In connection with the information presented in the Israeli media about the removal of artifacts from the area of the former Warsaw ghetto, the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, as institutions established to protect and commemorate the history of Polish Jews, remind that if an archaeological object is discovered during construction or earth works, or accidentally, it should be secured and all works which would expose it to damage should be suspended. Such an occurrence should be immediately reported to the right institutions: offices of monument conservators and local government (in case of Warsaw – the City Office) or the police. Similarly, conducting archaeological research or searching for artifacts requires a permission of the provincial conservator of monuments, and the export of artifacts abroad is limited and strictly regulated by law.
We are outraged by the fact that historical objects related to the Holocaust may become the subject of illegal trade. Hence, we appeal to all people who have knowledge of this type of artifacts to provide information to institutions established for the purpose of their conservation and commemoration. This guarantees that they will be properly and professionally secured and thus saved. After conservation, the most valuable artifacts are made available to the general public in museums, so that every visitor can join in the preservation of the memory of the material and non-material heritage of Polish Jews.
We hope that the shocking situation described above will be resolved and that no similar incidents will happen 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