Poland: Soviet Union confiscated culturally important Polish artworks

The Polish Foreign Ministry said on Twitter that the Soviet Union’s actions during World War II caused “tremendous losses” to Polish Culture.

“Special divisions of the NKVD (Soviet Union interior ministry) stole valuable works of Polish culture – many of them are still in Russia,” the department tweeted.

The ministry cited examples of works that were confiscated by the Red Army. These include Lucas Cranach the Elder’s “Madonna and Child” (Głogowska), Antoine Pesne’s “Girl with a Dove”, and Jan Brueghel the Elder’s “Forest Landscape”.

On January 16, the Russian Defense Ministry published archived documents on the Liberation of Warsaw. According to these documents, the Red Army supported the Warsaw resistance against the German occupation by sending weapons, food and intelligence to the organizers.

In response, the Polish Foreign Ministry said that Soviet troops did liberate Warsaw, “but did not bring liberty to the Poles”.

In 2015, the art dealer Alexander Khochinsky appealed an extradition request from the Polish government, who in 2012 accused him of possessing Antoine Pesne’s “Girl with a Dove”. Warsaw said that the painting had been part of the Poznan museum’s collection since 1931. However, the Polish authorities claim that in 1943 it was captured by German soldiers, and later found by the Red Army. Khochinsky’s lawyer said that his client’s father had had the artwork in his apartment in Leningrad for a long time, and it was later inherited by his client.

  Russia, Poland


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