Address at the occasion of signing of the Bill on the Reconstruction of the Saxon Palace
Honourable Madam Speaker,
Honourable Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen of the House,
All Distinguished Guests!
I am very pleased and appreciative! Thank you very much, Madam Speaker and all of you, Honourable Members of Parliament, for having adopted this bill which enabled me to complete the legislative process by signing it into law and submitting it for its imminent publication: the promulgation order is attached hereto and has also been signed.
I would like to thank all of you who have committed yourselves to the reconstruction of the Saxon Palace, the Brühl Palace and the tenement houses along Królewska Street - the complex of buildings which was once one of the most important symbols of Warsaw. Next to the Royal Castle, next to the Łazienki Park, this complex of buildings was featured as a symbol of Warsaw. Before World War II it served to accommodate the General Staff of the Polish Army, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and many other institutions.
Thanks to your efforts, thanks to the initiative taken by the President of Poland, Professor Lech Kaczyński, when he was still Mayor of Warsaw, this matter has returned on the agenda. Honestly, the reconstruction should have been completed a long time ago. But the Polish state and Warsaw needed years to rise from the ruins, and there were other investment needs. And then Poland had to struggle out of communism ushering in market economy.
Only now can we claim our country’s place in the league of prosperous states. This is also thanks to the prudent policy that has been pursued in recent years, for which I am very grateful equally to the parliamentary majority and the Prime Minister.
I hope that now, thanks to the Law on the preparation and implementation of the investment project, these magnificent buildings will be restored to Warsaw, to the people of Warsaw, to Poland and to all of us, as a space to carry out social, cultural and educational activities, as it has been provided in the Law. The reconstruction work of those places is funded from budgetary funds, thus raising Warsaw from the ruins and symbolically completing the process of Warsaw’s reconstruction.
This is a momentous occasion: it also epitomizes the truth about World War II: that Poland and the Poles were the victims of the World War II. We were assaulted, our country was occupied, our country was destroyed in the aftermath of the assault, and the bestiality of the German occupier.
The Saxon Palace, the Brühl Palace and the buildings nearby are glaring examples of this. The occupier did not have to destroy them after the Warsaw Uprising. Of course, they suffered some damage - but they physically existed. And then they were blown up, only the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier being left. Today, this last surviving token of the Saxon Palace is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Poland and the Polish people were victims of World War II.
Today, we are rebuilding the Saxon Palace and we must return it to Warsaw and Poland. But there is nothing else that we need to return to anyone nowadays. And we do not owe anyone else anything. There are others who owe us enormous amounts of money for the losses entailed during World War II - our entire nation, and our towns and villages. This is what is still pending.
But it certainly cannot be claimed, and it is impertinent to say, that we, Poles, and Poland owe anything to anyone in connection with World War II. It was not our doing, we were not the ones to cause damage. We were the victims thereof.
Once again, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to getting the investment off the ground. I would like to thank you, Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you, Honourable Members, and I would like to thank you, Prime Minister, for your courageous decisions and giving a green light to the project. I would also like to express my thanks to Speaker Stanisław Karczewski, for his great contribution to this work, ushering in the actual reconstruction. I thank all those who have contributed to it. My words of thanks go out to Prime Minister Piotr Gliński. I also thank the members of the Saski 2018 Association - thank you so much!
In this room we once announced the out intention to reconstruct, in this room on the occasion of the Centenary of Poland's independence, on 11 November 2018, we announced that it would be carried out. Today we begin this great groundwork of preparing and rebuilding the Saxon Palace, the Brühl Palace, the tenements on Królewska Street - the magnificent complex of edifices, of great significance to Warsaw. May it give Warsaw even more splendour.