New York News
Recovered art signed back over to Poland
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Call this a cultural victory in Midtown, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement signed over a painting to its rightful owner, Poland, more than seven decades after it was stolen by the Nazis when they occupied Warsaw.
"In each of the paintings there's a personal story behind it," said Boydan Zdrojewski, the Polish Minister of Culture.
This one was first owned by a soldier before Poland was even on the map, but its culture existed and Hitler would try hard to take that away.
"The smallest piece of art, the smallest part of our history, recovered is a part of us all," said Ryszard Schnepf, the Polish Ambassador to the United States.
The process of finding this painting actually began with Polish authorities. When they discovered it, it was sold to an auction house in New York.
The painting was then sold under a different name to a gallery in London, and U.S. Homeland Security helped Poland get it back.
Ironically, Thursday's announcement comes just one day before the release of George Clooney's star-studded Hollywood film "Monuments Men".
The film highlights an unlikely platoon of art experts as they recover masterpieces, from the Nazis.
"He just wanted it to be as if you didn't exist, he wanted to destroy your culture," said George Clooney, actor.
George Clooney discussed the film on "Good Morning America" but Polish officials hadn't heard of it.
It's a happy coincidence that will hopefully bring awareness about more missing works.
"There's, I'm sure thousands in storage in basements and garages that people just aren't aware of because grandpa brought it home," said James Hayes, of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
70,000 are still missing from Poland, but at least one lost treasure has been found.
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