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Mozart work brings discord to Germany and Poland


When Mozart wrote his 27th piano concerto in his usual neat hand
months before he died, he could never have imagined the manuscript's
future journey.

The document survived bombs and escaped looters before eventually
finding itself at the heart of a 21st century diplomatic dispute.

The manuscript on which Mozart wrote with a quill his Piano Concerto
No 27 in B-flat is held, within green velvet covers, in a university
library in Krakow, Poland. And that makes it, according to the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of the "last German prisoners-of-

As Allied bombs fell on Berlin in the Second World War, the Nazis
took tens of thousands of culturally important papers from the
national library towards the eastern fringes of the Third Reich for

About 500 boxes of artistic treasures, including not only Mozart's
score but also manuscripts by Goethe, were hidden first in the Ksiaz
fortress in the Sudety mountains, before being transferred to a
Benedictine monastery at what is now Krzeszow. A handful of boxes
were destroyed or stolen, but most survived.

When peace came, the documents found themselves on Polish rather
than German territory. Eventually, most of the 100,000 items were
moved to the Jagiellonian Library in Krakow.

In the Seventies, several treasures were handed back to the East
German leader Erich Honecker by fellow communists in Poland. Among
them was Mozart's handwritten sheet music for Die Zauberflöte. But
the 27th piano concerto eluded the Germans' grasp.

Talks between Berlin and Warsaw have dragged on for more than a
decade, but bubbled up again in the past month. The rumblings in the
German press drew a swift response from the Polish foreign ministry
last week. It said the claims were "entirely groundless".

For many Poles, keeping the collection in Krakow is poor recompense
for their cultural losses over almost six years of German
occupation. About 22 million books and hundreds of thousands of
works of art were destroyed as the Nazis ravaged the country.

"Polish public opinion still remembers the artworks carted away, the
burned libraries and archives, whose loss was never made up for,"
the ministry said.

Bitterness has raised its head in the political domain too. At a
European summit earlier this year, Poland demanded EU voting powers
disproportionate to its size, saying its population would be larger
today if Germany had not killed six million of its people during the

But for the guardian of the Mozart work, these wranglings are
background chatter. "These are things for governments to discuss and
work out for themselves. I want nothing to do with it," said
Zdzislaw Pietrzyk, head of the Jagiellonian.

For him, what matters is that the manuscript has been preserved in
almost mint condition. Mozart's writing, small and neat, is
perfectly clear. "It just takes your breath away," said Mr Pietrzyk.

Re: Mozart work brings discord to Germany and Poland

Ok I am confused.... Why should a mozart manuscript be the property of Germany rather than Austria? If anyone should be asking for it then it should be the Mozart museum in Salzberg.

Re: Mozart work brings discord to Germany and Poland

this is such bull shit...german acts of agression, occupation, plunder, etc. aside, aren't both countries EU members? If so, why would kraus care where the manuscrpit remains?

If this keeps up, Poles are going to (and should) start suing german government for destroyed property during WWII. Warsaw would be a good place to start.

Re: Mozart work brings discord to Germany and Poland

"If this keeps up, Poles are going to (and should) start suing german government for destroyed property during WWII. Warsaw would be a good place to start. "

Or maybe Poles should also start suing for stuff that was never rightfully theirs like this situation. Since when do Austrian artifacts belong to Germany? Has the anschluss been renacted without the Austrians noticing?