immi grated pieces
They found a shelter here. They had to move because of a war, because they did not have a home anymore. They are precious. They are now part of the history of this territory. It hosts them to be richer and to show diversity and beauty. Some are really old. Some travelled a lot and passed through many dangerous situations. Some of them are lost. Some are scattered. Some came from not so far. Some are invisible. Some are on show. Some are hidden. They bring stories.
vratislavia breslavia prezla breslau wrocĹ‚aw vratislav wrotizlava wrezlaw breslaw preĂ&#x;lau
WrocĹ‚aw is a young city, she is seventy. She was born in Breslau in 1946, and she grew up quickly.
Although the city is young, her heritage is vast, unwieldy and goes back to the eleventh century. How could this newborn entity deal with such a heavy, layered and disputed legacy? In order to shape her own identity she obliterated it. She tried to get rid of it, she ignored most of it, she covered it with the stories she was telling herself. She gave it away. But still too many things were standing there, still many things stand there today. Most of the time she brought her belongings to feel comfortable in her new place. She placed her trinkets and
knick-knacks instead of the old ones to better feel home. She renamed things she found, even if she was seldom sure how to use them or for what purpose. At least with a more familiar name she got less reluctant to approach them. She liked the river and all the small islands as she wasn’t used to the architecture and was not sure to catch its beauty. Anyway there was so much work to do that aesthetics really did not matter. The shelter first. Than — perhaps — she would deal with the decorations.
When the essential repair was done she started to make plans for her new life. She imagined a wealthy, painless future, however, she fell in bad company. Sometimes she put herself in absurd situations, sometimes she was forced to act in ways that were rather unwise.
HenrykÂ IV Probus Tomb Stone sarcophagus, 1290 circa
View from above of the tomb: Henryk IV Probus is firmly holding his sword and the shield with eagle emblem of WrocĹ‚aw.
Henryk IV Probus was a direct descendant of Mieszko I Duke of Poland. In 1946 the Republic of Poland issued the 6 ZĹ‚oty stamp with a picture of his tomb
The collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew was founded in Wrocław by Henryk IV Probus. Its construction ended in 1287. Henryk IV Probus was Duke of Wrocław and at the end of his life he became High Duke of Poland after he conquered Kraków. He was the last member of the Piast dynasty. He was educated in Prague at the court of Otakar II, King of
Bohemia. He confirmed the German Town Law in Wrocław.
The most important 14th century source about his life is the Styrian Reimchronik by Ottokar de Gaal, the first comprehensive historical work in German language. This chronicle gives interesting details about Henryk’s assassination. Henryk IV aspired to the title of King of Poland. Thus he asked the Pope to grant him permission for his coronation. The negotiations were successful, and he sent to Rome 12 000 grzywnas as a present to the Pope. But when the envoy reached Italy it was
noted that 400 grzywnas were stolen during the trip, and the Pope, infuriated, cancelled all negotiations with Henryk IV. Although the embezzler was able to escape from the papal fury and the justice of the Doge of Venice, it is known that Henryk IV wanted to punish him. In order to prevent the imminent revenge of the Duke it was decided to get rid of him: a false lawyer was employed at the court of WrocĹ‚aw, and slowly poisoned Henryk IV. While another doctor, called Guncelin, recognizing the symptoms of poisoning, was able to rescue the Duke from an
Henryk IV Probus tomb in the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew church in the 1920s
imminent death, causing severe vomiting and cleansing the body; but the assassin was not discovered, and this time put the poison in the knife used by Henryk IV to cut his bread. The poison was finally detected, but it was too late to save the Duke. Henryk IV died in the Catholic faith, deciding not to prosecute or punish his killers. This is a very long story of the Dukeâ€™s death and only some elements are confirmed by other sources. Ottokar of Styria told the story in many details in agreement with that provided by the Kronika ZbrasĹ‚awska. Other sources related that a
chaplain named Aleksy, as a deputy of King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia had betrayed Henryk IV’s interests and tried to give the crown to the King of Kalisz Przemysł II. In this story the theft of the envoy to Rome was also mentioned, only the epilogue was a little different: here, the thief was killed by his own servants in the streets of Rome. Henryk was buried in the Church of the Holy Cross and St. Bartholomew and rested there until World War II when German anthropologists wanted to prove the “Germanic look” of Henryk IV. To this end, his remains were removed
Breslau under the Piast dynasty as a German community by Colmar GrĂźnhagen, published in WrocĹ‚aw in 1861
and were to be tested. Unfortunately, they were lost during the war. The sarcophagus then disappeared until 1946 when it was found in the village of Wierzbna near Ĺšwidnica and relocated to the National Museum of WrocĹ‚aw.
Some identify Henryk IV Probus with the poet Herzog Heinrich von Pressela. The Codex Manesse, a manuscript from Zurich dating back to the first half of the 14th century, contains some poems linked to the Duke. The codex is a volume of courtly love poetry. The poems are organised in sections dedicated to some of the most important European sovereigns. It is hard to give a contemporary equivalent to courtly love, its practice and influence over the Medieval noble society. Imagine if the G20 leaders would gather together to participate to a special reality TV show, a fusion between The
Herzog Heinrich von Pressela, illumination from the Codex Manesse, UniversitĂ¤t Bibliothek Heidelberg.
bachelor and American Idol. The Codex Manesse is a long lasting record of such practice. Every character is shown in an illumination that starts his section: the Duke’s chapter begins with his portrayal, holding his shield bearing the emblem of Wrocław. We can’t say if he actually wrote the poems that follow. This unattested identification could be the reason why in 1937 the authorities placed a monument to Henryk IV in Breslau’s main square that depicted him as a minstrel that rejected his arms. The story of the sculpture is indeterminate: apparently it was a temporary monument built on the occasion of a folkloric music festival, the 12th Deutsches Sängerbundesfest.
Some say that the temporary statue was a proposition for a permanent one. In any case, this is an original iconography of the Duke of Silesia: we wonder why a militaristic society like Nazi Germany would suggest such a peaceful description of Henryk IV.
The sculpture was never realised. We still have the poems.
Postcard issued for the 12th Deutsches SĂ¤ngerbundesfest in Breslau, 1937.
Ich klag’ dir, Mai, ich klag’ dir, Sommerwonne, Ich klag’ dir, lichte Heide breit, Ich klag’ dir, augenblender Klee, Ich klag’ dir, grüner Wald, ich klag’ dir, Sonne, Ich klag’ dir, Venus, sehnend Leid, Daß mir die Liebe thut so weh. 42
Wollt ihr mir helfen streben, So hoff’ Ich, daß die Liebe mög ergeben Sich einem minniglichern Wesen. Nun laßt euch fein verkündet meinem Kummer, Bei Gott, und helfet mir genesen.
I complain to you, O month of May, and summerâ€™s joy; I complain to you, the bright broad heath; I complain to you, the eye-piercing clover; I complain to you, the forest green, and to you, the sun. I complain to you, O Venus, of my languishing sorrows How love causes me such pain. If all of you help to plead my case, I trust that Love may pass judgement On one charming creature whom I know. Hear now the full tale of my trouble! God have mercy on me! And find me a remedy!
Pieta St. Elisabeth church Limestone sculpture, unknown dimensions, 1384
Plate XXI from Schlesische plastik. Von beginn des xiv. bis zur mitte des xv. jahrhunderts by Erich Wiese, Leipzig, 1923.
The only source attesting the presence of this stone sculpture in the Schlesische Museum für Kunstgewerbe und Altertümer in Breslau is the book Schlesische plastik. Von beginn des xiv. bis zur mitte des xv. jahrhunderts written by Erich Wiese and published by Klinkhardt & Biermann in Leipzig in 1923. The author indicates it as previously located in the St. Mary chapel in the church of St. Elisabeth.
The Pieta is recorded as number 5557 in the register established by the Polish Division for Looted Art, a special division created by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in 2001 to gather information, create a database, and recover Wartime Losses occurred during World War II “from within the post 1945 borders of Poland”. The division regularly publishes catalogues of lost collections. The current database has 63 000 records. According to the current knowledge, it is hard to estimate the exact number of lost pieces. A 1945 estimation counts 516 000 works of art
and over 22 millions books of Wartime Losses. In 2010, the Division for Looted Art founded the Muzeum Utracone (The Lost Museum) project in order to raise awareness about the matter among Polish citizens. 54
In spite of this effort, the St.Â Elisabeth Pieta is currently lost.
Categories of Wartime Losses established by the Polish Division for Looted Art. It is not clear if there is a priority criteria or a hierarchy in the list provided.
Polish Section The Polish Section was set up on Septem ber 14, 1939 and was called upon, th ro u g h ou t its service, to deal w ith cases th a t were of great com plexity owing to th e vicissitudes of this co u n try an d of its arm ed forces during th e second W orld W ar. In 1939, the whole area of th e national te rrito ry was occupied. The G erm an G overnm ent in fact held th a t Poland had ceased to exist as a sovereign S tate, which m ade th e task of the ICRC extrem ely difficult. A num ber of Poles, however, who were living abroad or who succeeded in leaving th eir occupied territo ry , joined th e Allied forces and w ithin th eir ranks, or in u n its of th eir own, continued th e fight against the Axis Powers, while others carried on th e struggle against the occupyÂ ing Pow er w ithin Poland itself. In these circum stances, th e work of th e Polish Section was less th a t of an interm ediary betw een the belligerents for tra n s Â m itting official inform ation th a n th a t of an inform ation bureau for individuals and p riv ate organizations. The num ber of applications relating to m em bers of th e forces or civilians, who b o th during and after th e war arrived from all p a rts of the world, led to th e subm ission of a very large num ber of enquiries to organizations of every kind. The Polish cam paign began on Septem ber 1, 1939, w ith th e invasion by the G erm an arm ies. On Septem ber 17, the Soviet forces in th eir tu rn crossed th e frontiers and, on Septem ber 27, the e n try of th e Germ ans into W arsaw p u t an end to m ilitary operations proper. A very large p a rt of the Polish arm y was cap tu red by th e G erm an and Soviet forces ; furtherm ore, a considerable 116
num ber of men took refuge in neighbouring countries, where they were interned. The Soviet G overnm ent, not being a signatory to th e 1929 PW Convention, forw arded no inform ation on Polish PW in their hands. A pplications received b y th e Section regarding these men could therefore not be answered. L ater, it seemed possible for these PW to send messages to th eir relatives, b u t this exchange of news ap p aren tly ceased after th e spring of 1940. The German Official B ureau 1, u n til Feb ru ary 1940, sent in lists of Polish m em bers of th e forces tak en prisoner b y th e German Arm y, b u t a fter th a t d ate these com m unications ceased, and the only p articulars received b y th e Polish Section consisted of lists of PW who where in need, which cam p leaders were authorized to forward. It was not u n til 1943 th a t th e G erm an Official B ureau began once more to send the Agency lists of Polish PW , b u t these referred to officers only, as m ost ranks had m eanw hile been converted into civilian workers and given th a t statu s. F o rtÂ unately, the Polish Section was still able to un d ertak e enquiries from the OKW or the G erm an Red Cross in behalf of these PW and civilian workers. As regards Polish m em bers of th e forces who had tak en refuge in Septem ber 1939 in neighbouring countries 2, either individually or by whole units, the N ational Red Cross Societies furnished th e C entral Agency w ith nom inal lists. Moreover, these men, anxious ab o u t th eir relatives who had stayed in Poland, h ad since October sent th e Agency messages and letters from which valuable d a ta were collected on the w riters them selves. These were filed b y th e Section, who th en saw to the tran scrip tio n and forw arding of messages an d letters. This p articu lar work, which entailed too great a burden, was taken over in M arch 1940 b y th e Civilian Message Section.
1 A rm y In fo rm a tio n B u reau for C asualties an d P W of th e G erm an H igh C om m and, g en erally k now n as th e " O K W â€? . 2 E sth o n ia, H u n g a ry , L a tv ia , L ith u a n ia , R u m an ia , S lovakia, Sweden an d Y ugoslavia. 117
The internees did not as a rule sta y for long in the countries which had received th em ; the m ajo rity soon left in order to form new u n its in F rance and in G reat B ritain, which took up the fight once more against G erm any, alongside B ritish and F rench troops. As a result of the occupation, Poland was cut off from the rest of the world. Besides th e n a tu ra l wish to receive and to give news felt b y all those who had relatives or friends in th a t country, m uch a n x iety was aroused by the arrest of num bers of Polish citizens by the occupying authorities. In consequence, th e Polish Section received a flood of appliÂ cations, concerning for th e m ost p a rt Jew ish people. The Section responded by the despatch of messages, whenever exact addresses appeared on these applications. W hen these referred to persons dom iciled in the G erm an zone of occupation, the messages were tra n sm itte d th rough th e G erm an Red Cross. I t was soon considered th a t it would entail too great a danger to th e Jew ish addressees to send these messages, so th e practice was abandoned. R elations w ith th e R ussian zone were far more difficult, and there were, a t one tim e, ab o u t 100,000 applications aw aiting despatch for th is zone. *
D uring th e w inter of 1939-1940, a large proportion of the Poles interned in other countries had, as alread y m entioned, reached F rance, in order to fight th e G erm ans. These men, together w ith th e Poles who were living in F rance, form ed Polish units which, in May and Ju n e 1940, took p a rt in the engagem ents in F rance. The Poles c ap tu red during th is cam paign b y th e G erm an forces were considered as F rench PW , and th eir nam es were sent as such to the C entral Agency by the OKW . The nam es of Polish m em bers of th e forces who died and were buried in F rance were subsequently sent to th e Agency b y th e F rench M inistry for Ex-Servicem en. The place filled b y Polish units in th e b a ttle form ation of th e F rench arm ies decided the fate of th e m em bers of those units who escaped d e a th or captivity. Men who had fought 118
on the right wing of th e front took refuge in Sw itzerland, those on the left wing got over to E ngland, and those in th e arm y groups of the centre m ade th eir w ay tow ards th e South of France. The Swiss F ederal Com m issariat for In te rn m e n t and Accom m odation sent th e Agency lists of Polish internees in Sw itzer land. The case of these men, who rem ained in th a t co u n try until 1945, caused no difficulties to th e Polish Section. The men who succeeded in reaching G reat B ritain either formed new Polish units in th a t country, or were incorporated in B ritish units, m ainly in th e R.A .F . The Polish Section usually applied to th e Polish Red Cross in London for d a ta enabling it to reply to the m any applications for investigation and news concerning these men. The German A uthorities tre a te d m em bers of these u n its who fell into th eir hands as B ritish P W ; th eir nam es therefore appeared on th e lists of P W from countries of th e Common w ealth which were sent b y th e Germ an Official B ureau to the Agency. The case of these men was d ealt w ith join tly b y th e Polish and th e B ritish Sections ; applications and enquiries devolved on the Polish Section, whilst the B ritish Section tran sm itted all inform ation received concerning Poles enlisted in the forces of the Com m onwealth countries, to th e London Official B ureau, together w ith th e d a ta for B ritish PW . Some of th e Poles who had m ade th eir w ay to th e free zone in F rance, reached Algeria and Morocco b y crossing Spain secretly. Some of th em were arrested during th is jo urney b y th e Spanish authorities and in tern ed in th e cam p of M iranda de Ebro. In the South of F rance and N orth Africa, Polish soldiers who had retreated th ere were rounded up in labour cam ps ; the Section was in to u ch w ith th em thro u g h th e help of th e Polish Red Cross in F rance, which had m eanwhile become th e Society for Relief to Poles in F rance ( Groupement d ’aide aux Polonais en France). Many of these men however escaped and joined up w ith the Polish troops who were fighting w ith th e B ritish forces or the Free French Forces. This situation, which developed from th e B attle of F rance, brought in a flood of applications m ainly from th e Polish Red 119
Cross in W arsaw . Owing to the w andering of Polish soldiers ab o u t E urope, it was often a m ost difficult m a tte r to deal w ith these applications. *
The w ar which broke out in Ju n e 1941 betw een G erm any and th e Soviet Union had considerable reactions on the Polish Section. The U.S.S.R. becam e in fact from th a t d ate a Power allied w ith Poland. In these conditions, th e com m anderin-chief of the Polish Forces abroad was able to conclude two agreem ents, in J u ly and D ecem ber 1941, w ith th e Soviet G overnm ent, one regulating th e liberation of Polish PW and th eir next of kin in Russia, and th e other th e form ation in th a t co u n try of a Polish arm y. Subsequently, a great p a rt of th e troops in th is arm y left the U .S.S.R., accom panied b y th eir relatives, and were ordered to Teheran. They form ed units which were to reinforce the B ritish A rm y in the Middle E ast. F rom th en onw ards th ey shared th e lot of th e B ritish, Dom inion and Am erican troops. They fought a t T obruk, took p a rt in th e offensive of El Alamein, and, later, in th e landing in Ita ly , where th ey were responsible for a sector of the front u n til th e end of hostilities. Meanwhile th eir fam ilies had been sent, a few a t a time,, from T eheran to India, K enya, T anganyika, Rhodesia and Mexico. In 1944, th e Polish Red Cross a t N airobi sent com Â plete lists of these civilians to th e C entral Agency. The Polish Section acted as in term ed iary betw een th e troops and their relatives in th e transm ission of a very great num ber of messages. It also, a t th e request of relatives in Poland, opened num erous enquiries w ith th e Polish Red Cross in Teheran and Cairo concerning these men. The Polish Section was th u s able to deal w ith cases not only relating to PW an d civilian internees, like the other N ational Sections, b u t also w ith a very great num ber of cases concerning m em bers of the forces and free civilians who had been deported or displaced as a result of the war. W hereas in m ost of th e o th er N ational Sections alm ost all enquiries concerned PW or internees, m ade b y applicants 120
usually living in th eir ordinary place of domicile, in the Polish Section as m any applications for news cam e from civilians who had rem ained in Poland as from PW , from m em bers of th e forces on active service abroad and civilian refugees in m any countries. This com plicated the Sectionâ€™s task to an appreciable degree. The lack of a central official Inform ation B ureau greatly increased th e difficulties of Poles separated by th e w ar in tracing their relatives. *
In 1944 the R ussian offensive against the G erm an forces took on a far g reater extension. Polish troops, consisting of men who for various reasons had not left th e U .S.S.R. in 1941 with their com rades, took p a rt in th is offensive. These m en formed the nucleus of th e new Polish arm y which grew as th e national te rrito ry was liberated. At the end of Ju n e 1944, when R ussian forces arrived in the o utskirts of th e Polish capital, whose population a t th a t tim e num bered 1,300,000, th e W arsaw rising broke out, one of the most tragic episodes of th e war. A fter desperate fighting between Poles and Germans, th e insurgents were forced to capitulate in October 1944. A considerable p a rt of th e populaÂ tion was killed during these events, and some 20,000 m em bers of the Polish underground arm y, including num erous women com batants, were tak en prisoner. The O K W did not tra n sm it the nam es of these PW to the Central Agency, b u t in m any cases cam p leaders supplied lists. Moreover, prisoners them selves w rote to the Agency to to report them selves an d to ask th a t next of kin should be informed, or search m ade for th em ; in most instances, too, th ey asked for relief. Meanwhile, the G erm an occupying forces had evacuated the rem ainder of th e civil population from W arsaw , now entirely destroyed. The in h ab ita n ts were gradually reassem bled in Pruszkow (W arsaw district), whence the able-bodied were sent to G erm any to work, whilst others, such as children and old people were scattered throughout Poland. These displace121
placem ents of the population caused a great influx of applications for news from relatives and friends. Those concerned also sent th e Central Agency a g reat num ber of requests from G erm any for relief supplies. On th e basis of these requests th e Polish Section drew up lists and passed th em on to th e D elegation of th e Polish Red Cross in Geneva, who was th u s enabled to send foodstuffs thro u g h th e interm ed iary of th e Relief D ep artm en t of the ICRC. In th e au tu m of 1944, postal com m unications w ith Poland were suspended and the Agency sent messages intended for th a t co u n try th ro u g h th e interm ed iary of the Union of Polish P a trio ts in Teheran. In 1945, the Central Com m ittee of th e Polish Red Cross was definitely reorganized in W arsaw , whilst th e Polish Red Cross in London ceased to bear th is title 1. As th e extensive d a ta in th e possession of the Polish Red Cross in London, including th e largest existing card-index on Poles abroad, had not been sent to W arsaw, where th e Red Cross files had been com pletely destroyed during the rising, th e Polish Red Cross in W arsaw found itself unable to reply to m any applications. A pplicants therefore tu rn e d to th e C entral Agency, which served to prolong th e w ork of the Polish Section. The Agency, which had copies of th e docum ents it had forw arded to th e R ed Cross in W arsaw and of the original docu m ents it had received from them , had copies m ade of these papers for th a t organization, th u s helping it to once more build up its records. *
The ending of hostilities did not, for m any reasons, p u t a stop to th e work of th e Polish Section. F or one thing, a num ber of Poles were unable to re tu rn hom e, owing to various causes ; this applied to p a rt of th e ex-prisoners an d deportees in Ger m any, to a large num ber of m em bers of Polish u n its who had fought w ith th e Allied forces, and to civilian refugees in various 1 T his S o ciety la te r to o k th e n am e of “ R elief S o ciety for Poles ” . T he Cairo b ran c h , how ever, co n tin u ed u n d e r th e nam e of th e P olish R ed Cross. 122
countries. In the second place, th e break-dow n of postal com m unications betw een certain countries, which continued long after the war, resulted in the large num ber of Poles in those countries being com pletely cut off, and th e Central Agency alone was able to help them . I t was, therefore, again to th e Agency th a t these people applied, in order to resum e or sim ply m ainÂ tain contact w ith th e ir relatives. In th e th ird place, th e fact of captiv ity in Allied hands or th a t th e m ajo rity of Poles recruited by force to th e Germ an a rm y were missing since th e fighting, caused a considerable flow of applications to reach th e Agency after th e end of th e w ar 1. F u rth erm o re, th e Polish Section was called upon to draw up num erous certificates of c a p tiv ity and to un d ertak e steps to secure d e a th certificates. F inally, it still received a large num ber of applications concerning th e disappearance of prisoners an d deportees whose fate, it m ust be feared, will never be known 2. The m axim um num ber of staff em ployed in th e Section was twenty-five. 1 Some of th ese m en d eserted to jo in th e A llied forces, an d as rela tiv e s were in m o st u n aw a re of th is, se arch w as e x tre m e ly difficult. 2 T he P o lish S ection w as fre q u e n tly ask ed to u n d e rta k e enq u iries concerning m issing m em bers of th e a rm y fig h tin g w ith th e S oviet forces ; as th e re w as no m ean s of ta k in g ac tio n in th is m a tte r, such req u ests w ere sim p ly forw ard ed to th e P o lish R ed Cross in W arsaw .
Madonna under the fir tree Tempera on wood, 71 x 51 cm, 1508
Previous page: Georg Kupke signature
Painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1508. Cranach the Elder (Kronach 1472, Weimar 1553) is one of the most important German painters of the Renaissance. This painting is among the last works Cranach did for a catholic commissioning organisation. He converted to Lutheranism and executed several portaits of Luther
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in 1945
himself, like the painting hosted by the WrocĹ‚aw City Museum. The Madonna has been executed in Wittenberg for the cathedral of Vretslav. During the World War II the painting was moved to the HenrykĂłw monastery and then to Klodzko. Sigfried Zimmer was a German chaplain of the Cathedral at that time. When the painting returned to Breslau in 1946 it was cracked and damaged in a corner. Some reported that it has been intentionally wrecked by a soviet soldier.
Zimmer asked the German painter Georg Kupke (19261998) to help him to create a display copy of the painting to be shown in the Cathedral while the original painting was restored. Some sources maintain that Zimmer was a painter himself. Furthermore, he was Kupkesâ€™s master and he did collaborate with him to the forgery. The copy is slightly smaller than the original. The figures were probably made by Kupke and the landscape by Zimmer who omitted many details and recreated some of the elements carelessly.
Kupke claimed to have made a perfect copy of the painting. Some observers said the Madonna squints a bit in his replica. In 1947 German inhabitants of what then became WrocĹ‚aw were expelled and forced to leave. Zimmer took the original painting to Berlin and then to West Germany to save it from the communists. He carried the painting through the Polish border and the Soviet occupation zone in Germany wrapped in an oilcloth on which he put an old thermos and a cup of coffee. He also took some gold coins with him which were supposed to
Cover of Biuletyn historii sztuki n. 4 xxvii 1965 containing the article by Daniela Stankiewicz that revealed Zimmerâ€™s forgery.
be a bait for custom officers. According to the plan, the coins were confiscated and the painting remained unnoticed. He left the display copy in WrocĹ‚aw, in the chapel of St.Â John the Evangelist in the Cathedral. It was only in 1961 that curator Daniela Stankiewicz pointed it out as a fake. During the sixties and the seventies, the painting appeared several times in the art market, it has been offered to Museums in Berlin and Munich. Apparently Zimmer sold the painting to the art dealer Franz Waldner in the sixties. In 1971
the Swiss art expert Dieter Kรถpplin examined the painting in Basel on behalf of the German collector Heinz Kisters. His foundation (Heinz Kisters Stiftung) is based in Kreuzlingen near St. Gallen, Switzerland. It is said that Zimmer had the painting hanged in his living room at his house in Bavaria. Zimmer died in 1979 but the Madonna was not found in his propriety. Instead some archaeological Egyptian pieces, a mummy and a coin collection were found. Heinz Kisters served in the German army during World War II as a radio expert.
After the war he established a successful radio business that allowed him to start an art collection. We don’t know where he did serve during the conflict. Throughout the war, the Henryków monastery was used by the German army as a factory. In 2012 the painting was returned by Swiss officials to the Wrocław Cathedral, the painting was located in St. Gallen but the donors are anonymous.
Several paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder are listed in an interesting book published in Breslau around 1940. It is a big luxury edition made of a coffer containing a cloth bound book and a series of five-hundred-twenty-one plates. The cover shows an eagle grasping a wreath of oak leaves surrounding a swastika: the reichsadler was the symbol of the Third Reich. Below, the title reads Sichergestellte Kunstwerke im Generalgouvernement. This list of â€œartworks seized by the General Governmentâ€? is rather intriguing. It is
of course an essential source of information about the Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian cultural heritage that was looted and disappeared. All museums, institutions and private collections of provenance are listed. It is used as a proof in return applications as well. Moreover, this plain list with short descriptions tells us a lot about the cultural strategy of Nazism. There is an order. The first one is about the categories it uses: malerei, bildnerei, kunst handwerk, waffen, mĂźnzen und medaillen. There is a hierarchy: painting, sculpture, handicraft and medals. It comes from academy and it must not be changed. Not surprisingly, it comes from the ideology that
rejected avantgarde. Neither is it surprising how the category “arms” is added before “coins”.
Reading the painting’s lists gives us another insight. The malerei section begins with German painters, then Dutch, Italian, French and Spanish. There is no record of Polish painting. The Nazi regime didn’t consider it worth to enter the Fürhermuseum that was planned to be built in Linz, Hitler’s hometown. But if we get a closer look to the lists, especially in the sculpture section, every piece from the 14th and 15th century is attributed to anonymous Ostdeutscher meister. Who are these East German masters?
Adjectives like German, Polish, Ukrainian or Czech are meaningless applied to medieval ages, especially in multicultural regions like Upper Silesia, Lesser Poland or Galicia. If we want to keep it politically correct, we can call it a matter of historiographical points of view. One could also say that this is a form of colonisation of the past by nation states. The territories occupied by Nazi Germany had to be German, even their past. This is how anonymous artists that worked in Central Europe were nothing but German. Even if they spoke a language in-between modern Czech and Polish or they were born in present-day Belgium. The list, by its scientific, clinical appearance, conveys
a strong message, a trustworthy one. Its elements are separated, there is no articulation between them, there cannot be any junctions. Through the division and isolation of the elements, the classifier is able to better control his subjects.
He knows every object, its specifications, its story. It can identify them and then arrogate them. The list is made after the seizure exactly because the nazi looted the items. But on the other hand, it was used as a tool to ensure the ownership of the items â€” not anymore looted â€” that were listed in an official document marked with their emblems. There is another book which contains a list of objects that was published after a major looting. The Book
of HenrykĂłw takes his name from the abbey that hosted the Cranach painting during the Second World War. It has been compiled between the end of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century after the Mongol invasion of eastern Europe of 1241. It lists all the possessions of a Lower Silesian local lord. It is nothing really special from a literary point of view. The fortune of the book is quite incidental since it is famous as the first document attesting the Polish language. A national treasure. But if we have a look around this famous sentence, weâ€™ll notice that the book was written in the international language of the time, Latin, its author was a German speaker monk and the sentence in old Polish is pronounced by a Czech
speaking man to his Polish speaking wife. Thatâ€™s how all categories fall apart.
Calm sea by a rocky shore Oil on canvas, 48 x 73 cm, 1690-1701 circa
Previous page: Pieter Mulier II, Sailing ships in a breeze, oil on canvas, 26 x 53,5 cm, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover
Pieter Mulier II (Haarlem 1632, Milan 1701) was a Dutch painter well known for his marina paintings and his adventurous life. He trained in painting at his fatherâ€™s workshop in Haarlem and then in Antwerp. Around 1656 Mulier moved to Rome where he got his nickname Pietro Tempesta: he became popular for his compositions replete with gigantic waves embracing ships, his treatment of cloudy
suffocating skies and deep lapis lazuli seas. It is told that this obsessional repetition of unresting seas is due to his troubled temperament.
He enrolled in the Dutch painters Guild in Rome, where he is recorded as Tempeest. It is probably at the Guild that he met his mentor, Cornelius De Waeil. This experienced Dutch painter moved from Genoa to Rome and introduced Mulier to a finer description of storming marinas. In Rome, he worked under the protection of the Duke of Bracciano who introduced him to several other noble families.
Indeed, he worked for Cardinal Gilberto Borromeo, Aloisio Omodei and for the Doria Pamphilj family. Around 1659 the Duke of Bracciano gave him the title of Cavalier. Prince Colonna hired him to realise a series of magnificent frescoes which are still visible at Palazzo Colonna. Because of the vacant place De Waeil left, in 1668 Pietro Tempesta decided to move to Genoa. Financial matters aside, he probably left Rome because of his tremendous jealousy toward his wife Lucia Rossi. Indeed, he suffered of several
nervous breakdowns during his stay in Rome. â€œMarriages made exclusively out of love often give birth to shadows, suspect; as soon as he married her, he became jealous. From time to time suspects became unripe bitternesses. Jealousy became unease.â€? In order to fight his resentment he first moved to the San Giacomo monastery in the Carignano neighbourhood, then he moved to the city centre and got closer to some noble families in Genoa such as the Dorias and the Brignole Sales. It is probably in a gathering organised by the writer Anton
Giulio Brignole Sale that Pietro Tempesta met Anna Eleonora Beltrami, a noble woman from Turin repudiated by her husband. The two heartsick beings fell inevitably in love. Notwithstanding his new feelings, some time after he established himself, he decided to bring his wife Lucia with him to Genoa. Lucia had several affairs with other men and â€” besides their children â€” she gave life to three other infants from relations out of wedlock. When Pietro Tempesta became aware that his wife was bringing to Genoa three additional mouths to feed, he
hired two hitmen: Angelo Luigi di Valle Rustica, a mercenary from Corsica, and Massimiliano Capurro, a youngster from Genoa.
The two killers reached Lucia in Rome and convinced her to come to Genoa. She reluctantly followed them but at Sarzana, near Massa Carrara, they executed her. The three illegitimate childrenâ€™s fate remains unknown. On the 13th of January 1676, Pietro Tempesta has been arrested as the instigator of the assassination. After a trial, he got a twenty years sentence in 1679. In that same
year Tempesta married Anna Eleonora Beltrami. The Cavalier Pietro Tempesta is one of the most famous guests of the prisons of Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. He was provided with a luminous studio up in the tower, with an outstanding view on the Mediterranean Sea. During his sixteen years of imprisonment he produced the most mature, equilibrated and lavish paintings of his prolific career. Calm sea by a rocky shore was probably painted during this period. As the title indicates, Mulierâ€™s beloved subject, the sea, is here calm. It is an
exceptional painting from a person with such a stormy tone. Albeit we don’t dispose of any of Mulier’s writings it is fascinating how, through the evolution of his paintings, we can trace a parallel path of his temperament from energetic and impulsive to serene. 122
Tempesta died in Milan few years after he was released. Regarding to Tempesta’s life, it is unclear how the painting reached the collection of Albrecht Sebisch (1685-1748), a Breßlau-based patrician. Ernst Wilhelm Hubrig, the heir to Sebisch’s fortune, donated the collection to the city of
Breßlau in 1767. Since 1880, the collection was on display at the Schlesisches Museum der bildenden Künste (Silesian Museum of Fine Arts). In 1942 works of art started to be transported to previously designated depots in Silesia. This preemptive action plan was led by the Lower Silesia conservator Prof. Günther Grundmann. The preserved archival records show that the Tempesta’s canvas was moved to the artworks repository hosted at Kamieniec Ząbkowicki castle. On the 4th of February 1946, pastor Schultheiss, guardian of the repository, discovered that the
warehouse had been the victim of a burglary, during which more than 100 paintings went missing.
The Soviet Red Army took control of the castle in 1945, it is told that they set on fire the castle in 1946. Several paintings were unaccounted for when the Polish team from the National Museum recollected the works of art. In March 2015 Tempestaâ€™s painting resurfaced among a series of works by his artistic circle, in an auction planned for the 1st of April in Milan. Italian tax authorities in collaboration with the Polish Institute in
Rome collaborated to bring it back to WrocĹ‚aw, where it now rests in the National Museumâ€™s warehouse.
Chazzan David gravestone Gravestone, 1203
Rabbi David was a chazzan, a cantor who sang the prayers at the synagogue. In 1346 the Jewish cemetery where he was resting was demolished under the order of John of Bohemia, who then ruled Silesia. The stones were used as construction material. In 1917, some renovation works were carried out at the cathedral of Breslau: while installing a heating boiler the workers found the gravestone.
Angels stalls Wooden sculptures, variable dimensions, 1672-91
Previous page: A lion imposing himself onto another one, detail of the wooden stalls
Sculptures made by the Austrian artist Matthias Steinl (Salzburg 1644, Wien 1727) for the choir of the basilica of the Lubiąż abbey. This Cisternian monastery was founded by prince Bolesław Wysoki on the 16th of August 1163. The monastery grew quickly and the monks were able to open branches in Henryków, Kamieniec Ząbkowicki and Mogiła near Kraków.
The monastery had alternate periods of wealth and decadence, but it is today known for its opulent baroque aspect. During the conflict the stalls were moved first to Lubomierz and then dismantled and got scattered in different places in Poland. Some parts went to Rogalin, and the most important figurative pieces were moved to a depot in the capital named WarszawaÂ 4. After the war, the pieces went from Rogalin to the National Museum in PoznaĹ„, some other parts ended up to the National Museum in WrocĹ‚aw. In 1952
Helipad in the 1:250 renovation model of the Lubiąż abbey, 2002.
the pieces rescued in Warsaw were sent to Stężyca near Lublin to decorate the altar of St. Martin church. The pieces were rearranged by local craftmen. In 1970 the National Museum in Wrocław organised an exhibition of Baroque Silesian Sculpture (Śląska rzeźba barokowa 1650—1770). On this occasion the National Museum in Poznań lent 92 fragments from the Stalle anielskie. Two sculptures from Stężyca were borrowed for the exhibition and they are still in permanent deposit at the Museum.
In 1997, the post-Cistercian complex in Lubiąż was visited by Michael Jackson. Rumour has it that his helicopter tour and stop-off was to see if he could buy the Abbey. Well, his offer was rejected.
However, the visit was meant to be kept a secret, but the whole village turned out to greet the King of Pop! Given the traditional Polish welcome of bread and salt, Michael Jackson was in Lubiąż monastery for only 20 minutes. It is reported that he was astounded by its lavish interiors.
On the 23rd of September 1936 Adolf Hitler inaugurated the first 1â€‰000 kilometres of the Reichsautobahn near Breslau. The extensive highways project for the Third Reich was well implemented in the Nazi propaganda: some pictures of the celebration show a grand effort to build a decor for the parade. Hundreds of flags and men stand along the road while the fĂźhrerâ€™s car passes by. Both lanes are used: the right one for the parade and its parallel for the cinema trucks filming it. The Reichsautobahn was presented as a colossal collective work, like the Pyramids. The project
would reduce unemployment, bring modernity and beauty. Indeed, several workers were temporarily affected by the construction sites. Probably because he got bored during his road trip from Berlin to Hamburg, Harun Farocki said that beyond its construction, the Reichsautobahn eventually reduced unemployment by physically occupying the spare time of jobless Germans making them drive between cities. The Reichsautobahn was the masterpiece of German engineering. Fritz Todt was in charge of its building. Alongside with the Atlantic Wall he built with his eponym Organisation during World War II, it is perhaps the sole Nazi construction that applied contemporary construction
techniques and a modernist design.
Highways are straight, we can read their structure, decoration is avoided. Several postcards show them right after their completion: empty, clean, aseptic. Itâ€™s almost a shame to ruin them by driving on it. Beauty was a primary criterion for their construction. In 1933 Fritz Todt hired the landscape architecture Alwin Seifert to design the tracks. Driving had to be an aesthetic experience, the highway had to merge with the scenery and its view had to be pleasant. The pursuit of the perfect dromoscopy will push Seifert to divert the track of the highway to pass on high peaks in order to appreciate the landscape or to
Reichsautobahn plan from 1940 Polske drรณg samochodowych plan from 1939
get closer to monuments and allow their visit. This is the case of the Anneberg Thingplatz, in the current village of Góra Świętej Anny, where a monument dedicated to the Freikorps who died during the 1921 Silesian Uprising was built in 1938. The denkmal was leveled in 1945 and it was substituted by a Czynu Powstańczego (Monument to the Insurrection). The Thingplatz’s amphitheatre is still in place. Nevertheless, most of the time Reichsautobahn are upright. Some rest areas and most exit ramps were made of cobblestone, while the main tracks were surfaced with joint concrete slabs. This is a cheap technique which uses large concrete blocks of twelve or fourteen metres one after another. It allows
minimal cracking on the surface without using any oil by-product like asphalt. Concrete slabs are not the most comfortable surface to drive on: they create the rhythmic sounds we were used to listen to while driving on old highways. The most annoying musical road.
At the same time when the Third Reich was developing its highways project, in Poland the outlook of a similar network was conceived. Because of the war and the subsequent shift in borders, these plans had to be changed in a radical way. Nevertheless, through the new western territories Poland acquired a part of what will become its motorways network: an infrastructure of German quality.
Panorama RacĹ‚awicka Cycloramic painting, oil on canvas 150 x 1140 cm, 1893
Previous page: Tadeusz KoĹ›ciuszko, fortifications plan for Saratoga
Painted by Jan Styka (Lwów 1858, Roma 1925), Wojciech Kossak (Paris 1856, Kraków 1942) and others in Lwów. 185
The panorama depicts the famous battle of Racławice, which was fought between the Polish insurgents led by Tadeusz Kościuszko and the Russian army in 1794. The authors wanted to celebrate the centenary of the battle which is considered as a landmark in Polish history.
The battle was the major event in the KoĹ›ciuszko uprising and it was an unexpected success for the Poles. Nevertheless, the war went on and the Russian Imperial Army defeated the insurgents. Its failure marked the definitive partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between Prussia, Russia and the AustroHungarian Empire in 1795. In spite of this tragic event for the Polish people, the battle of RacĹ‚awice and its hero are considered as a positive memory. Tadeusz KoĹ›ciuszko is indeed an interesting figure. In 1768,
when the civil war broke out in the Commonwealth, he decided to flee the country. He established himself in Paris where he sought to continue his military studies but, being an immigrant, he was not able to enlist. He then enrolled in the Art Academy. His Parisian education influenced his sympathies towards the Enlightenment theories. In 1776 he sailed to North America to join the American Revolution where he served during seven years. In 1784 he returned to Poland where the political atmosphere was quite unstable. He defended
The rotunda in Lviv in the 1920s.
progressive and anticlerical ideas such as improving the conditions of peasants and Jews and the abolition of the monarchy. Shortly after, he became the leader of the Polish uprising depicted by Styka. To host the gigantic painting, the architect Ludwik BaldwinRamuĹ‚t designed a rotunda which is still visible in the Stryiskyi park in Lviv. The building went under a strong renovation in the Soviet era and is now a sport centre. The Panorama was one of the main attraction of the Universal
The construction of the new building in WrocĹ‚aw
Polish Exhibition held in Lwów in 1894. After World War II Lviv was assigned to USSR and Poles had to leave the territory, most of them went to the “recovered territories” in the west. Polish officials managed to arrange for Polish artworks to be sent to Wrocław: the Panorama Racławicka amongst them, together with part of the Ossolineum collection. Even if it is attested that the Panorama arrived in Wrocław in 1946, new communist authorities linked with the Soviet Union weren’t fond to show it to a public audience.
The painting was stored for almost forty years in the gymnasium of the primary school n. 74. Small parts of the Panorama were exhibited at the National Museums in WrocĹ‚aw and Warsaw until the new building designed to host it was finished in 1986. As it is said on the front door of the new building, since its opening the Panorama has been visited by almost 9 million people. It is then one of the most important tourist attractions in the city.
The Panorama RacĹ‚awicka is a circle. Its building was designed to give the visitors an ideal viewing position, namely, having them surrounded by the painting. Through this immersive set-up, one could imagine to be on the top of a hill with a clear sight over all directions. This kind of position was really important for KoĹ›ciuszko. Indeed, he based his military career on the observation of the orography of the battlefield and often took advantage from it. We notice his sensibility in these elevated observation points within his sketches and battle plans.
More than observation points, such strategic positions were used to place heavy artillery: they were often the key element of a battle. The heights allow domination, they are where the generals settle to direct the battle which takes place down in the valleys, where unprivileged soldiers struggle in the melee. 212
One could then imagine that the visit of Panorama RacĹ‚awicka delivers a comparable dominant position. It is not the case. Everything is arranged: the time of the visit, its duration, the number of participants, the meaning of it. At the programmed time, visitors enter the rotunda and are asked to be silent. A voice coming from nowhere occupies the thirty minutes that are planned. It points at
things to look at, it explains their implications, their historical context and the lesson we can learn from it. Then the voice keeps quiet and visitors are kindly invited to exit.
Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces. This situation is highly dangerous for the encircled group: at the strategic level, because it cannot receive supplies or reinforcements, and on the tactical level, because the units in the group can be subject to an attack from several sides. Lastly, since the group cannot retreat, unless it is relieved or can break out, it must either fight to the death or surrender. This is how an architectural structure that could simu-
late a dominant position and give you the possibility of acknowledge a situation turns in a control device. People can feel to be at the centre of History but they are not able to have a critical look at it. They were encircled by the story they are told.
The ticket for the Panorama RacĹ‚awicka focuses on the heroic figure of KoĹ›ciuszko leading the Poles in the moment of their victory. His past and future of exiled are not contemplated.
Pan Tadeusz manuscript Paper booklet, leather binding, ebony and ivory case.
Sign indicating the Adam Mickiewicz MĂźzesi in Instanbul
Portrait of Adam Mickiewicz by Julian Mackiewicz, around 1853. Born in what is today Lithuania, Mickiewicz lived all his life in a period of time when Poland did not exist as a proper State.
Pan Tadeusz is considered as one of the most important Polish literary works. Adam Mickiewicz (1798 Zaosie, 1855 Istanbul) published it for the first time in 1834 during his exile in Paris. It is a compulsory reading in Polish schools. Despite the fact that it begins with an invocation to the poetâ€™s homeland Lithuania, it if often described as a political manifesto for the modern Polish nation.
Mickiewicz kept the original manuscript in Paris, although he had to sell it twice in his lifetime to friends due to financial problems. At his death in 1855, his son Władyslaw proposed it to Jerzy Lubomirski who was in charge of the Ossilineum, but it was finally acquired by Stanisław Tarnowski, a literature historian from Kraków, in 1871. The Tarnowski family kept it in the ebony case especially made for it until 1939 when they handed it to the Ossolineum in Lwów to preserve it from any war disaster. Notwithstanding, the Ossolineum has been first
The monument to Adam Mickiewicz erected in Lwรณw in 1909 is still in place today.
nationalised by the Soviet government and then looted by the nazi occupiers. It is not clear how the manuscript arrived in Zagrodno in Lower Silesia where it was found after the World War II. From there it was transferred to the Ossolineum now established in WrocĹ‚aw. On the 21st of July 1945, the WrocĹ‚aw City Opera reopened after the war: its first show was a recital of Pan Tadeusz.
Anonymous, List of losses of the Polish army. Fallen and dead in 1918-1930 wars, Wojskowe biuro historyczne, Warsaw, 1934
Bohdan WasiutyĹ„ski, The Jewish population in Poland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. statistics study, PaĹ‚ac staszica, Warsaw, 1930
ERRATA Page 14, line 1. This line should be indented and start a new paragraph. Page 112, line 5. For “ under-nourishment ” read “ undernourishment Page 165, line 3. For “ below ” read “ below 1 Page 168, line 6 from bottom. For “ sentto ” read " sent to ” . Page 221, sub-title. For “ Parcels to ” read “ Parcels for Page 237, sub-title “ Setting up... ” . Delete both brackets. Page 252, line 3. For " mobilise das ” read “ mobilised as ” . Page 348, line 11 from below. For " five kilo ” read “ five-kilo ” , Page 469, line 10 from below. For “ co tinue ” read “ continue
Monument to General Tauentzien Stone funerary monument with bronze reliefs, 1795
Previous page: Engraving of the Tauentzien grabdenkmal
Friedrich Bogislav von Tauentzien (Tauentzien 1710, Breßlau 1791) was a Prussian general who distinguished himself during the Seven Years’ War. Originating from a family of officers from Farther Pomerania, his military career was paired with the conquests of King Friedrich I that took Silesia from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1741. Nevertheless this wasn’t a definitive conquest
until 1763, when at the end of the Seven Yearsâ€™ War Silesia was definitely assigned to Prussia. Tauentzien advanced in the military hierarchy and became Lieutenant-General. Then he was assigned to the defence of BreĂ&#x;lau during its siege in 1760. This first festung when Prussian forces defended the city from the Imperial Austrian army did have a different end from the 1945 one. Tauentzienâ€™s forces defended the city at the Schweidnitzer Tor. During the battle the General narrowly escaped a cannonball. He silently covered it with his hat and expressed the desire to be
buried where it had come to rest.
Indeed, after his death in 1791 his family wanted to build a cenotaph in that very place. It is then through a private initiative that the architect Carl Gotthard Langhans and the sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow conceived the funerary monument meant to recall some heroic moments of the Generalâ€™s life. Langhans had just achieved his most important work, the Brandeburger Tor in Berlin that Friedrich Wilhem II wanted to build to represent peace. The gate was then named Friedenstor and on the top of
it the ancient Greek goddess of peace, Eirene, was placed driving a chariot drawn by four horses. This quadriga on the top of the gate was designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow. The statue was looted by the French after the Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena and brought to Paris in 1806. It was then restored in Berlin in 1814 and it went through a renovation lead by Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The goddess was equipped with the Prussian eagle, an Iron Cross on her lance with a wreath of oak leaves: from Eirene it became Victoria. The Tauentzien grabdenkmal was finished in 1795. At that
Photograph of the Tauentzien Platz in the 1930s.
time the monument was outside the city walls, it is just after 1807, when JĂŠrĂ´me Bonaparte wanted to demolish the fortifications, that a square was built around it. It then took on the name of the Prussian General. In 1945, the square changed its name in Plac Tadeusza KoĹ›ciuszki: a Polish military hero took the place of a German one. Polish authorities went forward: they decided to remove and destroy the cenotaph and replace it with a monument to the Polish soldiers fallen during the war. Nevertheless, as the Tauentzien denkmal was the actual tomb of
the general, they were obliged to keep its sepulture in place. In fact, under the round stone of the new monument, traces of the ancient pedestal show where the Prussian general is still resting.
On 2001, the Polish Division for Looted Art added as number 5780 of its list of Wartime Losses two reliefs by Johann Gottfried Schadow decorating the lower part of the funerary monument. These items are listed as unverified.
Next page: Photograph of the Plac Tadeusza KoĹ›ciuszki in the 1960s.
The objects in this book belong today to the museum’s realm. Some of them never wanted to enter a museum, most of them didn’t know what a museum is just because the time and place they come from did not know such things. In different manners, they all are symbols that weren’t suppose to get separated from everyday life. Anyway, after their long peregrinations, if they didn’t get lost, they ended up in a museum. A museum in Wrocław. Not far from Plac Tadeusza Kościuszki there is another square — Plac Muzeal-
“It is clear that works like this, with their particularly rich ornament motives, wouldn’t be without influence on the subsequent developments. It shows anew that Breslau’s art was at that time permeated by the most different foreign influences.” Friedmir Graf, Die Steinepitaphien der Renaissance in Breslau, Halle, 1912.
ny — where the Schlesisches Museum der bildenden Künste (Silesian Museum of Fine Arts) was built. Its construction ended in 1880: it was a rather austere neoclassical building similar to many other museums built in Prussia at the time. In spite of the widespread destruction that affected the city because of the siege of 1945, the building was standing with minor damages after the war. And it stood there for a long time until it was levelled at the end of the sixties to make room for a school. The museum disappeared but the square’s name stayed unchanged. This makes Wrocław probably the only city where there is no museum in Museum Square.
In 2016, for her seventieth birthday, Wrocław received a special present: she became European Capital of Culture. Since she was still dealing with some old things that she found and was not sure how to value them, she asked me to have a look at them and see if they where a worthy cultural capital to show off. I looked at the objects, I listened to her stories, I followed their paths in the region and beyond. Because she did not really take care of these objects, she is always blurry when she talks about them. You never listen to facts, it is always a matter of “it appears that”, of “I heard...” or “it is told”.
So you need to ask questions, to look closer. You never know if you are annoying her asking about a remote object that nobody cares about. Or if it is simply because she does not remember about it. Secondary things.
In the end who could remember what statue was substituted by the current one in Rynek Square? Does it matter if it was a king, a poet, a warrior, a singer or an unknown soldier? Does it matter what nation was he representing? It is always this kind of people anyway: egocentric rich men that think they make History. Only men like them believe it and keep on putting statues in the public space. Even in the twenty-first century, even if it is the most ridiculous sculpture in the world. Itâ€™s ab-
The Kaiser Wilhem Denkmal was demolished after 1945. At the very same emplacement a statue of King BolesĹ‚aw I the Brave was built. On its pedestal there is a map of Europe which was already outdated on the date of its inauguration in 2007.
surd like a Republic building a statue of a King on his horse. Anyway, you keep asking. Memories seem fabricated: they sound like polite answers to insolent questions. It must be because I am her guest and she wants me to say that my stay was great and everybody should pay her a visit. But it is frustrating to listen to the answers I was expecting, the memories I already read about in History manuals, the official ones. Memories are rare: most of the time what I got was a repeated “I do not recall that” that smelled like omertà. She never looked outraged by my inquires, just indifferent.
Then, frustrated, you look for an other kind of testimony: places, pictures, documents. Traces. I followed the paths, that the objects took, I visited the places where we know they were deposited. I looked for remains. It is quite rare to see traces. Either the time or some human activity erased them. Because life goes on and she had to use those spaces, it was just impossible to keep them as an evidence of what happened. And even if she had the possibility to keep those traces I am not sure she wanted to. For what purpose? What exactly is there to be remembered? Should she remember of a past that did not concern her? Now that she has moved in her new place, does that past really not concern her? Can this be just wiped off? Or
perhaps she should just pick the valuable things and put them on display? Then I dug among pictures and documents. With pictures, you always play the same game: looking for the differences. Spotting those few elements that are still in place and trying to restore the image in the contemporary space. “Oh, it was so different!” “I wonder why they pulled down that building”. But showing pictures of a past that does not belong to you seldom goes further than this amused curiosity. If it does, it is because of the fascination for old, picturesque buildings? Or perhaps because those times came before her juvenile mistakes and make her think that another life was possible?
Previous page: The Zimpel neighbourhood in Breslau was created between 1919 and 1935: its distinctive eagle shape is solely visible from an aerial point of view. Today the area is know under the name of SÄ™polno.
Anyway the pictures are too disconnected from the present to be effective. They don’t convey memories, they inspire their manufacturing. Then you have documents. The most reliable and — being an upper class monopoly — the most serious sources. But when you show them, she is not able to read them. They don’t make sense to her. They are exotic hieroglyphs produced by a mute civilisation. They are mute. She’s even not convinced that they refer to her place. “If you say so”. When I show her evidence, she never looks interested. Again, you ask yourself if it is because what you are showing bothers her of if she doesn’t care. In any case you feel intrusive, impertinent.
Sources Anonymous, Breslau. Lage, Natur und entwickelung, C. T. Wiskott, Breslau, 1901, p 5, 6, 10, 11, 19 Anonymous, Kościuszko, Biografia z dokumentów wysnuta, Muzeum Narodowego w Rapperswylu, Kraków, 1894, p. 217 Anonymous, Sichergestellte Kunstwerke im Generalgouvernement, Breslau, 1941, pp. 85-86, 88-91, 92-95, 96-99, 101, 103, 105, 107 Anonymous, Lista strat wojska polskiego. Polegli i zmarli w wojnach 1918-1930, Wojskowe biuro historyczne, Warszawa, 1934, p. 239-240 Anonymous, The mass extermination of Jews in German occupied Poland. Note addressed to the Governments of the United Nations on December 10th, 1942, and other documents, Republic of Poland, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hutchinson & co., London, New York, Melbourne, 1942, p. 247-248 Biuletyn historii sztuki, n. 4, XXVII, Warsaw, 1965, p. 78 Carl Adolf Menzel, Topographische Chronik von Breslau, Grass und Barth, Breslau, 1805, p 12, 17 Colmar Grünhagen, Breslau unter den Piasten als Deutsches Gemeinwesen, Josef Max, Breslau, 1861, p. 32 Erich Wiese, Schlesische plastik. Von beginn des xiv. bis zur mitte des xv. jahrhunderts, Klinkhardt & Biermann, Leipzig, 1923 p. 47-48, 51 Anonymous, Sammlung von Quellenschriften zur Geschichte Schlesiens, Breslau, Josef Max verlag, 1847, p. 262, 300 International Committee Of The Red Cross, Report Of The International Committee Of The Red Cross On Its Activities During The Second World War September 1 1939 June 30 1947, Geneva, 1948, pp. 60-67, 247 Lione Pascoli, Vite de’ pittori, scultori, ed architetti moderni, Antonio de’ Rossi, Roma, 1730, pp. 127-134
Tadeusz Korzon, Kim i czem był Kościuszko, Gebethner i Wolff, Warszawa, Kraków, 1907, pp. 183, 186-189, 183, 186 Henry Smith Williams, The Historians’ History of the World, vol. XXIV — Poland, the Balkans, Turkey, Minor Eastern States, China, Japan, Outlook Company / History Association, New York / London, 1904, pp. 201-209, p. 237 Anita J. Prażmowska, A History of Poland, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004 Monica M. Gardner, Kościuszko, a biography, George Allen / Charles Scribner’s Son, London / New York, 1920, p. 196 Bohdan Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX. Studjum statystyczne, Pałac staszica, Warszawa, 1930, p. 243-244 302
Norman Davies, Roger Moorhouse, Microcosmos, Portrait of a central European city, Pimlico, London, 2003 Norman Davies, Heart of Europe. A short History of Poland, Oxford University press, Oxford / New York, 1984, pp. 248-254 Friedmir Graf, Die Steinepitaphien der Renaissance in Breslau, Königlichen vereinigten Friedrichs-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, 1912, p. 274 Samuel Astley Dunham, The History of Poland, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, London, 1831, p. 297
Photo credits Anonymous, Postcard of Pomnik Mickiewicza, Lwów - Lemberg, Wikimedia, p. 232; Julian Mackiewicz, Portrait of Adam Mickiewicz, 1853, Wikimedia, p. 228; Sandra Surga / www.wrocław.pl, pp. 195-196; Enrico Floriddia, pp. 24, 59-60, 160, 199-200, 218, 279, 280; www.lubiaz.republika.pl, pp. 163-164; www.fotopolska.eu, pp. 167-168, 268; Mapywig pp. 176-179; Pieter Mulier II, Sailing ships in a breeze, Niedersächsisches Landesmuseum Hannover, p. 110; ANSA / www.romatoday.it, pp. 117-118; Casa d’aste Il Ponte, Milano, p. 125; Stanisław Synowiecki / www. niedziela.pl, pp. 80-82; Zdjęcia dzięki uprzejmości Wratislaviae Amici - www.dolny-slask.org.pl/ p. 23, 24, 27, 28, 31, 35-36, 41, 74, 190, 192, 202, 204, 208, 258-261, 264, 271-272, 283; Anonymous, Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift (Codex Manesse), Zurich, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, p. 38; www. lootedart.gov.pl/en/, p. 57; ; www.kunst-undkultur.de, p. 70; www.breslau-wroclaw.de p. 255; Deutscher Kunstverlag p. 155; Zarząd Środowiskowy AZS] p. 206; www.autobahn-online.de, p. 174; www. oldtimery.com, p. 175; ; www.cpd.mswia.gov.pl, p. 219; Tatli Badem Sokak, p. 227
Henryk IV Probus Tomb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 km
Pieta St. Elisabeth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . n/a
Madonna under the fir tree . . . . . . . . . . . . 2770 km
Calm sea from a rocky shore . . . . . . . . . . 3680 km
David chazzan gravestone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 km
Angels stalls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1634 km
Panorama Racławicka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1311 km
Pan Tadeusz manuscript . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2646 km
General Tauentzien funerary monument . . . 0 km
Enrico Floriddia is a migrant. He was born in Italy (1984), where he studied Architecture, Art History, History and Literature. He spent a lot of his time looking at buildings, monuments and ruins there. Then he moved to France where he obtained a Photography Master of Arts in Paris at École Nationale Supérieure LouisLumière. In 2014 he took part of the Zines of the zone moving library tour throughout the European continent. Between 2012 and 2016 he worked as a Teacher Assistant at the European School for Visual Arts (Poitiers, France). 306
In 2016 he is invited as artist in residence in the framework of Wrocław European Capital of Culture. Enrico is an artist, a researcher, a photographer, a scholar, a publisher, an archaeologist. But above all this, he is a permanent stranger. Currently he doesn’t know which is his future destination.
Enrico wishes to thank: Krzysztof Bielaszka, Bartek Lis, Berenika Nikodemska, Justyna Głuszenkow, Stanisław Abramik, Anka Bieliz, Alessandra Ferrini, Andrey Ustinov, Małgorzata Grygielewicz, Magdalena Przewłocka, Aleksandra Błędowska, Paweł Jarodzki, and all the people that share information on the internet.
© Biuro Festiwalowe IMPART 2016 ISBN: 978-83-946602-1-5
Project coordinator: Krzysztof Bielaszka Project curator: Bartek Lis Text and graphic design: Enrico Floriddia Image setting / typesetting: Aleksandra Błędowska Both the Author and the Publisher did everything that they can to obtain copyright permisssions to all of the pictures used in this publication. In case of any infringement of copyright or any personal rights of any third party in relation to the publication please contact the Author or the Publisher.
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enrico florid dia