Polish officers visit home of WWII museum’s former director
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Anti-corruption officers have visited the home of the former director of a major new World War II museum, who is embroiled in a conflict with Poland’s populist government over the ideological message of the institution.
Pawel Machcewicz said Wednesday that two representatives of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau entered his Warsaw apartment Tuesday evening. He said he saw it as an attempt by the authorities to frighten him because they find him politically inconvenient.
The bureau said in a statement that it visited Machcewicz’s residence because he had failed to appear before prosecutors despite being summoned by them twice.
Machcewicz told The Associated Press he was not home, but that his adult son who was felt shaken by the visit. He said he has lately been doing research in Berlin and did not receive the summonses.
Machcewicz was ousted earlier this year as director of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk, a major new state museum that tells the story of the war by giving Poland a prominent place but also showing the massive suffering inflicted on civilian populations elsewhere in Europe.
Long before coming to power in 2015, leaders of the ruling Law and Justice party vowed to change the museum if they ever won power. They said they wanted to focus it on Polish heroism and suffering, seeking greater understanding from the world of Poland’s unique wartime tragedy under dual occupations, by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
Since being fired, Machcewicz has been fighting changes by the right-wing government. He is suing the new museum leadership for copyright violations connected to changes it is making to the exhibition, which he says devastate its originally intended anti-war message, and is coming out with a book next week about his struggle with the government.
He said he considered the visit “harassment and intimation against me for trying to defend the exhibition.”