Polish Institute of National Memory changes its concept of USSR memorials museum

01.07.2017, Poland.

The Polish Institute of National Memory (Polish: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, IPN) refuses to participate in the creation of an open-air museum of Soviet-era monuments in Borne Sulinowo, an official of the museum, Adam Siwek, said on June 30 in an interview to the TASS news agency.

The IPN Director Jarosław Szarek explained that the Borne Sulinowo museum project was rejected because an alternative concept of using memorials was proposed. According to the new museum concept, Soviet memorials will be gathered on the territory of the Podborsko 3001 Cold War Museum established in a former Soviet military depot.

“We want to enrich the exhibition of the museum, to show communist propaganda, elements of which have made it to this day. We want to gather the remaining pieces of propaganda (monuments, obelisks etc.) in a place where nuclear warheads used to be stored, and to show the history of their creation at the same time,” Szarek said.

According to the IPN official’s idea, visitors of the Cold War Museum will see both the history of erecting the monuments and that of the struggle that followed to dismantle them.

“The mission of the permanent exhibition will be to show the full range of  propaganda activity of the People’s Poland (People’s Republic of Poland) [Polish: Polska Ludowa, Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa] in the field of history preservation: monuments, burial mounds, columns, busts, stones, inscriptions, and signs, as well as weapons. The exhibition will consist of original items and their parts as well as documents and photos with comments.”

Adam Siwek noted that the new exhibition will make a stronger impression on visitors.

“We find the proposed concept associated with the Cold War Museum much more advantageous. First of all, the place itself where the monument items will be displayed is unusual. The permanent exposition which we are going to make of these monuments and certain items will be educational, and it will tell the story of the communist government period but not just display some undesired memorials,” Adam Siwek concluded in the interview to TASS.

On June 22, 2017, the Polish Seim approved a number of amendments to a law prohibiting the propaganda of totalitarianism (which includes the communist system of government, according to Seim) in geographical names. The amendments that were finally passed on June 29, 2017, by the members of the Polish Parliament Upper Chamber, now permit dismantling memorials commemorating soldiers of the Red Army who liberated Poland from Nazism.

Criteria of dismantling a memorial will be established by the IPN officials. The amendments do not apply to memorials at burial places and those having a scientific, artistic or architectural value.

In Poland, even without any amendments to the law, memorials commemorating Soviet soldiers have been defiled for a number of years.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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