House Story

A Brief history of « Polish Veterans and their Families Association in France », Its administrators so called « trustees » and the purchase of The House at 20 rue Legendre, 75017 Paris

Polish Veternas Association (SPK) was set up on 13th September 1947 with the intention of ensuring continuity of the Polish Underground State and pursuing the fight for full sovreingty from Soviet dominance. Another important role of the SPK organization was to provide assistance to thousands of Polish war veterans settled in France with activities of daily living.

In February 1948 the Polish Veterans House SPK was purchased for 400 000.000 francs offered by the Polish Government in Exile with headquarters in London. Due to legal restraints for foreign buyers, a ficticious Real Estate Company was created with a board of 5 ‘trustees’ responsible for managing the property. The trustees (or adminisirators) had not injected any personal capital in the purchase of the House and therefore could not claim any rights over its assets. This organization was set up merely for the needs of SPK which was clearly indicated in the notarial deed.

The members of the Board of Administration, consisting of former high rank officers, were also members of the SPK. As a consequence, despite having different names, the two organizations had in fact the same decision-making body.

In the 70s the French property laws changed. In the years 1973/74 the Real Estate Company was transformed into the French-Polish Families Association, which changed nothing in the structure of the organization apart from its name. The real owners were still the SPK and the new organization had not invested any capital in its ownership, thus it could not own rights to its assets. The French-Polish Families Association was meant to serve Polish veterans and their families and that was exactly what they did for more than 20 years. However, with the passing of time the number of active members was slowly diminishing, the older generation who remembered the hardship of the World War II was slowly being replaced by younger ones who have seen this position as an opportunity for their own personal interests.

At the end of 90th, a group of such opportunists dominated the Board of Trustees and made a first attempt to sell the house.

However, a quick and resolute action of SPK managed by « Kolo PARYZ SPK » prevented them from putting it on sale. Due to the fact that the House was at bad technical condition – French Authorities -La Préfecture- stopped a permit to use the premises. When faced with such a situation – a major overhaul was organized by Reverend Stanislaw Jez from the Polish Catholic Mission in Paris – at the request of the late SPK chairman Mr. Mieczyslaw Dukalski. After being entirely refurbished, the House could again be used by the Polish community and until today it has hosted a school and numerous charity organisations.

Unfortunately, starting from the 2012 some manoeuvres have been carried out in secret with the intention to sell the House and donate total income from its sale to the Polish Library in Paris.

In the meantime, the government comission APAV issued an official statement that The House’s condition allows it to be rented.

What begs the question is a total lack of transparency on the part of administrators (trustees) towards the Polish community. What is more, the disregard of Polish diaspora’s interests in the decision making process is shocking and completely incompatible with the Houses’s original designation.

In order to restore law and order within the Board of Trustees, the memebers of « SPK Kolo Paryz » asked legal experts for help. The first visible signal of their succes is the Chairman’s (Mr. Kukuryka) resignation from the post.

The irregularities in the managment of the House have given rise to enormous frustration among « Polonia » community, who feel that they are being intentionally deprived from the last meeting point which allowed many to maintain links with their homeland.

Polish immigrants are the only legitimate and moral owners and in that respect the need for the House’s continuity is absolutely vital.

Having at heart the welfare of the Polish community in France and the future of our children, we are determined to take all the necessary measures in order to ensure the protection of the House, but also to defend and honour the memory of great men who devoted their lives to fighting for independent Poland.