Painting looted during WWII returns to Poland with US help

painting looted

National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland. Image by Fallaner, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Representatives of the American and Polish governments Wednesday publicly unveiled a 19th century painting that was looted by the Nazis during World War II and recovered by the FBI in Pennsylvania.

The ceremony marked one of the latest recoveries of a cultural object by Poland, which saw much of its cultural patrimony destroyed or looted during the country’s wartime occupation by Nazi Germany.

Poland’s Culture Minister Piotr Glinski and the U.S. ambassador to Poland, Paul Jones, presented the small painting by Polish artist Robert Sliwinski in Warsaw.

The picture, showing a village street scene with the ruins of a castle in the background, was found after being put up for sale at an internet auction. It was also handed over Wednesday to a representative of the National Museum in Wroclaw.

Glinski and Jones were joined by FBI agents who helped recover the painting from a town near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, acting on a tip from Poland’s government. It wasn’t clear how the painting ended up in the United States.

Another painting by a 19th century Polish artist — “Sword Dance” by Henryk Siemiradzki — was withdrawn Tuesday from a Sotheby’s auction at the request of Poland’s Culture Ministry, which believes the work was taken out of the country illegally.


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