Construction starts of Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939

Construction starts of Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939 Jan Dzban/PAP

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said during a cornerstone laying ceremony on Sunday for the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939 that Poland is making up for the losses of the last 30 years and doing a significant job for present and future generations.

The cornerstone laying ceremony took place on Sunday morning, immediately after the 80th anniversary celebrations of the outbreak of World War II organised by the local government at the Monument to the Defenders of the Coast. Because the location of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939 is not yet known, the stone laying was symbolic.

Morawiecki noted that in 1939 Poland changed the history of the world. "The fact that we threw ourselves into an unequal battle with the German Reich, changed the history of the world," he said.

The prime minister said that Poland has to seek the truth and fight for it. He also cited the words of leading Polish author Zbigniew Herbert, who said that historians of the victors erase the role of the defeated. "We were defeated at that time, but the spirit of our heroes led us to victory, to the Solidarity movement and combating the red plaque (communism - PAP)," the PM said.

In his view, after the transformations of 1989, there was too little strength and willingness to fight for this truth or to remind Poland's future generations of it. "Therefore, today, when laying this cornerstone for the Museum of Westerplatte and War of 1939, we are making up for the last 30 years and doing work that will be important not only for us and for our descendants, it will be important for Europe, for the whole world," Morawiecki said.

Glinski observed that for over seventy years "there were no institutions of memory that should be created for the Polish national community, which should be the owner of its memory, so that subsequent generations would be taught Polish history peacefully and in a civilised way."

Glinski said that wise nations care for the nation's memory. "That is why we build, among others, this institution," the culture minister said during the cornerstone laying ceremony.

He also referred to other sites of remembrance which have been established in recent years, and listed, among others, the Polish History Museum, the Museum of the Cursed Soldiers and the Museum of the Eastern Borderlands. (PAP)

President Andrzej Duda signed a law on the construction of the Museum of Westerplatte and the War of 1939, to be a branch of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk, on August 2. The law, according to its authors, is to facilitate construction of an open-air museum on the Westerplatte peninsula.

The Battle of Westerplatte was the first battle in Germany's invasion of Poland and marked the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe. On September 1, 1939, at 4:45 am the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opened fire on the Polish Military Transit Depot at Westerplatte. The depot's Polish crew held out for seven days before surrendering to the Germans.