Warsaw Uprising postcards return

A precious collection of stamps and letters from the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 will come back to Poland in March, and beginning in April it will be exhibited by the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising.

The collection was bought on Feb. 9 at auction in Duesseldorf, Germany, by representatives of the museum.

The price of 190,000 euro will be covered by private sponsors, while the Ministry of Culture will pay the commission of the auction house and the taxes, all together 34,000 euro.

The bid of the Polish delegation was the first and the last. The auction was opened earlier than planned – some say, in order to avoid other interested buyers. German authorities insisted on the auction house accepting the Polish bid.

The collection consists of 123 pieces. Most of them are letters and postcards written by Warsaw inhabitants during the World War II uprising, which cost the lives of an estimated 120,000 to 200,000 people and left the city systematically razed by German troops.

The postcards were delivered by scouts who risked their lives in the ruins. The letters contain mostly short messages to relatives or friends informing them that the writers had found safe shelter as well as notes about deaths and the wounded among the insurgents.

Some of the stamps are unique as they were printed by the Polish underground during the two months of the uprising. Only four such collections are known to exist: in Poland, Germany, Australia and the UK. Now two of the collections will be merged in Warsaw.

The Museum of the Warsaw Uprising was established in 2004 to present the history and commemorate the people who took part in the fight. The museum houses 500 items, 1.200 photographs and also conducts research.

Even though the purchase of the German collection was prompted by the media who reported that the historic materials might be bought by a private collector, now voices are saying that the price was well overestimated.

And some experts believe that Poland should not buy war memorabilia such as these, but rather claim them without paying. As Kamil Zeidler from the law faculty of Gdansk University says, these items left Poland illegally, either during or after the war.

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