The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Wednesday—As we go out today to the World's Fair grounds for the opening meeting of the United Nations Assembly, those of us who remember the World's Fair will be thinking of that gigantic effort which brought together the art and the culture, the industrial and political exhibits, of so many countries in an effort to acquaint us with each other.

The World's Fair was to me a most useful and interesting drawing together of people from many lands, and there are still remnants of that exhibit which might be used to increase our understanding now.

For instance, I have a letter telling me of two famous Polish statues sent to the World's Fair which are still in the United States. It has been suggested that these statues might be bought in this country, for they have been given by the sculptors to two scientific institutions in Poland in the hope that these institutions may be able to sell them and purchase some of the instruments which they need to build up the destroyed laboratories in Warsaw.

* * *

One of the statues is a life-size bronze figure of Marie Sklodowska Curie, by Ludwika Nitsch. There are three of these figures. One was bought by the French Government for the city of Paris; another is at the Marie Curie Radium Institute in Warsaw and is one of the three statues in that city which escaped destruction; and the third one, which is here in this country, is the last one available.

It may be remembered that the women of this country presented Mme. Curie with a very valuable piece of radium when she came here years ago. This priceless American gift was saved by Polish scientists who managed to hide it during the six years of war, so it will be used again, as in prewar years, by the research laboratory of the Curie Institute in Warsaw. The proceeds from the sale of the Curie statue would go to this institute.

The second statue is of General Pulaski, done in gray granite by Ksawery Dunikowski. The proceeds of the sale of this statue would go to the Institute of Experimental Physics in Warsaw University.

Partly due to the great help of the Rockefeller Foundation, this institute, before the war, was one of the best research centers in Central Europe. Naturally, the Germans plundered the institute and removed precious instruments as early as 1939. But thanks to the energy of Professor Pienkowski, the institute started to function again last winter. The scholars and students alike, however, worked under unbelievable conditions. For months they had neither windows nor doors, and the lack of many instruments has hampered them greatly.

* * *

It is hoped that an American committee can be formed to sell these statues and place them in appropriate places in this country. Those who contribute can feel that they are advancing the fundamental things which are needed to rehabilitate Poland and its people, who have given us much help in the development of our own great country. The Polish citizens who migrated here may well be proud of the contribution they have made to the development of the United States, and now we, as a people, have an opportunity to show our gratitude.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, October 24, 1946

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.