NEW XMAS 2013 UPDATE ON THE GURLITT ART THEFT STORY-GERMAN SAVAGES

An art collector at the centre of a row over £1billion of masterpieces believed to be stolen by Nazi’s during World War II is the son of a dealer who pillaged remorselessly on behalf of Adolf Hitler, it has been revealed.

Customs officials in Germany seized the paintings from Cornelius Gurlitt, 80, from his flat in Munich but he is fighting to get them back saying they were collected legitimately.

It has now been revealed that his father Hildebrand was involved in the systematic looting of Jews across the Third Reich, according to Der Spiegel.

The Monuments Men moved into the Bavarian village of Aschbach in Bavaria in April 1945 and arrested the local Nazi party leader Baron Gerhard von Pölnitz who lived in the local castle along with art dealer Karl Haberstock and Hildebrand Gurlitt whose house in Dresden had been destroyed in the Allied bombing in February of that year.

A note from a Monuments Men team member found in an archive detailed the astonishing artworks found in the castle: ‘Rooms containing paintings, tapestries, statues, valuable furniture and documents from the belongings of two notorious German art dealers were found in the castle.’

Another reads: ‘A large room on the upper floor with 34 boxes, two packages containing carpets, eight packages of books … one room on the ground floor containing an additional 13 boxes owned by Mr Gurlitt.’ Most of these boxes contained pictures and drawings.

Gurlitt, they wrote, was ‘an art collector from Hamburg with connections within high-level Nazi circles. He acted on behalf of other Nazi officials and made many trips to France, from where he brought home art collections. There is reason to believe that these private art collections consist of looted art from other countries.’ Gurlitt was described as an ‘art dealer to the Führer.’

Cornelius Gurlitt, who would go on to inherit many of these treasures, was 12 at the time and living in the castle with his father.  Hildebrand was quizzed by the Americans in June 1945 and they noted he seemed ‘extremely nervous’ as if he was not telling them the truth.

‘Sitting Woman’ by Henri Matisse and a formerly unknown painting of French artist Marc Chagall were both discovered among the £1bn artwork that is believed to have been plundered from Jews during WWII.

‘It was during those days that Gurlitt, the ‘art dealer to the Führer,’ reinvented himself: as a victim of the Nazis, a man who had saved precious artworks from destruction and someone who had never done anything malicious,’ said Spiegel.

Gurlitt  said: ‘I had to decide between the war and the work for museums. I never bought a picture that wasn’t offered to me voluntarily. As I heard, laws were also enacted in France so that Jewish art collections could be confiscated. But I never saw it with my own eyes.’

Gurlitt, they wrote, was ‘an art collector from Hamburg with connections within high-level Nazi circles. He acted on behalf of other Nazi officials and made many trips to France, from where he brought home art collections. There is reason to believe that these private art collections consist of looted art from other countries.’ Gurlitt was described as an ‘art dealer to the Führer.’

Cornelius Gurlitt, who would go on to inherit many of these treasures, was 12 at the time and living in the castle with his father.  Hildebrand was quizzed by the Americans in June 1945 and they noted he seemed ‘extremely nervous’ as if he was not telling them the truth.

‘Sitting Woman’ by Henri Matisse and a formerly unknown painting of French artist Marc Chagall were both discovered among the £1bn artwork that is believed to have been plundered from Jews during WWII.

‘It was during those days that Gurlitt, the ‘art dealer to the Führer,’ reinvented himself: as a victim of the Nazis, a man who had saved precious artworks from destruction and someone who had never done anything malicious,’ said Spiegel.

Gurlitt  said: ‘I had to decide between the war and the work for museums. I never bought a picture that wasn’t offered to me voluntarily. As I heard, laws were also enacted in France so that Jewish art collections could be confiscated. But I never saw it with my own eyes.’

The Americans were more interested in Haberstock.  He later complained that they had underestimated Gurlitt’s role during the Nazi period. In a 1949 letter to a government official, he wrote: ‘I was able to prove everything, including, for example, that I was not the main supplier for Linz, whereas Mr Voss, during his short term in office, bought about 3,000 artworks and took over confiscated collections together with his main buyer, Dr Hildebrand Gurlitt.’  Linz was to the be the city where Hitler intended to build the world’s biggest art museum after the war.

Hermann Voss, a museum director from Wiesbaden, ran the art-buying programme for the Linz project from 1943 onward.  Gurlitt worked for Hitler through Voss, who served as a middleman.

One painting he bought at a rocket bottom price was by the Bulgarian painter Jules Pascin called ‘The Studio of the Painter Grossmann.’

In fact, Gurlitt bought the Pascin in 1935 for 600 Reichsmark, much less than it was worth, from a Jew called Julius Ferdinand Wollf, who would later commit suicide.  After originally confiscating it the Americans gave it back to Gurlit in 1950.

Under Hitler, Gurlitt was tasked to sell modern art – ‘Degenerate Art’ it was called by Hitler – abroad to bring in hard currency for the regime.  One man he fleeced out of drawings by Adolf Menzel was Erns Julius Wolffson, a Jewish doctor in Hamburg.

Spiegel also discovered Gurlitt senior struck up a relationship with Cornelius Müller Hofstede, a  Nazi in German Silesia, now Poland, appointed  to appraise the collections of persecuted Jews to sell on the open market.

‘It was also Müller Hofstede who obtained the Max Liebermann painting ‘Two Riders on the Beach’ for Gurlitt. A few weeks ago, the work was one of the first pictures from the confiscated Gurlitt collection in Munich to be shown at a press conference. The Nazis had confiscated it from sugar refiner David Friedmann, who died in 1942. Friedmann’s daughter was killed in a concentration camp in 1943,’ said Spiegel.

Gurlitt also bought a painting at a knock down price from a Jewish couple called the Kaims from Breslau who were later sent to the Warsaw Ghetto and then to the gas chambers at Treblinka.

The magazine also discovered he bought millions of marks worth of paintings under dubious circumstances from collectors in France.  In 1950, Gurlitt’s art was restored to him and he also made off with treasures he had hidden in an old water mill.

Spiegel said of him: ‘There are many examples of works that Gurlitt acquired under questionable circumstances. There are also a number of pictures hanging in German museums today, from Hanover to Wiesbaden, that were bought from Gurlitt. There are even pictures that Gurlitt bought for Hitler’s museum in Linz, which, because of their unclear origins, became the property of the state.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2529156/Father-loner-centre-1billion-art-hoard-committed-Nazi-pillaged-Jews-behalf-Hitler.html#ixzz2odQTMz6E

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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2529156/Father-loner-centre-1billion-art-hoard-committed-Nazi-pillaged-Jews-behalf-Hitler.html#ixzz2odPsp9Q2
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2529156/Father-loner-centre-1billion-art-hoard-committed-Nazi-pillaged-Jews-behalf-Hitler.html#ixzz2odPsp9Q2
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One thought on “NEW XMAS 2013 UPDATE ON THE GURLITT ART THEFT STORY-GERMAN SAVAGES

  1. The Monuments Men movie will be criticized harshly as glorifies ineptitude and perhaps both unwitting and purposeful complicity with Gurlitt, et al.

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