World War II: Samples stolen by Germany are returned to Poland.

37 nature specimens and 46 science books looted during the Second World War from the State Zoological Museum in Warsaw, returned to Poland thanks to the cooperation of the Department for the Return of Cultural Property of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Salzburg, as well as the Museum and Zoological Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

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On Wednesday, at the Kubicki Arcades of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, a ceremony was held for the transfer of the collection of zoological specimens and books to the collection of the Museum and Zoological Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences by Haus der Natur in Salzburg. The ceremony was attended, among others, by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Glinsky, Dr. Robert Lindner and Dr. Barbara Luedel of Haus der Natur in Salzburg, Austrian Ambassador to Poland Andreas Stadler, Director of the Museum and Zoological Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences the professor. Tomasz Mazgajski and Director of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, A. Wojciech Fałkowski.

After more than 80 years, a unique collection of zoology specimens and science books looted during World War II from the collections of the State Museum of Zoology in Warsaw before the war has returned to Poland from Salzburg. The example of retrieval of these objects is the most important because it is not about individual objects, but the whole group of scientific objects – said Deputy Prime Minister Gliński.

He noted that “Poland was a country that, during the Second World War, lost – as a result of military actions and planned looting – most of its cultural advantages and scientific resources.” It is estimated that Poland has lost 70 percent of its tangible cultural heritage. Approximately. 0.5 million artworks alone, and only 64 thousand. Objects are indexed in our database – added the Minister of Culture.

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Two years of research and identification

a. Mazgajski, director of the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, said the ceremony was “the culmination of more than two years of research and activities aimed at identifying specimens so that they can be returned to Poland”. He thanked everyone who participated in the recovery of the looted Polish samples and books.

He noted that the recovered exhibits have a double value – thanks to them it will be possible to conduct scientific research, but they also have historical significance, they show the history of the development of zoology in Poland, as well as the importance of Polish zoology in the world.

In October 2021, representatives of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Museum and Zoological Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences visited Haus der Natur in Salzburg, where they jointly examined all identified and questionable books and natural specimens. At that time, 37 zoological models and 46 books were identified, which were the losses of the Polish war. Their return to Poland is the result of research conducted by Austrian and Polish scientists and excellent cooperation from both sides.

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#Pyotr Glinsky

#Polish Academy of Sciences

# State Zoological Museum

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