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  • Approved for CNN

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    Posted May 31, 2014 by
    JensAnker
    Location
    Brussels, Belgium
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    The best things about Poland

    Treasures escaped WW2

     
    A remarkable but little known story is the dramatic and heroic evacuation of a large collection of Poland’s national art treasures from Warsaw and Krakow at the outbreak of World War 2.

    The treasures included original manuscripts of Chopin’s compositions and the old Szczerbiec coronation sword. Narrowly escaping German forces, the treasures transited Romania, Malta, France, England and Scotland before they ended up for safekeeping in Canada.

    Later, in the Cold War climate, perplexing issues and negotiations involving governments, the Vatican and international organizations delayed their return to Poland in 1959-1961.

    The story illustrates the length people may go to protect their national culture and dignity. It also confirms the value of the arts in building bridges between nations. Chopin’s Concerto N° 2 in F minor, Op. 21 is a case in point ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_GecdMywPw ).

    The annual journal “Chopin in the World” published in 2004 my research on the Polish art treasures in WW2 ( http://www.iconsofeurope.com/treasures.htm ).

    Tags: Poland, art treasures, Chopin, Warsaw, Krakow, Canada, World War 2
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