The bullet-riddled bust of Taras Shevchenko, the Ukrainian national bard, For. Yurii Veres
Each war wreaks havoc. What is most precious for us can perish in one moment – the loved ones, homes, and a sense of security. War destroys the wealth worked out by generations and ruins plans for the future. War has its tragic effects also in the sphere that shapes national identity – culture. Unique heritage of Ukraine vanishes before our eyes as a result of the Russian agression. The losses inflicted in this area are irreparable.
Poland understands very well what the loss of cultural heritage means – wars of the past century have deprived us of historic architecture, art collections, libraries and archives. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, noticing a change in Russia’s military strategy shifting to the destruction of civilian facilities, decided to establish a special unit tasked to help Ukraine in this area. The Support Center for Culture in Ukraine was established to coordinate both domestic and foreign initiatives to save the cultural heritage of our close neighbor. Centrum Pomocy dla Kultury na Ukrainie was established to coordinate both domestic and foreign initiatives to save the cultural heritage of our close neighbor
The main task of the Support Center for Culture in Ukraine is to coordinate initiatives aimed at safeguarding of Ukrainian cultural heritage threatened by ongoing war hostilities.
The Center continuously updates a database of needs signalled by institutions in Ukraine, verifies and manages supply of material aid to Lviv, Kiyv and other cities, and cooperates with both domestic and international partners. To ensure effective organization, the Center regularly communicates with a working group „Heritage Emergency Response Initiative” established by the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy in Ukraine to monitor and oversee distribution of assistance to cultural heritage institutions in need.
Apart from logistical coordination, the Center facilitates purchase of specific material support as well as gathers necessary funds.
A dedicated team within the Support Center for Culture in Ukraine works constantly to ensure effective delivery of verified material aid in cooperation with our Ukrainian partners.
The Center also collects information on the destruction of Ukrainian cultural heritage and the losses suffered. We analyze Ukrainian sources on an ongoing basis and maintain a database of current developments in Ukraine. We disseminate knowledge about the scale of damage through, among others, our bilingual Facebook profile and a dedicated website.
The Support Center for Culture in Ukraine was established by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as an operational core of governmental assistance to the cultural sector in Ukraine. The Center operates within the structure of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage (NID) – an institution with more than 60 years of experience in cultural heritage research and protection.
The task of the Center’s employees – in cooperation with the members of the Task Force for monitoring and analyzing threats to cultural heritage operating in the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (established by the ordinance of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of February 23, 2022) – is to coordinate support to save the Ukrainian cultural heritage threatened by hostilities.
The Support Center for Culture in Ukraine employs of a team actively coordinating activities aimed at the protection of monuments located on the territory of our immediate neighbor.
The Support Center for Culture in Ukraine provides emergency assistance through organization of direct transports with necessary equipment that helps to secure collections and monuments located in urban spaces, such as fire-fighting equipment, specialized materials for safeguarding of collections and historic buildings, as well as through providing financial resources for employees who guard the safety of cultural goods.
The center also carries out educational activities by collecting and sharing information on Ukrainian heritage losses. In addition, the Center popularizes the The Warsaw Recommendation on Recovery and Reconstruction of Cultural Heritage. It is a document containing a comprehensive set of rules for the process of urban reconstruction and the reconstruction of historic buildings or complexes of buildings damaged as a result of armed conflicts or natural disasters.
For the first time in the capital of Poland, representatives of UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, UNISDR, the World Bank and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises met to discuss problems related to the reconstruction of World Heritage sites.
Result of the conference “The challenges of World Heritage recovery. International conference on reconstruction”, which took place at the Royal Castle in Warsaw on May 6-8, 2018. More than 200 participants, representing all regions of the world, participated is the development of the Warsaw Recommendation and identification of the principles that should be followed when rebuilding monuments, with particular emphasis on historic cities.