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Old July 5, 2013, 09:00 AM   #1
Mike Irwin
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Virginian squares off against Poland over rare rifle

This is VERY interesting.

Guy (native Pole) owns a Maroszek rifle, which is EXTREMELY rare. He advertised it for sale, and Poland stepped in and asked the US Government to seize it as a national cultural treasure.

This one could get really interesting...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...l?tid=obinsite
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Old July 5, 2013, 09:21 AM   #2
arch308
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I must side with Mr Gasior. I am amazed that "they" can just seize his personel property without some sort of "due process". I can see both sides of the argument as they both seem to have legitimate claims. Time will tell.
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Old July 5, 2013, 10:38 AM   #3
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Rather heavy-handed of Poland to seize it rather than to make him a reasonable offer to buy it, and probably less cost-effective, too, after legal fees are considered.
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:00 PM   #4
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I'm curious as to why the Polish Government would be looking at ads , auctions and websites for guns for sale in the first place?
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Old July 5, 2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
I'm curious as to why the Polish Government would be looking at ads , auctions and websites for guns for sale in the first place?
To seize them.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:00 PM   #6
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They may not have been. Some one may have tipped them off, or an employee of a Polish museum may have seen it.
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:07 PM   #7
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If they can do that then why shouldn't we take all the garands, carbines, and 45's from their people? If we can't have war trophy's why can they? I understand the rarity of the rifle at hand, but come on!
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Old July 5, 2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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So, no warrant? No court proceedings? No nothing? Just go take it, on the word of some bureaucrat in Poland?
Since neither party can prove the provenance of the rifle, it seems to me that a tie goes to the current & apparently lawful owner.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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Is the gun in Poland?.. sounds like it's in the U.S.... anyway... the gun is for sale no? Poland is I'm sure free to bid on it.
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Old July 5, 2013, 05:29 PM   #10
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I think its government thievery, myself, in that the guy does legally own it, and should be compensated for its worth, and should not be forced to hand it over. Also, if he doesn't want to sell it, it is in his right not to do so. To make it to the US, it would have had to have been approved right after WWII, like any other that was brought here. To me, that is as good as a bill of sale, and if they let Poland get by with it, then any other country could demand weapons back that was taken.
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Old July 5, 2013, 06:54 PM   #11
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Anyone aware of any similar cases involving other WWII allies?
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Old July 5, 2013, 07:35 PM   #12
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Pretty sad that a whole friggin' nation can't be bothered to just BUY the darn thing. I mean, times are tough, but I don't think they're so tough that Poland couldn't muster $65,000 for a "national treasure".
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Old July 5, 2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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Pretty gun and pretty good article. OK, how many Polish lawyers does it take to steal a gun fro the U.S.? Not a joke... NRA Museum in Alexandria needs that gun!
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Old July 5, 2013, 11:50 PM   #14
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its like most lost treasure. the ship sank in 1587 with 3000 gold coins, 800 pounds of gold ingots. the foreign government that owned the ship when it sank in the gulf of mexico has no interest in said treasure until a salvage team finds it, but once its found that country wants it back.

just look up the crap about the spanish fleet mel fisher found.

thing is they considered it destroyed, and had no interest until it went for sale. when the gun was brought into the us legally after the war, the polish government did not exist.
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Old July 6, 2013, 12:03 AM   #15
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There are numerous international treaties that cover the repatriation of looted, stolen, or otherwise illicitly appropriated cultural/historical objects.

This is a VERY sore subject for many nations around the world.

It's not rare for this kind of request to come up, particular with Greek or pre-Columbian antiquities. It's also come up quite a bit with regards to artwork since World War II.

A few years ago the Getty Museum in California returned a number of artifacts to Italy that were allegedly stolen. That one had an active criminal investigation/trial as part of it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/ar...gett.html?_r=0

Here's an interesting monograph on the treaty under which the Poles apparently made their request:

http://archive.archaeology.org/onlin...z/intllaw.html

This is the first I've ever heard of it coming up for a rifle, however.
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Old July 6, 2013, 06:16 AM   #16
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i still don't see how a Polish anti-tank rifle, albeit a pre-Nazi invasion and production run of about 3,500 rifles, can be consider a nation treasure, sure i understand they were a top secret rifle, but still a Polish national treasure?
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Old July 6, 2013, 07:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Pretty sad that a whole friggin' nation can't be bothered to just BUY the darn thing. I mean, times are tough, but I don't think they're so tough that Poland couldn't muster $65,000 for a "national treasure".
Would you want to pay for something you thought was rightfully yours, especially if there was a way to get it back for free? In the end, this just may be a negotiating technique whereby they get the rifle for a lot less money. Right now, they know where it is and that it is secure.

At issue is the provenance, from the sounds of it. Nobody knows if it was a war trophy or not. Even if it is where the Germans got it, the Poles don't recognize that as a war trophy because it wasn't obtained "legally" and they don't consider that a war trophy can be had by an allied force. So it would appear that they are first rejecting the collector's ownership because war trophies can be by allies (hence recognizing trophies are okay) and then rejecting ownership because if it was a trophy taken by the Germans that it wasn't legal (now recognizing trophies as not okay). They are playing both sides of the argument.
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Old July 6, 2013, 08:06 AM   #18
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It's NOT the anti-tank rifle.

It's a semi-automatic rifle firing 7.92 Mauser ammunition (8x57), which was the standard Polish military round at the time.

It was by all accounts a rather good design, it was completely homegrown, and very few were manufactured before the German invasion. Fewer than a dozen are known, and the one in Polish hands isn't operational.

I can actually see why the Poles would be interested in having it back.
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Old July 6, 2013, 01:32 PM   #19
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Quote:
It's a semi-automatic rifle firing 7.92 Mauser ammunition (8x57), which was the standard Polish military round at the time.

It was by all accounts a rather good design, it was completely homegrown, and very few were manufactured before the German invasion. Fewer than a dozen are known, and the one in Polish hands isn't operational.

I can actually see why the Poles would be interested in having it back.
I can see why too, Mike. But rather than steal it from its rightful owner, why can't Poland cough up the money to actually pay for it?

Instead, everybody is going to lose, since the Poles will wind up probably losing more money in legal fees and man-hours spent on this issue, as will Mr Gasior, who will probably wind up losing in the end. The only winners will be the lawyers. Poland might feel some kind of vindication on getting what they consider their property back, totally forgetting that in the process they screwed the wrong person, and not the ones who stole their property in the first place.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:09 PM   #20
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I can see why too, Mike. But rather than steal it from its rightful owner, why can't Poland cough up the money to actually pay for it?
I will answer this again. They feel like the gun is theirs and taken illegally. From their perspective, why should they have to pay for something that they feel is rightfully theirs in the first place?

I would argue that the national treasure status is bogus. It was not a cultural artifact or of any scientific status at the time of its loss.
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Old July 6, 2013, 02:25 PM   #21
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To my mind, its not a matter of "should", its a matter of "What's the easiest way to get this thing back?"

Somehow, paying the guy seems easier (and more than likely ultimately cheaper) than dealing with a lawsuit.

It's not like it was stolen from an individual that can't afford to buy it back or even from Bill Gates. You're talking about an entire nation with an economy nearing $1,000,000,000,000 and I'm sure 10s or hundreds of BILLIONS in tax and other revenue.

It's been gone for decades, no one cared. It only makes sense to fork over 0.00008% of your national product (or the equivalent of 17 thousandth of one penny per person) to retrieve your "national treasure".
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Old July 6, 2013, 04:42 PM   #22
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How Poland wants to handle their business is their business. They have multiple options to handle the process and they started with the one that resides with legal agreements between countries for antiquities. It is a normal way to handle such matters with such materials.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?Arti...tegoryId=14095
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...83P1GY20120426
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/oct/26...uities-mexico/
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Old July 6, 2013, 04:52 PM   #23
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Indeed.

Doesn't mean we have to agree it's best, right or wise.
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Old July 6, 2013, 05:06 PM   #24
Mike Irwin
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" But rather than steal it from its rightful owner, why can't Poland cough up the money to actually pay for it?"

Ah, but that is the question now, isn't it?

Exactly WHO is the truly rightful owner?

Is it, as Poland has said, them, because the rifle was stolen from them?

Or is it the guy in Virginia? Even though he may have bought it in good faith, he may very well be in possession of stolen property.

In that case, who has more rights under the law?

The original owner, from whom it was stolen?

Or the current owner/possessor who may have bought it in good faith, but who is still in possession of stolen property?

The same discussion takes place regularly regarding fine art that was looted by the Nazis.

Even decades later, people who own paintings, sculpture, etc., are going to court to defend their purchase and possession of items they bought in good faith against either governments or individuals (or families/descendants) from whom the item was stolen.

In many cases, the modern possessor loses the item and the purchase money because at the end of the day, even in good faith, they bought stolen property.

It's a lot easier to look at a situation like this and start railing against "BIG BAD GUBMINT STEALING POOR INNOCENT MAN'S PROPERTY!"

But that really just covers up the true issues of the case.
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Old July 6, 2013, 05:07 PM   #25
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The three links provided say that those were stolen items. The rifle in question, would not have been stolen, if it left with US military permission, like every other spoils or captured weapon, which more than likely, it very well did. Of course, Poland will swear it was stolen, but any government would, if they thought it would be handed back for free.

Besides this, it worries me about how much Homeland Security has to do with this, and how much power has been granted to them. It seems more and more that they have become the US governments new gestapo. This action has nothing to do with US security, so why have they become involved, instead of the FBI or BATFE?
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