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American firearms collector squares off with Poland over rare World War II gun


Bieganski 17 | 890
30 Jun 2013 #1
Of all the weapons in his personal collection, Kristopher Gasior always cherished the wz.38M Maroszek rifle the most. The gun - one of only a handful in the world - came from Poland, his home country, and it was produced in the war that claimed his grandfather's life. But Gasior was not the only one with an interest in the military artifact. The Polish government views the Maroszek as a "great piece of cultural and scientific significance."

When Gasior...listed the weapon for sale on his Web site, Poland had U.S. federal agents seize it, arguing it had been stolen from the government during World War II.

Source: washingtonpost

I'm surprised there was such high level government interest in this rifle. One poster on the news website said Poland should have just paid Gasior for the weapon. However, since the article also said Gasior (who immigrated from Poland in the 1980s) was proud of his ancestors' participation in the defense of Poland it would have been a more gracious gesture on his part to have donated the rifle to a museum in Poland rather than put it up for sale on the open market.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,177
30 Jun 2013 #2
However, since the article also said Gasior (who immigrated from Poland in the 1980s) was proud of his ancestors' participation in the defense of Poland it would have been a more gracious gesture on his part to have donated the rifle to a museum in Poland rather than put it up for sale on the open market.

Perhaps the law on exporting pre-1945 items was in force at the time and he had exported it illegally?
OP Bieganski 17 | 890
30 Jun 2013 #3
The article said he bought the rifle from another collector and claimed he did so legally. If Gasior knew enough about the rarity of the Maroszek rifle then at some point he should have known whether or not possessing it was infringing Polish law. He should have approached the Polish government or a museum and sought an amicable repatriation of the rifle. It would have been an honorable thing for him to do and he could have cleared the slate, possibly with a granting of immunity or a reduced fine, if indeed he had owned it illegally. But he tried to sell it on and instead had his house raided and the gun confiscated.
smurf 39 | 1,971
1 Jul 2013 #4
exporting pre-1945 items

What is the idea behind such a law?
jon357 74 | 21,935
1 Jul 2013 #5
It used to be quite a sensible law back in the day. There wasn't as much going on before in PL as in most places in Europe that have left a built or manufactured heritage and so much of what there was was smashed to bits in the war or carried off by Germans/Russians in turn. So antiques and old buildings are scarce.

That law is an irrelevance now and probably shouldn't be on the statute books due to freedom of movement of goods within the EU. If a government agency tried to enforce it, they'd have to pay out more than the value of any Matejki to lawyers in Strasbourg.


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