During a ceremony in Warsaw on Wednesday, President Andrzej Duda passed the draft bill for the reconstruction of the Saxon Palace to Speaker of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek. Duda emphasized that this was a momentous occasion not only for Warsaw, but for all of Poland.
The president stressed that parts of Warsaw have been rebuilt over the course of many decades following the end of the Second World War – mostly in times of poverty and through sweat and blood. An example of this reconstruction is the Royal Castle.
“Unfortunately, during this reconstruction there was not enough strength and will to rebuild the entire Saxon Palace,” he said.
Przekazałem na ręce Pani Marszałek @elzbietawitek prezydencki projekt ustawy o odbudowie #PałacSaski. Wierzę, że to wielkie jednoczące przedsięwzięcie będzie źródłem dumy dla nas i dla przyszłych pokoleń.
— Andrzej Duda (@AndrzejDuda) July 7, 2021
Duda recalled that in 2018 on the centenary of Polish independence, owing to the strong will of then Speaker of the Senate Stanisław Karczewski, the decision was made to rebuild the palace. He added that the palace’s reconstruction is part of the Polish Deal program and the idea to rebuild the structure dates back to former President Lech Kaczyński, who was Warsaw’s mayor in 2004.
The president emphasized that while the reconstruction would be an enormous financial effort, it was also a massive symbolic undertaking meant to be the crowning achievement of Warsaw’s decades-long reconstruction process.
“I believe that today’s Poland, sovereign and fully independent once more, finally attaining a position of wealth, will complete this great recovery through rebuilding the Saxon Palace,” he said.
Duda stated that the ceremony was an important day which initiated an investment above any political divisions, as the palace’s reconstruction was unanimously supported both politically and socially.
“There already are initial positive conservation opinions which look favorably towards Warsaw regaining its former glory thanks to this investment,” he noted.
The Saxon Palace was constructed as a result of the development of the 17th century Jan Andrzej Morsztyn Palace and was further developed throughout the following centuries. During the 2nd Polish Republic, it served as the headquarters for the General Staff of the Polish Army. After the palace was destroyed by Germans in 1944, the only pieces left were the fragments of three middle arcades, in which the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located.
The tomb symbolizes the nameless soldiers who died defending Poland; it is also the place of celebration of the most important national holidays.
Title image: The Saxon Palace in the 30s of the 20th century, source: BN Polona.