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£1Bn art stash looted by Nazis found

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Wonder why the secrecy?
    "A treasure trove of artworks worth almost £1billion seized by the Nazis and reportedly destroyed in RAF bombing raids during WW2 has been found behind rotting food in shabby apartment in Munich.
    Experts have hailed the discovery of the 1,500 pictures, thought to have been lost or bombed, as a sensational find.
    The story of the lost masterpieces of such painters as Pablo Picasso, Renoir, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall is revealed in this week's edition of Germany's Focus magazine which broke the story of the incredible find by customs officials.

    Art historians examining the collection claim up to 300 of the Gurlitt collection appeared in a Nazi exhibition called Degenerate Art - displaying what they deemed to be poor.

    The rest were bought at 'shamefully' low prices from Jews in exchange for an escape route out of the country.
    One of the paintings is a portrait of a woman by the French master Matisse that belonged in the collection of the Jewish connoisseur Paul Rosenberg, who had to leave behind his collection before his escape from Paris when the country fell in 1940.
    His granddaughter Anne Sinclair, the wife of disgraced former top banker Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been fighting for decades for the return of his pictures stolen by the Nazis, but according to Focus she 'knew nothing' of the existence of this painting.
    It was found, alongside around 1,500 other pieces, in the Aladdin's Cave behind a wall of tins of beans and fruit in the decrepit flat of loner Cornelius Gurlit in the Munich suburb of Schwabing.
    Other works discovered in the flat are by Emil Nolde, Franz Marc, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Liebermann. This artwork by some of the giants of the 19th and 20th centuries was deemed 'degenerate' by the provincially-minded Nazi hierachy, stolen from collectors - many of them Jewish - and ordered to be shut away by Hitler and his henchmen.
    The astonishing story of their recovery is like the plot from a thriller.
    Dealer Hildebrandt Gurlitt had acquired the paintings and sketches in the 1930s and 40s for a pittance from terrified Jews and reported them all to be destroyed at the war's end during the ferocious bombing of Dresden.
    Nothing was known about the collection until September 2010, almost 100 years later, when customs carried out a routine check on a train from Switzerland.
    Stopping his sole surviving son - who had never worked and who had no visible means of income - they discovered he had an envelope containing 9,000 euros in cash, and a stash of empty envelopes.
    Many wealthy Germans deposit money illegally in Switzerland to evade high taxation rates on their savings in their homeland and such checks on people are commonplace. "
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2486251/Discovered-Billion-pound-art-collection-seized-Nazis-ordered-destroyed-discovered-rotting-food-dishevelled-Munich-apartment.html#ixzz2jdovZ5qy
     
  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I heard about it on the news, amazing isn't?
     
  3. green slime

    green slime Member

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    What a great guy his son is! Knowing the old man skinted desperate people out of their possessions, and to continue that legacy by funding his entire life thanks to their suffering. Maybe there is hope for mankind. This story doesn't provide that.
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good Grief, they've found another stash!
    "Munich police have discovered another hoard of looted Nazi art held by Cornelius Gurlitt – in his brother-in-law’s flat.

    Some 22 masterpieces worth untold millions were taken from the town of Kornwestheim in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, 150 west miles from where the 79-year-old Gurlitt’s billion-pound treasure trove was seized last year.

    Mr Gurlitt’s sister, Benita Fraessle-Gurlitt, was married to Nikolaus Fraessle before her death several years ago. On Saturday afternoon Mr Fraessle’s flat in the town was the scene of frenzied activity as police and customs officials descended.

    Mr Fraessle himself had informed police about the artworks, following the hue and cry about the find in Gurlitt’s Munich flat – which only became known to the public last week – because he was “worried” about their security in his home.

    Earlier in the week officials downplayed the possibility of a second hoard of masterpieces but now the suspicion is rising that Mr Gurlitt – whose father Hildebrand was a Nazi-era art dealer with direct contact to Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels – may have more treasures scattered at secret locations across Germany."
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/second-haul-of-stolen-nazi-art-found-in-munich-1-3182986
     
  5. STURMTRUPPEN

    STURMTRUPPEN Member

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    how long had the art been sitting there before it was found
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    *bump* for an update
    "A German recluse accused of hording £1billion worth of art thought to be stolen by the Nazis is to get some paintings back, a court has ruled.
    Thousands of works by masters such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Otto Dix were discovered in the house of 81-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012 during a small-scale tax investigation.
    Gurlitt has now agreed to return any work which investigators can prove was stolen, but if there is no evidence of theft after a year then the paintings will be released to him."
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2600801/German-recluse-hiding-1billion-Nazi-art-collection-including-work-Picasso-Matisse-Dix-given-pictures-back.html#ixzz2yRMzd4Yn
     
  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    *bump* for an update.

    "Cornelius Gurlitt, who has died aged 81, was living the quiet life of a bachelor in his late 70s when, in 2012, his rented Munich apartment was found to contain a staggering treasure trove of lost art, much of it thought to have been looted by the Nazis; numbering nearly 1,500 works, it is reportedly worth up to €1 billion.


    Cornelius was the reclusive son and heir of Hildebrand Gurlitt, an art historian and picture dealer. Though his own grandmother was Jewish, Hildebrand operated under orders from Goebbels’s Propaganda ministry to amass Modern Art for the Führermuseum — in which Hitler planned to exhibit works plundered by his forces as they swept across Europe. In Paris after the fall of France, Hildebrand also worked with the Reichsleiter Rosenberg Taskforce to seize French assets.


    At the end of the war Hildebrand was captured by the US Army while hiding in the castle of Baron von Pöllnitz in Bamburg, Bavaria. Under interrogation he managed to convince his captors that his art collection, along with the detailed documentation of his transactions, had been largely destroyed during the fire-bombing of Dresden in February 1945. Hildebrand, instead of being considered an agent of the regime, was deemed a victim of Nazi persecution and subsequently released.


    The collection – including pieces by Renoir, Rodin, Courbet and Canaletto – then disappeared from public view for more than half a century, until a September evening in 2010, when Cornelius was stopped during a routine passenger check as he returned to Germany by train from Zurich. “He appeared nervous,” a customs official later noted."
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10811916/Cornelius-Gurlitt-obituary.html
     

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