Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Albert Edelfelt's painting “Under the Birches / Children in a Birch Forest by the Haiko Fjord” decorated the wall of the presidential summer residence in Spała. The painting was probably looted in 1945 when the Red Army entered Poland.
The painting was found decades later in 2019 by Katarzyna and Krzysztof Kaczmarek in the attic of a wooden house in Łódź, which belonged to Ms Katarzyna's great-grandmother. They handed over the artwork to a professional conservator. Now the painting has been placed in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.
“They have shown in a beautiful way the best and wisest to care for our heritage. During the Second World War, Poland lost over half a million works of art. For many years, efforts have been made to recover looted works,” said Łukasz Gaweł, PhD, the Director of the National Museum in Warsaw.
Poland lost over half a million works of art during World War II. According to the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, there are over 80 restitution processes, all of which are at different stages.
Archival collections of the Katyń Committee, collected by Stefan Melak, former chairman of the Katyń Committee, who died in the Smoleńsk catastrophe, were added to the Archives of New Records.
“It is really a percentage of what is still not passed on, of the unexplored. The collected archives include, among others, unique materials from the 1980s, photo documentation commemorating the fight for the truth about the Katyn massacre during the communist era, as well as an archival record from four decades of the Katyn Committee's activity,” said Andrzej Melak, brother of late Stefan Melak, President of the Katyń Committee.