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"After the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939, it likewise engaged in the looting and destruction of Poland's cultural heritage. It is estimated that soon after the invasion, about half of Polish museums and similar public institutions were dismantled in the territories occupied by the Soviets. Many items were shipped out to Soviet museums such as the Moscow Museum of History and the Central Anti-Religious Museum (also in Moscow). Other collections were simply destroyed. For instance, during the liquidation of the Poland's Lwów Historical Museum early in 1940, its holdings were taken to the basement of the Black (Czarna) Kamienica (pictured), away from public scrutiny, and systematically destroyed there.
Following the Soviet advance across German-occupied Polish territory, the looting and plunder of anything of value continued until 1947, even though the these territories were in theory already assigned to its allied communist Poland. Soviet forces engaged in particularly extensive plunder in the former eastern territories of Germany that were later to be transferred to Poland, stripping them of any piece of equipment left behind by the fleeing/deported population. Even the Polish Communists felt uneasy about the scope of their crimes. In 1945, the future Chairman of the Polish Council of State, Gen. Aleksander Zawadzki, worried that "raping and looting by the Soviet army would provoke a civil war"
In early 1946 the operations of "war trophy brigades" were regulated by detailed orders issued by Soviet vice-minister of defence, Nikolai Bulganin. Until 1948 these brigades sent at least 239,000 railway carriages to the USSR transporting natural resources, complete factories and individual machines. The town of Bydgoszcz alone lost 30 complete factories and 250 ships. In Grudziądz the army confiscated all machinery from its factories, regardless of size. In Toruń all gristmills were taken, creating a temporary shortage of bread. Blachownia Śląska lost a large, German-built installation producing synthetic fuel, transported to the USSR in 10,000 train carriages. A similar production line in Police was transported in 14,000 rail carriages. Gliwice lost a pipe factory, Bobrek and Łabędy lost their iron furnaces. Complete power stations were dismantled and taken from Miechowice, Zabrze, Zdzieszowice, Mikulczyce, Blachownia Śląska i Chełmsk Śląski. Smaller industries were also confiscated in Sosnowiec, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Częstochowa, Zgoda, Chorzów, Siemianowice, Poznań, Bydgoszcz, Grudziądz, Toruń, Inowrocław, Włocławek, Chojnice, Łódź, Dziedzice and Oświęcim.
Farm animals were likewise targeted for looting: until 1 September 1945 the Red Army had confiscated 506,000 cows, 114,000 sheep and 206,000 horses. In February 1945 alone, over 72,000 tons of sugar were taken. In the Toruń region 14,000 tons of grain, 20,000 tons of potatoes and 21,000 tons of red beetroot were taken during this period. These numbers represent just the looting, since the Polish government also officially supplied food to the Red Army at that time, including 150,000 tons of grain, 250,000 tons of potatoes, 25,000 tons of meat and 100,000 tons of straw.
In addition individual Red Army soldiers were allowed to send "war trophies" home, with the amount depending on their rank. The result was widespread looting of private homes taking valuables, including food, clothes, shoes, radios, jewellery, utensils, bicycles, and even ceramic toilet bowls. The unprecedented scale of individualised looting can be estimated from the example of the Russian town of Kursk, which received just 300 personal parcels from soldiers in January 1945 but in May their number had reached 87,000.
After such transports ended, the Red Army started looting the railway infrastructure, rolling-stock repair yards, signalling installations and rails: around 5,500 km of rails were looted.
In 1946 the Polish authorities estimated the scale of plunder to the value of 2.375 billions of 1938 dollars (equivalent of $54 billion in 2015 dollars). "