Works on Paper
from the National Museum in Warsaw
Two drawings, approximately 8 x 11 in., by 19th-century Polish artist Adolf Kozarski, part of a series of graphics depicting small Polish towns and among thousands of works of art looted by the Nazis from the National Museum of Warsaw. The first one is ink on paper and shows a street in Lipno, a small town north-west of Warsaw. The second one is a pencil-on-paper view of the village of Zagórowa, north of Krakow.
AT A GLANCE...
Two works on paper by 19th-century Polish artist Adolf Kozarski, one showing a Jewish Street in Lipno, the other a View of the Village of Zagórowa.
Circumstances of Loss:
They were stolen by the Nazis and taken to Fischhorn Castle, Austria. In the final days of the war, SS troops invited looting of these objects by opening the doors to the castle’s warehouses.
On November 3, 2021 the drawings were handed over to representatives of the Polish government during a ceremony at the Consulate of Poland in NYC. One week later, they rejoined the collections of the National Museum of Warsaw.
Discovery and Research
The Monuments Men Foundation learned of these two drawings from the daughter of a now-deceased U.S. Army officer, who brought them home as reminders of his wartime experience. “Our father was proud of his military service in Europe during World War II,” one of his children said. “It would make him very happy to know that because of the dedicated work of the Monuments Men Foundation, these two works of art that he brought home as souvenirs are now being returned to their rightful owner. Hopefully, other veterans and their family members who possess similar objects will contact the Foundation and follow his lead.”
Both drawings, approximately 8 x 11 in., are by 19th-century Polish artist Adolf Kozarski. They were part of a series of graphics depicting small Polish towns and among thousands of works of art looted by the Nazis from the National Museum of Warsaw. The first one is ink on paper and shows a street in Lipno, a small town north-west of Warsaw. The second one is a pencil-on-paper view of the village of Zagórowa, north of Krakow.
After defeating the Warsaw Uprising in early October 1944, the Nazis seized pieces invaluable to Polish culture that belonged to the National Museum, National Library, Royal Castle, and other major cultural institutions, and shipped them by train to Fischhorn Castle in Austria, residence of SS General Fegelein, brother-in-law to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. In the final days of the war, acting out of spite, SS troops invited looting of these objects by opening the doors to the castle’s warehouses. By the time Monuments Man Lt. Fred Hartt reached the Castle in August 1945, the collections were in deplorable condition, and many objects were missing. After securing the collections, Hartt worked closely with Polish First-Hand Participant 2nd Lt. Bohdan Urbanowicz to inventory the contents of the castle and determine the works of art that individuals had taken. In April 1946, the Monuments Men returned the remaining objects – twelve railway cars full – to Poland.
On November 3, 2021, in a ceremony at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York, two works on paper that had been missing since the end of WWII were returned to Poland by the Monuments Men Foundation. On November 8, a second ceremony at the National Museum in Warsaw officially welcomed the two works back into the Polish national collection.
The New York ceremony featured remarks from Foundation leadership and representatives of Poland’s Department of Cultural Heritage Abroad and War Losses of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the National Museum in Warsaw, and the Consulate General of Poland in New York. “Today’s ceremony is only possible because of this family’s deep sense of justice,” said President Anna Bottinelli. “The family that placed their trust in the Monuments Men Foundation has demonstrated, once again, the generosity of Americans and contributed to helping heal the wounds Poland suffered during World War II.” Polish officials expressed their gratitude for the works’ return: “Although it might seem that these are just two tiny drawings, but the return to the original collection is vitally important to us. Therefore, slowly, methodically, step-by-step, we are rebuilding the pre-war collections of the Polish museums. Every single artifact, even the tiniest one, is significant for us and the process, and finding every object brings us joy,” remarked Dr. Jolanta Miśkowiec, deputy director of the Department of Cultural Heritage Abroad and War Losses. Dr. hab. Łukasz Gaweł, director of the National Museum in Warsaw, expressed similar sentiments noting that “the children [were] coming back home.”
In Warsaw, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Prof. Dr. hab. Piotr Gliński emphasized the importance of cooperation and thanked the Foundation for its efforts in Warsaw. “Someone might say that these are just two small drawings. However, for us their return to our home collections is very important and is of great value,” remarked Prof. Gliński, who reflected on the significant cultural losses that Poland suffered as a result of WWII.
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