News Foreign policy Ministry Travel to Poland
RESTITUTION OF WORKS OF ART
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs began to restitute Polish cultural property removed from Poland as early as during the interwar period (1918-1939). The ministry was primarily involved in efforts to return Polish artworks from Russia under the Treaty of Riga of 1921. It also helped to find and purchase the most valuable national heritage Polonica, like the collection of Frederic Chopin’s music manuscripts discovered in Leipzig in 1937 or royal portraits.
After the Second World War, the Ministry was uninterruptedly engaged in restitution efforts. This engagement became more intensive following the political changes that occurred in Europe at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. At the end of the 1990s, a two-person restitution team was established, consisting of Professor Wojciech Kowalski, a lawyer and expert in international law and Dr Monika Kuhnke, an art historian specialising in provenance research and restitution of monuments. Generally speaking, the team’s task is to implement government foreign policy aimed at liquidating the effects of WWII in the area of culture. The team also monitors these issues on a world-wide scale and disseminates Poland’s legal stance in this regard. In carrying out its tasks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cooperates with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which registers wartime losses and publishes their catalogues, as well as with other interested institutions, among them museums, libraries and archives.
Wojciech Kowalski: email@example.com tel. +48 (22) 523 88 81
Monika Kuhnke: firstname.lastname@example.org tel. +48 (22) 523 92 57