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Poland plans to transfer Red Army memorials to new museum

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 29.06.2016 14:11
Poland is planning to set up an open-air museum of Soviet-era memorials which are being dismantled and removed from locations across the country.
 Paweł Ukielski (left). Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk Paweł Ukielski (left). Photo: PAP/Jacek Turczyk

The new display is to be established in Borne Sulinowo, a town in north-western Poland which served as a secret Soviet military base between 1945 and 1992.

It was not transferred to Polish jurisdiction until October 1992, several years after the collapse of communism in Poland.

Soviet memorials on Polish soil remain controversial as the liberation of Nazi-occupied Poland by the Red Army towards the end of World War II led to the installation of a Moscow-backed communist regime in Warsaw that endured until 1989.

The issue of such monuments sparked sharp exchanges earlier this year between Warsaw and Moscow.

The decision to move so-called memorials of gratitude to the Red Army to Borne Sulinowo was made by Poland’s Institute for National Remembrance.

Its deputy head, Paweł Ukielski, told a press conference in Warsaw that Borne Sulinowo, which remained closed to ordinary Poles for decades, is a historically symbolic location and a fitting place for such a display.

He said that there are 229 Soviet Army memorials around Poland which could be transferred to the new museum.

Ukielski added that the decision on setting up the Borne Sulinowo display has not been consulted with Russia. “Polish public space is an element of Polish sovereignty and decisions relating to it do not have to be consulted with any of our neighbours.”

He added: “There is a Polish-Russian agreement on the preservation of cemeteries and sites of remembrance but it does not cover symbolic ‘memorials of gratitude’.”

According to preliminary plans, the Borne Sulinowo site is to open on 17 September next year, the date when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939. (mk/pk)

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