"Don't Waste Independence. Light and Flame" Silver of the National Defence Fund

The National Museum in Szczecin presents a group of objects from the silver collection of the National Defence Fund. The title of our exhibition 'Light and Flame' symbolically refers to life and hope.

The National Defense Fund was established by Presidential Decree of April 9, 1936, to raise additional funds for the army in the face of the threat to the state's existence by Nazi Germany. Among other things, it collected funds from social contributions, which consisted of donations and bequests from individuals as well as social, political, cultural and economic institutions. Poles were extremely willing to contribute both in cash and in the form of real estate, valuables and even grain or slaughter animals.

After the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the unused donations were taken abroad. At the Polish embassy in Bucharest, they were divided into "silver" and "gold" parts. 61 chests with silver objects were transported from Romania to France, where they survived World War II, first in the vault of a branch of the Bank of France in Marseille, and after the war they were moved to Toulouse. "Silver" National Defense Fund was recovered by Poland in 1976.

In 1978-1988, the staff of the National Museum in Poznań inventoried more than 18,000 objects. For this reason, as well as for the sake of at least symbolic compensation for wartime losses in the collection, by the decision of the disposer of the treasury - the Ministry of Culture and Art, the Museum received ownership of 1840 objects. On January 23rd 2023, the National Museum in Poznań was handed over more than 16,000 remaining pieces of silver from the National Defense Fund.

Currently, as part of the project "Don't Waste Independence. Silver from the National Defence Fund", exhibitions of these objects are being presented in museums and cultural institutions across Poland.

The project "Don't Waste Independence. Silver from the National Defence Fund" is carried out by  the National Museum in Poznań with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland with a support from the National Institute for Museums and Public Collections.


The National Museum in Poznań Curators: Renata Sobczak-Jaskulska, Michał Błaszczyński
Visual identity by: Raman Tratsiuk


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