Part of the Westerplatte area, with the Monument to the Defenders of the Coast, is being returned to the city of Gdańsk, the city mayor’s spokesman said. Such a decision was made by the Supreme Administrative Court. In 2019, the plot was taken over by the state under a special act. After the decision came into force, the construction of an open-air exhibition began there. Since then, the city was also unable to organize celebrations related to the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. The Pomeranian Voivode and the director of the Museum of the Second World War claim that the verdict does not change anything and does not affect the “right to conduct investment activities”. The president of Gdańsk referred to the matter.
Daniel Stenzel, spokesman for the president of Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, announced on Friday that by the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court, part of the Westerplatte area, received by the state in 2019 under a special act, returns to the city again. The decision is final.
– From the very beginning, the city questioned the decision of the Pomeranian Voivode and the Minister of Development, according to which the plot with the monument was taken over by the State Treasury. Municipal lawyers pointed to evident errors and failure to meet all obligations imposed on the investor by the so-called special act. The decisions issued successively by the Pomeranian Voivode and then by the Minister of Development were burdened with similar legal flaws, the spokesman said.
The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court was commented on by Maciej Buczkowski, deputy director of the Office of the Mayor of Gdańsk.
– This judgment means that officials of government institutions did not comply with the provisions of their own law, which was adopted at lightning speed and on the basis of which the plot with the monument was seized. On this basis, the Ministry of Defense and Minister Mariusz Błaszczak organized the celebrations in 2020 and 2021. It turns out that this was an action which, in the face of today’s decision of the Supreme Administrative Court, had a very dubious legal basis – says Buczkowski.
Daniel Stenzel added that there is a parallel pending case for a plot of land on which the Museum of the Second World War is to build a new cemetery for the Fallen Defenders of Westerplatte within the next year.
– In this case, the Provincial Administrative Court has already issued a judgment removing the decision of the ministry from legal circulation and it is highly probable that the Supreme Administrative Court will uphold this decision – he stated. – Let us remind you that the government finalized the acquisition of Westerplatte in the summer of 2019. The action was of a violent nature, the proposals for compromise solutions were rejected. Over the last two years, the citizens of Gdańsk and Gdańsk were deprived of the right to organize on September 1 a ceremony in honor of the heroic defenders of Westerplatte, military and civilian victims of the war – he added.
MIIWŚ: the judgment does not affect the museum’s authorization to conduct activities
The ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court was commented by dr hab. Grzegorz Berendt, acting director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk. He stated that the museum still remains “the rightful owner of the property and continues investment activities on it related to the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939”. As he added, the court found that the application submitted by the museum was “entirely correct”.
In connection with the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw on September 16, 2021 regarding the decision to allow the implementation of part of the investment for the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk informs that, as an investor, it is still entitled to conduct investment activities on the plot No. 68 precinct 0062 Gdańsk on the historic battlefield at Westerplatte. The decision of the Pomeranian Voivode allowing the Museum to carry out the investment in question was not considered by the Supreme Administrative Court and is still in force. The museum thus remains the rightful owner of the property and continues investment activities there. Out of 8 allegations originally formulated in the complaint of the Gdańsk City Commune to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw, 7 were rejected – only in one case the court ordered supplementing the decisions with information on some of the technical conditions. The court found that the application submitted by the Museum was correct in its entirety. None of the allegations of the Gdańsk City Commune against the application have been confirmed by the court. The verdict does not in any way affect the rights of the Museum to conduct investment activities related to the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939. The decision issued by the court does not affect the Museum’s plans regarding the future of the property.
Pomeranian voivode: the judgment does not affect the “authorization to conduct activities”
A similar position was presented in the press release sent to the media on Saturday by the Pomeranian Voivode Dariusz Drelich.
“(…) I declare that the final judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court does not affect the entitlement of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939 to conduct investment activities related to the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939. The decision of the Pomeranian Voivode to permit the implementation of part of the investment for the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939 remains because in legal transactions and although it is not final, it is enforceable, as it has been made immediately enforceable “- we read in the release.
He added that the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw “assessed the validity of the immediate enforceability of the decision, considering the Voivode’s decision in this respect to be the correct one”.
“It should be emphasized that the final judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court dismissing the cassation appeal from the above-mentioned judgment of the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw only ends the case at the stage of administrative court proceedings. , the case is currently at the stage of appeal proceedings conducted by the Minister of Development and Technology “- he added.
The voivode also emphasized what the director of the MIIWŚ wrote about that the court did not share most of the allegations formulated in the complaint of the Gdańsk City Commune.
“(…) taking into account the allegations concerning the disputed issues, he pointed out that ‘(…) it will be for the appeal body to make an additional correction of the decision of the body of first instance in the above-mentioned [w uzasadnieniu wyroku] range ‘”- he concluded.
City’s attorney: this is another example of disregarding the court’s decision
The position of the director of the MIIWŚ was referred to by Cezary Chabel, attorney of the city of Gdańsk, who participated in the last session of the court. He stressed that the representative of the ministry, whose decision was questioned by the city of Gdańsk, was not present at the announcement of the verdict. There was only a representative of the investor, i.e. the Museum of the Second World War.
“This is another example of disregarding the court’s decision and ignoring the court’s order to ensure that the works on Westerplatte are conducted in accordance with the provisions of law. Once again, the representatives of the museum argue that, despite the unfavorable court judgment, nothing happened. So you can get the impression that they won the case. “- he wrote in a press release sent to the media.
With reference to the statement of the Museum of the Second World War of September 17, 2021, I would like to inform you that: First, the Supreme Administrative Court did not consider the museum’s application to be correct. There was no such sentence when the judgment was announced. Secondly, it is not true that no argument of the commune has been confirmed since from the very beginning the commune of the city of Gdańsk accused the breach of technical conditions, and the authorities – i.e. the Voivode and the Minister – downplayed it. Third, the Museum of the Second World War does not have a usufruct contract as there is no (revoked) decision of the relevant minister. Fourthly, since none of the allegations of the commune has been confirmed, why was the minister’s decision legally revoked? This is another example of disregarding the court’s decision and disregarding the court’s order to ensure that work on Westerplatte is conducted in accordance with the law. Once again, the representatives of the museum argue that despite the unfavorable court verdict, nothing happened. So you get the impression that they won the case. The ruling of the Supreme Administrative Court revoked the decision of the Minister of Development, and only on the basis of this decision the voivode’s decision becomes final. Due to the fact that there is no final decision of the voivode (and only on such a basis it could pass ownership), the land was not transferred to the state treasury. Since there has been no change of owner, the area is still the city of Gdańsk.
President of Gdańsk: the memory of the Westerplatte defenders does not belong to one political option
The mayor of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, announced on Saturday that – after the final judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court – Westerplatte is returning to the city’s real estate and that the city should take responsibility for what is happening on the peninsula. However, she added that this was not a reason to end the works already underway on the construction of the museum and the new cemetery there.
“The memory of the heroic defenders of Westerplatte does not belong to one political option, and the commemoration of the victims of the defensive war of 1939 cannot be a reason for the contemporary Polish-Polish war. What constitutes the identity of the community is in fact very personal and intimate. in the sphere, no authority has any authority, “wrote Dulkiewicz.
She appealed to the government to agree on this matter. She also declared cooperation in establishing and running the museum.
The state took over part of the area under a special act
In the summer of 2019 The Sejm adopted a special act, assuming the construction of a museum on the Westerplatte peninsula, which was to be a branch of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk. The new regulations provided for the expropriation of land owners, including the city of Gdańsk, from the areas where the defense of Westerplatte took place in September 1939. The act – as its originators and supporters argued – was to facilitate the construction of the open-air Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939. According to PiS deputies, this area was not properly used for the Polish memory.
The bill by MPs from the Law and Justice party was criticized from the very beginning by the opposition and the Gdańsk authorities. In July 2019, the president of Gdańsk, Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, announced that she sent a letter to the President of the Republic of Poland with a request to veto a special act or refer it to the Constitutional Tribunal. Andrzej Duda, however, signed a controversial act August 1, 2019.
After the special act enters into force commemoration of the anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Westerplatte it was organized not by the City of Gdańsk, but by the Polish Army.
Main photo source: TVN24