Germany Hands Over 14 Nazi Looted Art Work to Rightful Heirs #germany #holocaust #announcements

Jan Meisels Allen


German authorities have now handed over all 14 works from the art trove accumulated by late collector Cornelius Gurlitt that so far were proven to have been looted under Nazi rule. In 2012, the public prosecutor's office searched the home of an 80-year-old man in Munich, suspecting him of tax evasion. Cornelius Gurlitt had been previously found carrying €9,000 ($9,900) traveling across the Swiss border by train. That led authorities to further investigate and finally search his apartment.  Cornelius Gurlitt, who died of heart disease in 2014, was the son of the Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, who was in charge of acquiring artworks for Adolf Hitler's planned museum.


Around 1,500 works of art were found there. Only 14 works by artists such as Max Liebermann, Henri Matisse, Thomas Couture or Adolph von Menzel have so far been officially identified as looted art. Of the more than 1,500 works of art in the trove, around 300 were cleared early in the investigation, as they were found to have been owned or commissioned by members of the Gurlitt family before the Nazis took power.


Culture Minister Monika Grütters said all of the pieces identified in a report earlier this year as stolen by the Nazis had now been handed back. The artworks come from a collection held by now-deceased Munich pensioner Cornelius Gurlitt — the son of a Nazi-era art dealer — which first surfaced 8 years ago.  However, the origin of many works — around 1,000 — remains uncertain. The art trove now belongs to the Museum of Fine Arts Bern, to which Cornelius Gurlitt had surprisingly bequeathed his collection before his death.

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Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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