Pressure Mounts on Polish Government to Save WWII Museum

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -
FILE - The May 8, 2015 file photo shows Polish Navy troops standing at the foot of the monument to Polish defenders of the Westerplatte peninsula, where some of World War II's first shots were fired, during ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Gdansk, Poland. A museum under creation for the past eight years, the Museum of the Second World War, was due to open in Gdansk in 2017 but its fate is threatened by the country's new nationalistic government. The government objects to its international approach and prefers a project that would focus exclusively on Westerplatte and the Polish military defense against Germany in 1939. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
Polish Navy troops stand at the foot of the monument to Polish defenders of the Westerplatte peninsula, where some of World War II’s first shots were fired, during ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Gdansk, Poland, in 2015. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)

Poland’s conservative government is coming under growing pressure to permit the opening next year of a major new museum on World War II — an ambitious project with an international approach that the country’s nationalistic new leaders dislike.

The Museum of the Second World War was due to open early next year in Gdansk. But the ruling party, Law and Justice, has put the fate of the museum in question. Party leaders say they prefer a museum that focuses exclusively on the Polish experience, and are threatening to cancel plans for the project.

This week, a group representing Polish war veterans appealed to the culture minister to allow the museum to open. Meanwhile, about 200 scholars, among them some of the world’s leading war experts, made a similar appeal.