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The University of Warsaw’s Library faces a major theft case as eight valuable volumes, dating back to the 19th century, go missing, sparking an investigation.
An investigation has been initiated into the theft of valuable volumes from the Library of the University of Warsaw (BUW). The case, which involves the disappearance of eight volumes, took place on October 16, 2023, at the BUW reading room on Dobra Street in Warsaw.
Preliminary findings indicate that the books were borrowed by a man and a woman but were not returned in their entirety, with only two out of the ten requested books and their fascicles remaining. The missing books date from 1827 to 1842 and were published in present-day Russia, specifically in Moscow and St. Petersburg. These volumes are printed in Cyrillic and are considered special collections of great significance for academic research.
The estimated loss value is at least 200,000 złoty, but information from BUW suggests that the volumes could fetch even higher prices at auctions. Further evaluation of their worth will require the expertise of an appraiser.
The report on this incident was filed by the Deputy Director of the University of Warsaw Library. The recent removal of BUW’s Director, Anna Wołodko, is a direct response to the information about the theft of dozens of valuable volumes from the University Library.
In her statement, former Director Anna Wołodko revealed that the theft of eight 19th-century Russian volumes was discovered in mid-October. Someone left covers at a workplace, inside which were fake copies instead of the original editions. The investigation has so far uncovered the substitution of approximately 80 volumes.
Wołodko suggested that these thefts were orchestrated, likely commissioned by auction houses and antiquarian bookshops operating in the Russian market. The situation is still under examination, with the university rector and the police informed of the matter.