA judging panel in Warsaw, judge Jolanta de Heij-Kaplińska, dismissed the appeal of the defendant and the plaintiff. – The allegations of the appeal of the plaintiffs and the defendant did not lead to a change of the decision. The verdict corresponds to the law, she justified.

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She stated that the verdict of the District Court in Gdańsk, which was issued in October 2020, “is right”. When announcing the verdict, the judge indicated that the decision on the costs of the appeal proceedings had been partially changed, granting the parties “the same distribution and parity”.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw is final.

Reasons requests

In October 2020, the District Court in Gdańsk dismissed 26 out of 28 requests by former museum directors, including 16 out of 17 requests regarding changes and additions to the main exhibition.

The authors demanded the removal from the exhibition of, among others, a portrait of Father Maksymilian Kolbe, a portrait of Witold Pilecki, a photo of the Warsaw insurgents taking the military oath or the removal of a photo of the Ulma family. They also demanded the restoration of the original scenographic form of the exhibition in the part devoted to the Polish Underground State or the transfer of exhibits related to Capt. Antoni Kasztelan in the original place of their presentation.

The dispute over the exhibition at the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The fight for the museum

The District Court, on the other hand, ordered the museum to stop showing the film “Unconquered” by the Institute of National Remembrance on two screens divided by a wall and barbed wire in section 18 of the “From War to Freedom” exhibition.

In addition, the court ordered the defendant to pay the Autistic Support Association in Gdańsk the amount of PLN 10,000. PLN in connection with the infringement of copyright and personal rights of the plaintiffs, discontinued the proceedings in respect of the withdrawn claim and dismissed the claim in the remaining part.

In April 2017, as a result of decisions made by the Ministry of Culture, the current leadership of the Museum of the Second World War was replaced by a new team with Karol Nawrocki as director. The Gdańsk local government, which was the initiator of the construction of the museum, has repeatedly criticized the decisions regarding the change in the management of the institution, which also resulted in changes to the main exhibition made by the new management of the Museum of the Second World War.

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