Open letter – 30th January, 2020

To : The Board of Trustees « L’Association des Foyers Franco-polonais » (French-Polish Homes Association)

The eyes of history are watching… the battle for the protection and preservation of the Polish Veterans House (Fr Maison des Anciens Combattants Polonais), situated in Paris 75017, at 20 rue Legendre, has only just started. The origins of the House go back to 1948, when it was purchased by the Polish Government in exile to serve « Polonia » community in France and also with the intention to honour the legacy of war heroes who devoted their lives in fighting for our own liberty and that of the whole nation.

Today the house is facing an uncertain future. Its administrators, so called ‘trustees’, have made a disastrous plan to sell it and hence deprive Polish diaspora in France from a cherished meeting point, a place where one can enjoy a fulfilling sense of identity, feel the Polish spirit, share memories and traditions.

Before the holiday season 2019, the house had been emptied, the museum it hosted had been closed with all the precious items taken away under the specious pretext of renovating. The situation is really urgent – the last tenancy agreement ends in February 2020, but 20 rue Legendre is still hosting numerous non-profit organisations. What the future holds for them ?

With regard to memory and historical truth the ‘Association of Polish Veterans’ was created In London 13th September 1947, and almost one year later, 16th of  February 1948, for political reasons, a parisian town house at 20 rue Legendre was purchased as aReal Estate Investment Companyby the last Polish Government in exile and through collection of last military salaries of officers and non-commissionned Polish officers. The REIC was consciously ficticious and held in the name of figureheads, it follows thatits nominees could not exercise any rights over the assets of the association.

The former Association of Polish Veterans (1948-1974) acted in the same veine as its initiators, namely making it available for the Polish community. However, on 13th May 1974 transformations were made by a notary act and a new association came into existence i .e. « Association des Foyers d’Amitié Franco-Polonais ». We may only wonder whether this was the case of unlawful practice leading to the future sale of the House ?

Considering that there are no real successors or heirs to the House, the time has come to remind everyone of who it really belongs to – the moral owner is the Polish community, their families and friends. So no matter what logic or reasoning we follow, no matter how profitable it may be, let’s not forget that the property in question was entirely financed by the Polish soldiers and put at the disposal of future generations of Polish emigrants. Therefore, any possible plans to sale seem absolutely inconsistent, inacceptable and even untolerable.

We are therefore determined to take all the necessary measures to ensure the protection of the House, defend the memory of great men who originated it, by involving the mass media, the government officials and legal experts.

We want to stay loyal to the House history and its designation and we will make it prevail.

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