The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered  |  Archives 
 
 
User: Guest

Home / News  % width posts: 14

Germany returns WW2 loot to Poland


jon357 63 | 14,149
1 Apr 2014  #1
Germany has returned an 18th Century painting that was looted from Poland's National Museum by the Nazis in 1939.
The piece by Venetian artist Francesco Guardi, entitled "Palace Stairs", was taken shortly after Germany invaded.
The small painting depicts noblemen talking at the grand stairs of Venice's Doge Palace. Berlin hopes the move will revive talks over some 300,000 documents, including manuscripts by Mozart and Beethoven, that it wants to recover from Poland.

bbc/news/world-europe-26829148

There's plenty in Germany that belongs to Poland, in Poland that belongs to Germany and in Russia that belongs to both. Russia will not negotiate in the foreseeable future, but good that Germany and Poland are sorting things out. The fascinating but mostly sealed esoteric, masonic and occult collection held in the Palace at Ciążeń was seized by the pre-war German state from organisations that in many cases still exist. No German museum has any interest in it, and nor does Poland. It's all catalogued and wrapped up carefully, with a small part of the collection available to view during pre-arranged visits. But there are people who would treasure some of the artefacts.

There's also huge amounts of art round Germany and the famous Berlinka collection. Now the two countries are friendly, perhaps it's time to do some housekeeping.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
2 Apr 2014  #2
There's probably enough looted art in this fellow Gurlitt's Munich flat to fill an entire museum, much of it doubtless taken from Poland:-)
Palivec - | 380
3 Apr 2014  #3
Hardly, since his father mostly collected German and French expressionists, and the collection was known to art historians.
OP jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Apr 2014  #4
Also, A lot of the stuff in his flat wasn't stolen. His father bought stuff legitimately as well as dodgily.
lunacy - | 73
3 Apr 2014  #5
There's a whole website dedicated to the wartime losses: MKiDN. They are putting there plenty of photographs with descriptions from the pre-war albums/catalogues/etc. but a lot of art wasn't documented that well.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Apr 2014  #6
Hildebrandt Gurlitt played footsies with the Nazis!! Don't tell me all that stuff's legit.
OP jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Apr 2014  #7
all

Read the post carefully before replying. Especially the phrase "a lot", which you seem to have read as "all".

Hildebrand Gurlitt (along with other family members who started collecting in the Nineteenth Century) was an art collector long before that regime came to power and afterwards too. Some of the works had even been seized by the post war authorities and returned to him because they were legitimately his. Only a small part of the collection was stolen and his son Cornelius has agreed to return those works.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Apr 2014  #8
I know that. I also know that his reputation was severely tarnished after the war. Though only a quarter Jewish, this nevertheless didn't prevent him from playing both sides of the fence!
OP jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Apr 2014  #9
Know rather than knew, I suspect. Regardless of his character, only a small part of the collection is illegal - and the son (who as far as I know is blameless) has no problem returning anything that wasn't bought and paid for.

The issue of looted art is more about older paintings and other artefacts in public rather than private hands. Russia is the worst offender - they still consider them spoils of war. Even Poland has art that was stolen from German citizens.
TheOther 5 | 3,606
3 Apr 2014  #10
Russia is the worst offender - they still consider them spoils of war.

That is true; not only for art. There are for example an estimated 300,000 protestant church books rotting away in Moscow archives that were looted by the Red Army.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Apr 2014  #11
In the case of post-war Germany, much of the looted art was in fact looted from both German-born Jews living in Germany at the time, as well as art from Polish collections (public as well as private) which were plundered by the Nazis (especially one Nazi, the "art lover" Field Marshall Goering!) during the war.
OP jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Apr 2014  #12
In the case of post-war Germany, much of the looted art was in fact looted from both German-born Jews living in Germany at the time

Indeed. Also distress sales (sold for a fraction of the value when people had to leave for the ghetto - an unfortunate amount of Polish families' real estate came like that) which was legal if not moral as well as from so-called abandoned homes, where people had fled or been taken away.

In Herr Gurlitt's inherited collection, a small amount was like that (especially from 'abandoned' homes in France) but most was bought legally on the semi-open market when public galleries sold off their modern art and anything else the regime disliked to private collectors.

The worst offender by far was Russia though who over several years was sending trainloads of booty back from Germany (and some from Poland) every day.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
3 Apr 2014  #13
A German acquaintance of mine once remarked that the way in which German troops ("allegedly") treated Russian prisoners of war was nothing compared with how cruelly the Germans themselves were treated while incarcerated in Russia during the last years of the war:-)

Apropos "booty art" (Raubkunst), this issue cuts both ways and obviously continues to stir up strong feelings almost sixty-five after the war's end! It also entails all sorts of side issues such as confiscated property of Germans who lived for generations in what is today Poland.
Palivec - | 380
4 Apr 2014  #14
The worst offender by far was Russia though who over several years was sending trainloads of booty back from Germany (and some from Poland) every day.

The same actually happened in Poland, and the issue is unresolved too. Until the early 50s trains full of artworks from the former German territories were sent to Inner Poland to fill the museums and churches there. The National Museum in Warsaw for instance houses the biggest collection of medieval Silesian art (which is mostly not shown), while Silesias museums are almost empty (which was no problem during the Socialist era). But there are requests mostly from Wrocław now to return these artworks, but Warsaw refuses and sees them as war reparations. Ironically then the same people, this was striking during the Kaczyński era, forget these artworks from Silesia, Pomerania and East Prussia and refuse to give the Berlinka or other collection back to Germany, citing the heavy cultural losses of Poland and the lack of reparations by Germany... while at the same time demanding the return of Polish works of art from Russia.

Basically, it's all a big mess.


Home / News / Germany returns WW2 loot to Poland
BoldItalic [quote]
 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary username or login and post as a member.