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.
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 under a special act in 2019 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. Similar legal flaws affected decisions issued successively by: the Pomeranian Voivode, and then the Minister of Development, 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 very dubious legal grounds – says Maciej Buczkowski, deputy director of the Gdańsk President’s Office.
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 celebration in honor of the heroic defenders of Westerplatte, military and civilian victims of the war, he added.
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 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