Illustrative photo – Děčín castle.
Děčín – Rare books from the castle in Děčín, considered lost, are said to be with a restorer. The former curator of the castle announced this to the National Museum, to which the works belong. The director of the castle, Miroslava Poskočilová, told journalists today. According to Poskočilová, the restorer confirmed that ten of these books are in her workshop. The director does not know what their condition is. A set of 4,750 volumes from the historical collection of the Thun family worth 20 million crowns was lent to the castle by the National Museum in 2018. According to the director, for example, the rare chronicle of Václav Hájek from Libočany was considered lost.
According to the director, the National Museum staff discovered the loss of the books during an audit that took place in February 2022. The police investigated the case since then, but found no traces of the theft and dismissed the case. Two weeks ago, the National Museum took the remaining 4,740 books to the depository in Terezín and asked the castle to pay for the lost books. “On Monday, the former curator František Šuman said that he knows where the ten lost books are,” said the director of the castle, which belongs to the city.
The town hall stood by the management of the castle throughout the investigation of the case. Mayor Jiří Anděl (ANO) told journalists that “no mischief is happening” at the castle in Děčín, and he has no doubts that the city's property and the entrusted collection fund are being properly handled there.
The director found the photos, from which it is evident that someone manipulated the books from June 2018 to January 2019. “The books were missing from the photos, I published it, sent it to the representatives. I believe that the former curator confessed under the weight of this evidence. The question is whether the books were with the restorer for the whole four years,” she said. ČTK is trying to find out curator Šuman's statement.
According to the castle's legal representative, Narcis Tomášek, the National Museum demanded 200,000 crowns from the castle for the lost books. The castle received a pre-trial summons. “We were preparing for a lawsuit, it was not clear who was responsible for the lost books. After the books have been found, we want to come to an agreement with the museum to return the file to the castle,” said Tomášek.
Manipulating the books the loan agreement was violated and labor discipline was grossly violated. “We will consider whether to file criminal charges,” the lawyer said. Šuman's employment at the castle ended on September 30, 2019.
The extensive collection of books originally belonged to the Thun family, who owned the Děčín castle. Part of it ended up in the castle in nearby Benešov nad Ploučnicí, from where he moved to Děčín in 2018. Visitors could see them in the reference library in locked cabinets. “Books inherently belong to the castle, we will strive for their return here as quickly as possible,” added the director.