Statement regarding the removal from Poland of historic artifacts from the Warsaw ghetto

Following information in the Israeli media about the removal from Poland of historic artifacts discovered in the area of the Warsaw ghetto, as institutions appointed to protect the heritage and commemorate the history of Polish Jews, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Ghetto Museum wish to remind everyone that in the event of finding an archaeological artifact in the course of construction or earthworks or any other type of activity the artifact should be secured, all work putting it at risk stopped, and the finding immediately reported to the competent institutions: monument protection services and county authorities (starosta; in Warsaw – the City Office) or the police. Similarly, conducting archaeological excavations or searches for historic artifacts requires the permission of the voivodeship monument conservator, while the removal of artifacts from the country is subject to restrictions and is strictly regulated by law.

We are shocked and outraged by the fact that artifacts from the Holocaust period have been illegally circulated. We are therefore appealing to all persons who have any knowledge of such artifacts to pass on such information to the institutions appointed for that purpose. This guarantees that they will be properly and professionally looked after and therefore preserved. Following conservation, the most valuable artifacts are made available to the public in museums, which allows all visitors to join in the work of preserving the memory and the material and immaterial heritage of Polish Jews.

We hope that the shocking situation described above will be resolved, and no such incidents will occur in the future.

Monika Krawczyk, Director of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute
Albert Stankowski, Director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum
Zygmunt Stępiński, Director of POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews