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Old July 8, 2013, 07:10 AM   #51
4V50 Gary
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This was discussed on another gun board. Initially my position was that if it was stolen from a museum, it should be returned. It turns out that these guns were issued to the police and then captured. As a prize of war, it is legitimately captured and should be kept by the present owner.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:21 AM   #52
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I never mentioned the concept of it being a war prize because Poland has very neatly, and legally, skirted that concept by claiming that the gun is of cultural signifigance to the nation of Poland.

By doing so they trump the Hague Treaty and put it firmly into the category of art and antiquities.

This very subject has come up before regarding medieval weapons and armor that were looted during World War II.

Sure, they're weapons and armor, created by the state for use in warfare. But, they were claimed, and the claims were upheld, under the concept that they had significant historical and cultural value to the requesting nation.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:27 AM   #53
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"The "Poland" that produced this rifle was invaded by Nazi Germany and no longer existed for a number of years. During that time this rifle changed hands and disappeared.

The "Poland" which is now filing a claim is a different nation - the map is even different from the version of 1939 - so do they really have a claim?"

Yes. They do. That's also a concept that is codified by treaty.
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Old July 8, 2013, 07:53 AM   #54
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Quote:
It turns out that these guns were issued to the police and then captured. As a prize of war, it is legitimately captured and should be kept by the present owner.
Cultural resources laws generally do not have provisions for war trophies, which is likely why Poland is arguing that the gun falls under the guise of being of cultural or scientific significance. From the Washington Post article cited in the OP...

Quote:
The Polish government views the Maroszek as a “great piece of cultural and scientific significance.”
Such a claim, if honored, would negate the notion of this rifle being just a war trophy. From the information provided, this appears to be the strategy that they are taking. I would contend, as I noted above, that if this rifle was not of great cultural or scientific significance at the time of the loss, then it does not quality now for repatriation. Poland obviously feels differently.
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Old July 8, 2013, 09:08 AM   #55
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The Feds should never have gotten involved. This is yet, just one more abuse of federal power against its citizens. It's a civil matter. The collector is a bona fide purchaser for value. If Poland thinks the rifle was stolen 75 years ago, then let them sue the guy, just like anyone else would have to. For the feds to threaten a citizen's life and property is out-and-out wrong.
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Old July 8, 2013, 12:02 PM   #56
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Sorry Skans, but that is not how it works with international conventions regarding cultural heritage. If it was a citizen of Poland wanting the gun back, that would fit your scenario, but it is the country of Poland.
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Old July 8, 2013, 06:42 PM   #57
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As often seems to be the case, the moral of the story appears to be "Do try to avoid attracting the attention of the government. Any government."
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:39 PM   #58
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I would propose that the Browning designed 1911 (or the BAR, or the M2, etc..) is a
Quote:
“great piece of cultural and scientific significance.”
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Old July 11, 2013, 12:10 AM   #59
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By Gasior’s account, the weapon was one of only 150 when it was made for Polish troops in 1938 and 1939, and today is one of about nine remaining.
On a side note, I think I figured out why the Nazis invaded Poland so quickly. They only had 150 rifles!
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Old July 11, 2013, 12:15 PM   #60
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Molon Freakin Labe!

I can't believe Poland won't just buy the rifle if they want it so bad. I guess those of us with anything from "The old country" that has been handed down generation to generation better never advertise it.
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Old July 11, 2013, 01:02 PM   #61
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It would be nice if the Polish government paid to get the gun back. After all the man in Virginia only paid $9500 for it.

But it wouldn't be a smart move on their part. Governments work on precedent as well as written law. If the Poles start a precedent of paying for stolen antiquities in this case then it could be argued that they should in every case.

Another problem is that this is a matter between governments. If Poland were to by pass the treaties and agreements they have with the US government it would set another bad precedent.
We want foreign governments to go through the channels that are set up by international agreement. It's a good thing.
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Old July 11, 2013, 01:23 PM   #62
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Whole Polish argument is BS

Did they have a "National Treasure" out there on the battlefield, issued to a soldier or cop? Really? Seriously? As in, would we allow one of our soldiers to go running around with Army issued bald eagles?

The definition of National Treasure status is fairly ambiguous but I have yet to see a single weapons system from the 20th century make the list. And I have yet to hear of an instance where a bona-fide national treasure was on a quartermaster's issued receipt.

No. It was a military rifle issued during the war.

If it became a national treasure at some time after the war; too bad. Say you had an Elvis record when you were a kid. You left home and some time later your parents sold it at a garage sale. Can you now claim your parents stole it and sold it, just because its worth thousands of dollars? No, if you wanted to make that claim, you should have taken it with you or made the claim years and years ago.

The fact is the rifle is neither a relic nor a treasure, and without somebody keeping it secure and safe from the environment, it would be a lump of scrap iron by now, as are apparently almost every single one of these guns that they produced.

Fact is Poland lost any rights to it when a German soldier picked it up as a war trophy. If Polish officials want to make the argument that an ally's soldiers cannot claim war trophies; that argument falls apart completely when a German soldier picks it up. The allied soldier flat out stole it from Germany, under the guise that it was a 'war trophy'.


If the Poles want to deny that it was a war trophy on the basis that Germany subsequently lost the war, I guess they'd have to give up on that front as well, as the rifle was built in 1938 or 1939. They (the Poles) were militarily defeated, simultaneously by Germany, the Soviet Union and (get this) Slovakia in 1939, meaning the new government has zero claim, since the weapon was taken as a war trophy from the prior government. An no; there is no treaty regarding the succession of war trophies, only antiquities or "national treasures".

So, in conclusion; Poland has never issued "National Treasures" to their soldiers in time of war. Therefor when they lost possession of it, it could not have been regarded as such.

Neither can they successfully claim that an ally cannot take a war trophy, as Germany was not an ally when Poland was militarily defeated by them. It was a war trophy at that moment in time. Title is lost when your government expires.

In fact it seems that if a claim is to be made, it would be Germany who could make it. It was not a German weapon, and is therefor not a war trophy taken from Germany. If it obtained "National Treasure" status before Germany lost the war, it would be theirs to claim. Unlikely.

Last edited by Vanya; July 11, 2013 at 02:21 PM. Reason: insults.
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Old July 11, 2013, 05:59 PM   #63
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Did they have a "National Treasure" out there on the battlefield, issued to a soldier or cop? Really? Seriously? As in, would we allow one of our soldiers to go running around with Army issued bald eagles?
They aren't claiming that it was a national treasure at the time, but that it is now.

Quote:
No. It was a military rifle issued during the war.
It was a police rifle apparently possibly issued before the war (checking this...).

Quote:
Fact is Poland lost any rights to it when a German soldier picked it up as a war trophy
According to antiquities conventions, this is not necessarily the case. I agree that the case is hokey, but they are not arguing about about war trophies, but about antiquities.

However, you keep wanting to argue the war trophy angle and there is no supporting documentation that this was in fact a war trophy. There may not be evidence to the contrary either, but there is the claim that it is a national treasure. Poland can justify the claim that such a gun would currently be a national treasure. By convention, the US may opt to return it to Poland.
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Old July 11, 2013, 11:15 PM   #64
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Quote:
Fact is Poland lost any rights to it when a German soldier picked it up as a war trophy
Nope. While most wars work on victor's rules, the German's were only temporarily the victors.
It is the post war agreements that have legal standing, not what happened during the conflict.

Plus the Germans were prosecuting an "unjust" illegal war. It follows that once defeated anyone involved shouldn't profit from that.

Don't assume that it was the spoils looted by an individual German soldier. The German military seized and used many pieces of equipment, both from occupied nations and things captured on the field from the allies.
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Old July 12, 2013, 12:59 PM   #65
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If you study the war carefully, you will find "evidence" the Pole actually attacked Germany, first.

Like the earlier Reichstag fire, it is believed to have been a staged incident. Men (Germans?) in Polish uniforms did attack a German radio station close to the border, and there were casualties. This was the "official" reason for Germany going to war.

Lebensraum and Nazi ambition were the real reasons, but we always need something else provided as an excuse.

Fortunately, the rest of the world simply ignored the "Polish provocation" incident, believing it to be just German propaganda. In this case, I believe they were correct.

Ironically, a couple years later, when the Germans took the rest of Poland, and continued on to invade the Soviet Union, they discovered that the Soviets had massacred a group of Polish officers, and buried them in the Katyn Forest (which was, at the time, in Soviet occupied Poland). The Germans told the world about this horrific crime, but the rest of the world simply considered it more Nazi propaganda. That time, it was the truth, but no one would believe anything the Nazis said by that time, or afterward.

One interesting thing about the Poles wanting a rare rifle back is their claim it is a national historical cultural treasure. What we apparently have is a rifle designed by a Pole (rare in itself), made in extremely limited numbers (150?) issued to their police forces (the Polish military was equipped with Mausers).

HOW, exactly does a limited production run (apparently ended by the war) of any firearm make it a national historical cultural treasure? A historical artifact, certainly, but a national treasure? This was (apparently) NOT a military weapon, and while the individual police may have fought against German attackers, a surviving example of a rare (experimental?) rifle isn't ordinarily considered a "national treasure" without specific documentation of the unique circumstances of the individual rifle.

To me, this seems like one government asking another government to literally steal a citizen's property using a legal claim based on a tenuous classification of the artifact by the govt that wants it.

When it comes to art, or things like pre-Colombian artifacts, or anything actually worth a quantity of money, govts tend to be greedy, and the rights of the current owner or discoverer get trampled more often than not.
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Old July 12, 2013, 10:35 PM   #66
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Call me a simpleton, and I will be the first to admit I am no lawyer but this kind of stuff just grinds my gears. Reminds me of the Spanish gov't taking the gold away from those guys down in Florida who, you know actually took the time and (years of) effort to find the gold....

We are not talking about Nazi confiscated works of art here.
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Old July 13, 2013, 11:45 AM   #67
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Patriot86,

To me, and I read the 1907 treaty this would have been under, it did not list any weapon as coming under its protection. Plus, if you look into it, hardly anyone obeyed the treaty, which sort of nullified it.

To me, it is like buying a home on a property with restrictions, and as soon as a restriction is broken by one or more residents, it throws the baby out with the bath water, if nobody complains, and it actually cancels all the restrictions that were set up, or it does under Ohio law (it happened here). However, this is a supposed international treaty, that nobody who signed it, honored. Plus, the US military law on war trophy's gave clearance to remove weapons (up to 1994 at least), making them legal US property. They poke fun at this on the movie Kelly's Hero's. The CO pilfered a small yacht! In reality, things like this have happened in all wars, and up until the war in the middle east, the US was one of the ones doing it.

I forgot to add, one might want to read the article about it at the Washington Times, as the one at the Washington Post is slanted one sided to the left, as it is at any mention of a gun.
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Old July 13, 2013, 12:23 PM   #68
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Well, your citation of Ohio experience is pretty meaningless given that the issue isn't with Ohio real property law. Neither the state of Virginia or country of Poland are in Ohio.

You are still making the assumption that this is a bona fide war trophy and that has NOT been established. So it has not been established that anything could have been or has been made legal as you keep claiming.
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Old July 13, 2013, 01:09 PM   #69
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Double Naught Spy,

Neither have you, nor anyone on this board, shown any proof it was, in fact stolen, just Poland's claim, which I find ridiculous, as do many others. The man says he owns it, he owns it, and I, nor anyone else, but a court, can be the judge. To say anything different, would be to call the man a liar, and I will not do that.

Plus, even though they tout the word stolen, the treaty doesn't back them up on it.
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Old July 14, 2013, 02:28 AM   #70
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Quote:
One interesting thing about the Poles wanting a rare rifle back is their claim it is a national historical cultural treasure. What we apparently have is a rifle designed by a Pole (rare in itself), made in extremely limited numbers (150?) issued to their police forces (the Polish military was equipped with Mausers).

HOW, exactly does a limited production run (apparently ended by the war) of any firearm make it a national historical cultural treasure? A historical artifact, certainly, but a national treasure? This was (apparently) NOT a military weapon, and while the individual police may have fought against German attackers, a surviving example of a rare (experimental?) rifle isn't ordinarily considered a "national treasure" without specific documentation of the unique circumstances of the individual rifle.

To me, this seems like one government asking another government to literally steal a citizen's property using a legal claim based on a tenuous classification of the artifact by the govt that wants it.

When it comes to art, or things like pre-Colombian artifacts, or anything actually worth a quantity of money, govts tend to be greedy, and the rights of the current owner or discoverer get trampled more often than not.
I see it this way too.

First, Poland really has no right to say it was stolen, as during a war, and per treaties, weapons are confiscated or seized, and a good majority are destroyed. The treaties even allow for war trophies.

Second, the treaty of 1907 does not list any weapon as being protected, only art treasures, statues, and places of science and learning such as universities, etc, though they may be owned by the state. Here, these were specifically protected from being war trophies, but nothing else.

Everyone who signed the treaty understood this, and weapons, any of them, or anything pertaining to the military is exempted, and fair game, even the buttons on their dress uniforms if we get picky about it. This, especially in Europe, as they have been collecting war trophies for thousands of years, including weapons, flags, etc. They have huge galleries of trophies in several countries in Europe. Plus, when you read the treaty, it really didn't have much teeth to it, and only gained a small amount extra in the 50's, when some additional language was added, but nothing that happened before was grandfathered in.

Now, you have Poland hollering it was stolen by the Germans, who declared war, with an army who invaded them, and seized their weapons, which is legal in war, but Poland likes touting the word stolen. That wouldn't pass muster in an international court, especially using this treaty. Also, that is between them, and its funny that Poland has never said anything about Germany concerning this, since WWII, and until now. Why didn't they demand that Germany give them back all of their 'stolen' weapons?

If the gun made it to the US, the way the owner says it did, in that it was taken from the Germans, it was a legal seizure of a weapon by US military code, and can be seen in that code as late as 1994. So who's at fault, it sure isn't the owner?

I have an idea that Poland chose now, over who we have as president, hoping he will look the other way, since its a gun, and give them something for nothing. If it does make it to court, which it should, as the NRA is paying for an attorney, then Poland is going to have to cough up the cash for court, and it may well cost them more than what the rifle is worth.
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Old July 14, 2013, 10:05 AM   #71
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Double Naught Spy,

Neither have you, nor anyone on this board, shown any proof it was, in fact stolen, just Poland's claim, which I find ridiculous, as do many others.
You are correct in that nobody has proven the gun was stolen. I certainly have NEVER claimed that it was. However, my concern is your repeated statements of fact that the gun is a war trophy. Your statements of such are NOT FACTUALLY KNOWN and certainly may be incorrect. Not even the collector knows the history of the particular weapon. Through his lawyer, he has stated his beliefs about its history, but his beliefs are not facts.

You have also stated that if the gun came to the US that the government must have given permission for this to happen and that therefore it is now legal. This is also information that isn't known to be fact. You have no idea how the gun came to be in the US. The collector doesn't know.

What we do know is where and when the gun was made, apparently that it was issued to the police, and that ended up in the US, but that the collector believes it is a war trophy and hence should be his legally and that Poland claims that the gun should be returned as it was taken illegally and falls under the guise of being part of their cultural heritage as being of historical or scientific significance.

Quote:
Second, the treaty of 1907 does not list any weapon as being protected, only art treasures, statues, and places of science and learning such as universities, etc, though they may be owned by the state. Here, these were specifically protected from being war trophies, but nothing else.
Even this is wrong. Holy cow. From the Hague Convention of 1907

Quote:
Art. 56. The property of municipalities, that of institutions dedicated to
religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences, even when State
property, shall be treated as private property. All seizure of, destruction or willful damage done to institutions of this character, historic monuments, works of art and science, is forbidden, and should be made the subject of legal proceedings.
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Old July 14, 2013, 10:30 AM   #72
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If this gun is a "work of science" then virtually EVERY man made object also qualifies.

That gun might be a different make and model than most but there's nothing particularly revolutionary about it. It's not like its the first machine gun or semi-auto or a revolutionary ignition system or sighting system or barrel design.

It's an ordinary rifle. It's not a "work of science" unless practically every other man made object is also a "work of science".

It's also particularly peculiar that they've never gone after any of the other, already known, examples. Suddenly, this one's important though. Not the other 5 or 6 already known examples in the USA. Not the one in Germany. Just this one.
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Old July 14, 2013, 08:05 PM   #73
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BP, yep, but that is apparently the argument they are using, bogus or not. However, I would add the caveat that the object is of particular Polish scientific significance now (this being their view) because of the rarity - so any rare piece of technology from a particular country could potentially quality if that logic is following.

Somewhere along the way, however, the US government has gotten on board with the request, which is all Poland's efforts have been thus far. So all the complaining about how Poland is somewhat misplaced, that they can't or shouldn't make the argument for wanting the gun back is pretty moot. It isn't Poland taking the gun. That argument is with the US Government. Poland can request anything it wants to request. All that has to be done is to reject the request or fail to address it. Requests between people, businesses, and countries are made all the time. Lots get rejected. Why the US didn't reject this one is pretty odd based on the information presented so far.

You said Poland hasn't gone after any of the other examples of this gun, not even one in Germany. Was that stated somewhere?
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