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    Sweden will not return looted 16th century Łaski Statute to Poland

    A document looted from Poland during the 17th century will not be returned, Sweden’s foreign minister has said.

    The document known as Łaski’s Statute which was stolen during the Swedish Deluge of 1655-1660, was the first codification of existing Polish law done by the parliament in 1505 and printing in 1506 was the first illustrated printing in Poland.

    In July, MP Bjoern Soeder, a member of The Sweden Democrats party, asked Foreign Minister Ann Linde to start proceedings aimed at returning Laski’s Statute to Poland, due to the importance of the document to the country and as a show of gratitude for Poland’s activities for the security of Sweden.

    Soeder said that there were only two copies of Laski’s Statute, one in Warsaw and another in Sweden, where it remained “after it had been looted by the Swedes in the 17th century along with other priceless treasures of Polish culture.”

    But in her written reply, Linde said that Sweden had no plans to return the statute and cited the restrictions on the return of spoils of war which were applied by most countries.

    She added that the spoils of war from the 17th century were gained in accordance with the international law of the time.

    She also noted that issues concerning the return of spoils of war were complicated and, in some cases, it might be difficult to determine to which state or individual the object should be transferred.

    The Swedish copy of Laski’s Statute is currently in the collection of Uppsala University.

    The document was drawn up by Chancellor and Primate Jan Laski and compiled nearly all the legislation that had earlier appeared in Poland. It was added to UNESCO’s Memory of the World list in 2016.


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