In order to prevent catastrophe when cultural property is being destroyed we have established The Committee for Ukrainian Museums (Komitet Pomocy Muzeom Ukrainy) to support our colleagues in Ukraine, says Jan Ołdakowski, Director of the Warsaw Rising Museum (PAP). “Our joint effort to preserve the cultural and national heritage of Ukraine is our joint struggle”, he adds.
Several directors and deputy directors of the Polish museums have already backed the project: the Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial, the Ethnographic Museum in Toruń, the Royal Castle Museum in Warsaw, the Museum of King Jan’s III Palace at Wilanów, the National Museum in Gdańsk, the Warsaw Rising Museum, the Emigration Museum in Gdynia, the Ossolineum – Ossoliński National Institute in Wrocław, the National Gallery in Prague, the Polish History Museum, the Home Army Museum in Cracow, Zajezdnia - the “Remembrance and Future” Centre in Wrocław, the Modern Art Museum in Warsaw, the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw, the Army Museum in Białystok, the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw.
We are terribly shocked and outraged by the unprovoked Russian attack against Ukraine. The aggression that leads to countless crimes and causes victims and suffering” says the first statement of the Committee.
In such circumstances, people are most important. The people facing barbarous bombing and the soldiers fighting against the aggressor. Today the Ukrainians pay with their lives to defend their Homeland”, we read. It was highlighted that “any war leads also to irreparable loss of cultural and national heritage” and “right now, Ukrainian museums are confronted with extreme challenges. What can be done to protect and save collections that reflect the heritage of the past generations?
We stand in solidarity with Ukraine. In Poland we understand all too well the situation the Ukrainians are in. During WWII the acts of looting and destroying Polish cultural property were unprecedented. The finale of pillage and annihilation of Warsaw took place during the Warsaw Rising and right after its end. No other nation and state should ever have to face such loss again. Today, unfortunately, such a threat hangs over Ukraine, the Committee underlined.
Jan Ołdakowski declared in an interview for the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that the Committee’s objective is to support all the museums and cultural institutions in Ukraine to protect their collections, most valuable items and the monuments of the Ukrainian culture. What is more, the Committee wants to provide help when it comes to document, digitize and take stock of their collections. The Committee will also offer materials needed to protect and hide the collections.
Also, The Committee of Ukrainian Museums wants to inform the general public about the threats in regard to the loss of Ukrainian cultural property resulting from the current situation. Polish museums expressed as well, their willingness to share know-how as for collecting and documenting data related to the acts of looting and destruction of the Ukrainian cultural property. They will also support their colleagues in Ukraine who found themselves in dire straits due to the war.
The Committee was established by the Warsaw Rising Museum. Warsaw was totally destroyed in WWII, so we know the importance of protecting the collections, having them well registered and documenting the war losses which are surely expected due to Putin’s declarations, said Jan Ołdakowski.
He explained that the Committee wants to get in contact with all Ukrainian museums. We have already contacted directors of the museums in Lwów (Lviv). We want to reach museums in Luck and Ivano-Frankivsk. Also, we would like to get in touch with regional museums where the most needed support right now is about digital related issues, said the director of the Warsaw Rising Museum. Digital equipment will help our colleagues in Ukraine to create digital copies of their collections. As Ołdakowski stated, the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw had already declared that they could send fifteen PCs and notebooks. He added that we may also organise delivery as we have a transport corridor to Lwów.
The office of the Committee is open at the Warsaw Rising Museum. Today, we have already started collecting information to address the needs of the Ukrainians the best we can. We know, that time counts, he underlined.
Director Ołdakowski pointed out that not only protecting the original collection is needed but also preparing their digital copies. We are aware that Russians will try to destroy the cultural property of Ukraine. That is why digital copies of paintings and museums’ collections as well as their registers are of great importance. This may help when it comes to document potential war losses, he underlined when talking to PAP.
We are witnessing the history repeat itself as we all know what it means when somebody draws plans to destroy somebody’s else culture, he said. As Poles, we understand where the destruction of monuments, cultural property and heritage may lead to. When I hear that Putin is planning to rearrange one’s memory, I know that it may all end up as we saw in Warsaw. That is why we need to do our best that the tragedy of WWII does not repeat itself again, he stressed.
All museums who want to join the work of the Committee are invited to cooperate, as declared by The Warsaw Rising Museum. One can get more information at: email@example.com and via social media channels of the Committee (Komitet Pomocy Muzeom Ukrainy) where Polish, Ukrainian and English posts will be shared. (PAP)
/This is the translation of the original interview: https://dzieje.pl/wiadomosci/dyrektor-mpw-oglaszamy-powstanie-komitetu-pomocy-muzeom-ukrainy /
Russian aggression against Ukraine has already led to countless crimes and caused victims and suffering. In such circumstances, people are most important. The people facing barbarous bombing and the soldiers fighting against the aggressor. Today the Ukrainians pay with their lives to defend their Homeland. However, any war leads also to irreparable loss of cultural and national heritage.
Take part in a photo competition organised to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising. Catch on your camera or smartphone the way we commemorate the Rising wherever you are, no matter whether in Poland or in the world! Official commemorations, concerts, social events – take a picture of anything that is about remembering what happened in Warsaw in August and September 1944. Show that you care!
The Exhibition was opened for visitors in August 2020 as a part of official commemorations of the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising. It presents hundreds of artefacts, media or works of art referring to or bearing the symbol of the Fighting Poland.