Polish president to reappoint members of cultural committee fired by predecessor?

Polish media reported today that president Bronisław Komorowski might reappoint those members of the ‘Societal Committee for the Restoration of Historical Monuments of Kraków’ (SKOZK) that were fired by his predecessor, Lech Kaczyński.

The SKOZK was founded in 1978 when Kraków’s old town became part of the UNESCO World Cultural heritage and is one of the most prestigious organisations of Polish civil society. Although being partly financed by the Polish presidential office and the government, it has remained fairly unpolitical up until 2007. Then however, president Kaczyński dismissed 23 of its members on the grounds that they refused to give a  declaration’ about their involvement with the Communist secret services. This is mandatory for state officials and politicians but not for any positions in civil society organisations. 13 more members were dismissed by Kaczyński due to alleged inactivity on the committee a year later.Incidentally, almost all of the dismissed committee tended to be critical of Lech Kaczyński and were once appointed by presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksandr Kwaśniewski. The daily newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza” quotes members of the SKOZK naming these incidents “political cleansing”.

Insiders report that Komorowski – who visited the Wawel castle in Kraków and other monuments administered by the SKOZK last weekend – now wanted to review the reasons for dismissing the respective members and (given their readiness) reappoint them. Former members concerned reacted positively to this news but did not want to comment on a possible future membership in the committee until the president’s decision has been made official.

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