Two looted paintings return to Polish museum

2023-03-17 20:03 update: 2023-03-20, 13:56
Photo: PAP/Tomasz Wojtasik
Photo: PAP/Tomasz Wojtasik
Two 15th-century paintings looted by German forces during World War II have been returned to Poland.

"Ecce Homo" and "Mater Dolorosa" by Dutch artist Dieric Bouts will be displayed in their original location in the Goluchow Castle Museum in western Poland.

The paintings were removed from the museum in 1939 and stored at the National Museum in Warsaw for protection, but were subsequently seized by the Germans and taken out of the country.

In 2019 the Polish Culture Ministry traced the pictures to the Museo Provincial de Pontevedra in Spain, and in 2021 launched a successful restitution procedure.  

Piotr Glinski, the Polish culture minister, who attended a ceremony marking the paintings' return to their old home said they will be hung exactly where they had hung up to 1939.

"Today we are immensely pleased and happy to witness the conclusion of one of the more important restitution procedures," Glinski said.

The Polish government has made tracking down and returning art and other items of cultural significance looted during the Second World War a priority.

Estimates put the number of lost items at around 516,000. (PAP)