Dresden returns largest Holocaustart collection to owners
22 April 2004
DRESDEN – A city in Germany has officially handed over stolen Holocaust art to rightful Jewish owners, marking the return of possibly the largest private collection of art works that had been feared lost forever.
Berlin newspaper reports said the collection was worth millions and was “the largest private Holocaust art collection ever discovered”.
The collection reportedly was stolen from Max and Fanny Steinthal, a major Berlin banking dynasty who were co-founders in 1873 of Deutsche Bank, the largest commercial bank in Germany today.
The Dresden State Art Collection handed over 36 paintings along with 28 sketches, etchings, prints and other works, said collection spokesman Tilmann von Stockhausen.
The works had been discovered during an inventory of the collection in the wake of concentrated efforts to track down art illegally confiscated from Jews by the Nazis.
Among the art works are paintings by Dutch Masters, sketches by Pablo Picasso and works by French Impressionists.
They were returned to the heirs of a Berlin Jewish family, it was said.
The Nazis had taken them from the family and handed them over to an “Aryan” son-in-law for what was called safe-keeping until such time as their fate could be determined, von Stockhausen said.
When he fled Communist East Germany in the 1950s, the collection was seized by the regime in East Berlin.
“The collection was shipped to our collection, but was never listed in the official inventory,” he added. “It was only when we actually scoured the vaults for unlisted works that we found them and their documents of origin.”
Subject: German news