Posts Tagged ‘‘souvenirs’’

Priceless Japanese artefacts taken by tourist who thought they were souvenirs

March 10th, 2015

During the war, the island of Okinawa was forced to use the Japanese language the rest of the country used rather than their own dialect for the purposes of unification.

Anyone heard using their native tongue would be forced to wear the wooden plaque around their neck.

Museum director Peter Roberts-Taira said: “I’m very, very relieved.

“It’s the first time these items have ever been out of Japan, so the museums themselves were taking a risk.

“It was Saturday, right at the very end of the day when everyone was packing away that we realised they had gone.

“One was a wooden plaque with some Japanese on it, the other was a maths book which children had in their classrooms.

“You wouldn’t know they were valuable to look at, so maybe somebody just though they could take them.

“The message went out wider to people who asked their friends, and apparently they discovered a friend of a friend had thought those things were possible to take away as souvenirs.

“They are irreplaceable, if they are gone, they are gone forever. It’s very, very special to have them at all.”

The artefacts are now being returned to the Peace Memorial Museum in Okinawa.


World War Two

Auschwitz museum hit by thefts as visitors remove ‘souvenirs’ from Nazi death camp

May 6th, 2014

“This is shocking,” he said. “This isn’t really vandalism because vandalism is something you do to a bus stop. This is barbarism.”

The museum’s operators say the size of the camp makes stopping crime difficult. Auschwitz-Birkenau covers over 200 hectares and contains a 150 buildings, and Mr Cywinski said despite the best efforts of staff it is impossible to “monitor the entire camp” and eradicate all theft and vandalism.

Poland’s culture ministry, which is responsible for the museum, said it opposed the installation of CCTV systems given the specific environment of the camp.

“How would you feel if you visited Asuchwitz-Birkenau barracks and noticed that there were two cameras monitoring every item,” asked Malogorzata Omilanowska, deputy culture minister. “How would we be able to maintain the authenticity of the camp?”

Mr Cywinski said the only long-term solution was education, but others have called for harsher legal punishments for anybody caught vandalising or stealing from the camp.

But Bogdan Bartnikowski, a former Auschwitz prisoner, said if people really knew what the camp was like, they would think twice about vandalism.

“If they had been there and feared they would be leaving the next day via the chimney, then they would not be so eager to scratch their name onto a bunk,” he said.


World War Two

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