Poland asks Russia’s state-run Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts to return seven works of art ‘stolen’ by Soviet Union during World War II, to Warsaw said Wednesday.
“Cases of looting of cultural property do not expire… The Polish state will never stop searching for and recovering cultural property that was looted as a result of World War II,” the government statement said. quoting Polish Culture Minister Piotr Gliński.
The seven objects wanted by Poland include works by Italian painters Lorenzo di Credi, Spinello Aretino and Luca Giordano, as well as French painter Valentin de Boulogne.
Russia’s Culture Ministry said on Thursday it had not yet received any official request from the Polish government, noting that the paintings in question had been donated to the Soviet Union as part of German reparations after World War II.
“This type of valuables belongs to a special category, since they were transferred to the territory of the USSR as part of an act of compensatory restitution for the actions of Nazi Germany and its allies during the Great Patriotic War,” the RBC newspaper said. cited said a ministry official.
Russian Ambassador to Warsaw Sergei Andreyev confirmed that the Russian Embassy received the diplomatic note from the Polish Foreign Ministry demanding the return of the works of art, adding that the Embassy would forward the note to Moscow.
The Polish government’s statement says it has already submitted 20 other restitution claims for thousands of items that Soviet officials transported to Russia after World War II, but have received no response.
“We are not in a position to accurately assess the extent of the looting by the Soviets. In the case of hundreds of thousands of objects lost by Poland as a result of World War II, the trail leads to the Russian Federation,” Gliński said.
“Lack of access to Russian museum resources and archival sources, including export lists, makes it difficult to determine how many Polish works of art and monuments are in Russia today,” added the Polish minister.