A free-admission exhibition, commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–5, runs at the Upper Bathhouse pavilion in the Catherine Park from May 9 to September 30, 2015.
The artefacts on display include those looted during the Nazi occupation of Pushkin town (Tsarskoye Selo) in 1941–4 and later returned at various times to the Museum.
The jewels of the exhibition are one of the 1760s Russian twin chests of drawers (see below right) and the Florentine mosaic ‘Touch and Smell’ of 1753 (below lwft), both gracing the pre-war Amber Room in the Catherine Palace. Another centerpiece is the original bronze Milkmaid of the Girl-With-a-Pitcher fountain by sculptor Pavel Sokolov, which was preserved hidden underground in the park in 1941, later replaced with a replica of 1990 and is now stored in the reserve collection.
Other exhibits include the palace furniture, paintings, porcelains and some books from the imperial library.
The title of the exhibition refers to a 1909 book by Friedrich Huch, a German writer favoured by the parents of Jens and Franziska Harmsen who donated to the Museum four artefacts taken by their fathers from Tsarskoye Selo during World War II.
Mr and Ms Harmsen also presented to the Museum the letters and photographs of Jens’s father, Hans Harmsen. He wrote from the frontline and later from a war prisoners’ camp. As his sons hoped for their father to return home, they gathered a compilation of his over 80 letters and named it ‘And the door will open one day…’ Likewise, the Museum keeps hoping for all the lost artefacts to come back.
Over 100 objects from the Tsarskoye Selo historic collection and several thousand books have been returned to the Museum to date, thanks to the efforts of the museum and our Friends Society.