Cultural Heritage Assets of Vilnius between Russia/USSR, Poland and Lithuania (1918–1940) Cover Image
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Dobra kultury Wilna między Rosją/ZSRR, Polską a Litwą (1918–1940)
Cultural Heritage Assets of Vilnius between Russia/USSR, Poland and Lithuania (1918–1940)

Author(s): Vitalija Stravinskienė
Subject(s): 19th Century, Pre-WW I & WW I (1900 -1919), Interwar Period (1920 - 1939), WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), Post-War period (1950 - 1989), Transformation Period (1990 - 2010)
Published by: Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego
Keywords: Vilnius; Treaty of Riga 1921; Soviet-Lithuanian Peace Treaty 1920; Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Lithuanian Metrica; cultural heritage assets of Vilnius
Summary/Abstract: The article, using collections of documents, archival materials and historiography, discusses the forced act of taking out cultural heritage assets from Vilnius to Russia in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century and the restitution policy of Polish and Lithuanian representatives in 1918–1940. The author explores such problems as: 1) what cultural heritage assets were taken out of Vilnius to Russia in the 19th century and in the first half of the 20th century; 2) how Polish and Lithuanian representatives attempted to recover cultural heritage assets; 3) how the Polish-Lithuanian conflict over Vilnius influenced the restitution process of Vilnius archival materials; 4) what consequences the restitution of Vilnius cultural heritage assets had. The definition of restitution used in the article means the act of restoring goods (in this case cultural heritage assets) that were taken out illegally to their rightful owner; it means restoring the former state of affairs (restitutio in integrum). The author points to the conflict between Lithuania and Poland over Vilnius, which had destructive influence on the restitution of cultural heritage assets of this city. The results were poor as virtually nothing was regained. The conflicts and protests resulting from either regaining the cultural heritage assets or intentions to do so between the representatives of Lithuania and Poland were used by Russia and the USSR acting as intermediary and offering a solution impossible for both sides: if you decide which country Vilnius should belong to, we will give you back the city and its cultural heritage assets. Certain attempts to work together to regain the cultural assets which belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth heritage could be seen just before the Second World War, in 1939. The outbreak of war and the Soviet occupation of Poland and Lithuania stopped all such efforts and caused substantial losses to Vilnius archives, museums, libraries, societies and private people.

  • Page Range: 123-140
  • Page Count: 8
  • Publication Year: 2020
  • Language: Polish