Silver items from the National Defence Fund have reached the collection of the National Museum in Poznań. The ceremony of delivering the artefacts was attended by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Ministers of National Defence Mariusz Błaszczak; Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński and the Minister for European Union Affairs Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.
The National Defence Fund was established by a decree of the President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Moscicki. Its purpose was to raise, through public contributions, additional funds to rearm the army in the face of the threat posed by Nazi Germany.
“A great number of these magnificent objects were not used for the purpose for which they were donated. That is, for the strengthening of national defence, because the war took Poland and the whole of Europe by surprise to some extent”, said Mateusz Morawiecki.
By the outbreak of the Second World War, the Fund had accumulated around 1 billion PLN. The funds in currency were spent on weapons for soldiers, items made of silver and gold were evacuated. At the embassy in Bucharest, they were divided into a ‘silver’ and a ‘gold’ part. The gold was placed at the disposal of the government of General Władysław Sikorski, the silver was taken from Romania to France, where it survived the Second World War.
“Silver” National Defence Fund was recovered by Poland in 1976. Between 1978 and 1988, a team of employees of the National Museum in Poznan inventoried more than 18,000 objects. For this reason, and to symbolically compensate for the wartime losses in the collection, the Museum received 1,840 objects by decision of the Treasurer of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts.
“May these silver items donated to the National Defence Fund be a wonderful symbol of readiness to defend our Fatherland. Just as they are to this day a symbol of the glory of the Polish nation, so may the military arsenal today in various parts of Europe not be a symbol of shame for others, for it must serve today’s modern purposes of freedom”, declared the head of the Polish government.