I find myself wondering how many "Polish National Treasures" were removed to Stalin's Russia...and how many Russia of today will send back to Poland.
How far will this go...will Norway declare the Norwegian Colt 1911 my Dad brought home from the war a national treasure? After all...it is dated 1929, and no doubt was "stolen" by the krauts before my Dad recovered it. I suppose Dad should have notified the nearest Norwegian embassy he had their pistol.
I guess Poland is lucky this rifle seems to have been well cared for...it's owner could have been named Bubba, and he could have said to himself "this thing would be perfect if I can just Dremel it to fit my Tapco SKS folder"
That is exactly what I fear will happen, and Poland has just opened up a can of worms they may wish they didn't.
If it was truly stolen property, and not made legal by the US Government to be brought here, I would say, yes, send it back, and the poor bloke who last had it just learned a valuable lesson, and hopefully they receive no charges for receiving stolen property. However, this does not seem to be the case, and the US Government is liable for it, as they made the ruling that it was fair property, but then, to make it worse, money has been changed hands, and that money or value, somebody is going to have to pay for.
To me, to be fair about it, the US Government should pay the fair value, as they made the judgment, and collect theirs back from Germany, who Poland claims were the thieves to start with. However, if Poland wants to get snotty about it, where were they, actually, when WWII was going on, and Warsaw was made a large Jewish internment camp? They say that they fought beside us, but I can't place that much of it. They need to remember that they were invaded by Germany, their weapons seized, and lost quickly, and then were taken over by Russia, then stayed that way for a good long time. Things happen during war and things are lost, so they need to get over it.
This could also open up things about all of the legalized pirating the US did in the early years of our nation too. All it takes to get the ball rolling is a case similar to this. One would think that there would be an international statute of limitations in place in the treaties.