Recovering art seized by the Nazis ...

Discuss whatever you want here ... movies, books, recipes, politics, beer, wine, TV ... everything except classical music.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 18478
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Recovering art seized by the Nazis ...

Post by Lance » Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:37 pm

Having been among the first to see a new film, The Rape of Europa, featuring one of the "Monument Men" involved, Professor Kenneth C. Lindsay of Binghamton University (now retired, aged 86, and a personal friend), I was interested in learning more about these unsung heros (Monument Men) who were responsible for recovering much/most of this precious artwork and getting it back to the original owners and museums. Considerable art was confiscated/stolen from the Jewish population of Europe, amongst many others including museums. Some individuals, of course, would never get it back because they were already gone in Hitler's Anschluss.

Two books of great interest on this subject are available and truly worthy of reading.

[1] The Rape of Europa tells of the fate of Europe's [art] treasures in the Third Reich and during World War II. It is by Lynn H. Nicholas and is available in paperback from Amazon for about $11.50/USD. This and the following book were what inspired the film, same title as this book.

[2] Rescuing da Vinci is by Robert M. Edsel with forewords by Lynn H. Nicholas and Edmund F. Pillsbury. This is the coffee table-top kind of volume that will be picked up time and time again. Full color photos (and many in black and white) are included. For about $35/USD, this can be delivered from Amazon post free in the USA. As the back jacket states: "Hitler's looting of art and the allies' rescue of it is the single most extraordinary 'untold' story of World War II."

I hate to give credit to any Nazi for anything, but Hitler, Göring and other of his staff, certainly had an eye/appreciation for great art. They literally took the very best to hide in the salt mines and elsewhere. Hitler, too, was an "artist," per se, but as is generally known, was declined entrance into a fine art school, which may have more than a considerable influence on him in taking the next steps he did. Naturally, much of the great art of Europe was lost to bombs, fire, looting, etc., and we will never really know what was lost forever. Fortunately, some photographs remain of the exceptional lost treasures.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Agnes Selby
Author of Constanze Mozart's biography
Posts: 5568
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:27 am
Location: Australia

Art

Post by Agnes Selby » Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:27 pm

Dear Lance,

I would like to tell you of one beautiful painting stolen by the Nazi and recovered here in Australia.

A distand relative of mine arrived in Sydney in 1947. She and her family were before World War II large land owners in Hungary. This lady became a corset maker and opened a corsetry shop in Sydney's Strand Arcade. One morning, as she was walking through the Arcade to her place of work, she spotted a familiar painting in the window of an art dealer. She recognised it as a painting she had once owned. She knew that at the back of the painting were certain markings which she would recognise.

The art dealer and my distant relative peeled off the back covering of the painting and there she found the identification she was looking for. The art dealer had bought the painting from a German migrant. However, he was a decent man and presented the lady with the painting as a gift.


Regards,
Agnes.

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:21 pm

Goring and Hitler were no great appreciaters of art. They were looters driven by hatred for their enemies, anti-Semitism, the advice of experts and in the case of Goring a pathological need to own valuables.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:50 am

Ralph wrote:Goring and Hitler were no great appreciaters of art. They were looters
They knew what would sell at high prices to continue to fund their operations. It was simple theft. If it had been gold, they would have melted it down and used the proceeds for the same purpose.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:22 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:Goring and Hitler were no great appreciaters of art. They were looters
They knew what would sell at high prices to continue to fund their operations. It was simple theft. If it had been gold, they would have melted it down and used the proceeds for the same purpose.
Oh, I don't know about that. I think Ralph made the important point and very well, which is why I did not comment before Corlyss' post. The idea of art being worth significant money postdates WW II, and even now, you could not fund even a popgun war on the proceeds of the recent sales of the likes of Mark Rothko.

If I had one thing to add, and while I'm here I might as well, it is to question how much expertise was needed to assist the likes of Goering in deciding what to pilfer. It would have been difficult for anyone who was not anencephalic to go into a European museum at the time and come out with anything but treasures.[/i]

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

pizza
Posts: 5094
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 4:03 am

Post by pizza » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:47 am

An interesting URL on the subject of Nazi looters and loot:

http://www.channel4.com/history/microsi ... days3.html

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:49 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:Goring and Hitler were no great appreciaters of art. They were looters
They knew what would sell at high prices to continue to fund their operations. It was simple theft. If it had been gold, they would have melted it down and used the proceeds for the same purpose.
*****

They got their gold from the teeth of murdered Jews and other victims.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Auntie Lynn
Posts: 1123
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 10:42 pm

Post by Auntie Lynn » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:52 am

I once watched a special which centered on the liquor mogul Bronfman who was highly instrumental in getting lost art restored, bless his little heart. I have been trying to track down a painting featured in the article - I think it's now in Boston on somebody's staircase, it's gradated shades of gray to black, cubism sort of thing - just frabjous!!

SaulChanukah

Post by SaulChanukah » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:53 am

Hitler and his Nazies were not artists!

THEY WERE DEMONS ANGELS OF DEATH MONSTERS!!!!!

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:38 am

SaulChanukah wrote:Hitler and his Nazies were ...

THEY WERE DEMONS ANGELS OF DEATH MONSTERS!!!!!
One could only wish this were so. Unfortunately they were just people like you and me.

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:46 pm

SaulChanukah wrote:Hitler and his Nazies were not artists!

THEY WERE DEMONS ANGELS OF DEATH MONSTERS!!!!!
I used to think that too, but subsequent developments have led me to the conclusion that they were ordinary humans doing one of the things that humans do best because nobody with more sense got between them and their victims in time for it to matter. That includes other ordinary but more principled Germans, other European states that had much to lose by not intervening even after it became obvious how dangerous the Germans were, and America too self-absorbed to play its proper role on the world stage.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:05 pm

Before this gets out of hand, the Nazi criminals were not ordinary people turned by circumstances. They were monsters whom the most bizarre circumstances brought to power. I cannot believe that I am refuting two posts by intelligent posters in stating something so obvious.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:07 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Before this gets out of hand, the Nazi criminals were not ordinary people turned by circumstances. They were monsters whom the most bizarre circumstances brought to power. I cannot believe that I am refuting two posts by intelligent posters in stating something so obvious.
After Cambodia, China, Russia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc. I can't believe an intelligent person like you doesn't get it.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

jbuck919
Military Band Specialist
Posts: 26867
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:15 pm
Location: Stony Creek, New York

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:11 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:Before this gets out of hand, the Nazi criminals were not ordinary people turned by circumstances. They were monsters whom the most bizarre circumstances brought to power. I cannot believe that I am refuting two posts by intelligent posters in stating something so obvious.
After Cambodia, China, Russia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, etc. I can't believe an intelligent person like you doesn't get it.
The fact that history has created many vacuums that could be filled by evil persons does not mean those persons were ordinary people pushed to the dark side. You and I are incredibly lucky to have lived in a civilization where this is impossible, and therefore we tend to view things within our frame of reference, feeling a relatively humanistic need to explain the egregious. I stand by my post.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:38 pm

jbuck919 wrote: I stand by my post.
Me too. To claim that the perpetrators of genocide are abnormal is to remove from the rest of us the necessity, the responsibility, to be vigilant, of ourselves, of others. If they are not us, only moreso, then how can we be responsible for recognizing them and destroying them before they realize their maximum potency? The answer is, we can't. That's too easy. I reject the concept that we are only innocent observers, rather than passive participants, when such people rise up. Their appearance puts our very humanity to the proof. "Good people" who do nothing is an oxymoron.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

SaulChanukah

Post by SaulChanukah » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:36 pm

In Judaism there is concept that is called “ Tzelem Elokim” which means the image of God.
What does this expression means?
It means that every human is created with this ”Image of God” . This “ Image “ has to be nurtured by acts of kindness and compassion and by living a spiritual life that is in accordance to God’s will. What happens then when people sin?
It is a known fact that people make mistakes and commit sins, as the famous wise of all humans King Solomon wrote :” There is no saint that will do (only) good and wont sin”. Then how does he get back His “image of God”? the answer is by fixing his ways and repentance. By acknowledging his wrongs and crimes and by filling regret and with a look to a brighter future void of acting criminally again, the sinner erases those sins and gets that “ Image of God” back to himself. But there are sins and there are sins. The famous Giant Theologian and Talmudist of the medieval period Maimonides known in the Jewish world as the holy Rabbi Moshe Ben- Mimon lived in Spain some 850 years ago, explains the many categories of sin and sinners , how there repentance work in relation to erasing sins . These many different circumstances and categories are codified in his magnum opus called in Hebrew as the “ Yad Hahazaka” and in English as “ The great hand” referring to the great hand of God hitting Egypt to free his people.

Clearly according to the Torah and the Ten Commandments the German Nazies have erased from themselves the “Image of God” that “Image” that separates humans from demons , monsters and animals.
Their sins were too great and brutal , their transgressions too vicious and notorious, their crimes were too
Evil and monstrous for meriting a way back , a small door of repentance. Some sins are too evil and they separate those who commit them from the general civil good people of the world that though are not perfect but they try to be on the side of good and they deplore evil and crime anywhere and anytime they see it.

The Germans and those who helped them ceased to be humans when they ceased to act like humans.
Humans and animals are very similar physically… one thing separates us from them and that is the soul that was given to us by God as Kind Solomon Declared “ :There is no difference between a man and an animal except the soul that is destined to give account and judgment in front the king of the king of Kings the God of Israel.”

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:47 pm

There are many books on the dynamics that led some men to be or abet murderers of millions. This is one book that should be read by all interested in the subject:

From Amazon.com:

Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (Paperback)
by Christopher R. Browning (Author) "IN THE VERY EARLY HOURS OF JULY 13, 1942, THE MEN OF Reserve Police Battalion 101 were roused from their bunks in the large brick..."

List Price: $14.00
Price: $10.50 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details
You Save: $3.50 (25%)
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

BWV 1080
Posts: 4451
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:05 pm

Post by BWV 1080 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:52 pm

jbuck919 wrote:Before this gets out of hand, the Nazi criminals were not ordinary people turned by circumstances. They were monsters whom the most bizarre circumstances brought to power. I cannot believe that I am refuting two posts by intelligent posters in stating something so obvious.
Truth is that there were both. From mild mannered technocrats like Eichmann to the criminal psychopaths that the Germans recruited from prisons to form Einsatzgruppen units.

Evelyn Laden
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:10 am
Location: Irvington, NY

Post by Evelyn Laden » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:06 am

While I've seen many cogent comments re the mentality of the nazis (I refuse to capitalize this category) above, no one has mentioned "The Banality of Evil," by Hannah Ahrendt. In her book she points out the sorry fact that people like those nazis can become the monsters they did given the banality of their personality and the opportunity to drive it to extremes. I always thought her insights were unusually sharp and largely, if perhaps not in every case, correct.

Mischa
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:37 am

Post by Mischa » Fri Apr 13, 2007 12:54 am

Considerable art was confiscated/stolen from the Jewish population of Europe, amongst many others including museums. Some individuals, of course, would never get it back because they were already gone in Hitler's Anschluss.
There's a Chicago Tribune article (2001) concerning stolen instruments (mainly violins) during the III. Reich, saying, Nazis even built a task force consisting of musicologists and scientists ("Sonderstab Musik"), that hunted and targeted precious musical instruments. For further interests you might be interested about the study of the dutch musicologist de Vries named Sonderstab Musik (click).

Kevin R
Posts: 1672
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 1:15 am
Location: MO

Post by Kevin R » Fri Apr 13, 2007 1:48 am

I would heartily second Ralph's recommendation of the Browning book. I would also suggest, for some interesting additional thoughts on this controversial subject, Eric Johnson's work (the Nazi Terror).

http://www.amazon.com/Nazi-Terror-Gesta ... 017&sr=1-1
"Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular."

-Thomas Macaulay

living_stradivarius
Posts: 6724
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:41 pm
Location: Minnesnowta
Contact:

Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:54 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
SaulChanukah wrote:Hitler and his Nazies were not artists!

THEY WERE DEMONS ANGELS OF DEATH MONSTERS!!!!!
I used to think that too, but subsequent developments have led me to the conclusion that they were ordinary humans doing one of the things that humans do best because nobody with more sense got between them and their victims in time for it to matter. That includes other ordinary but more principled Germans, other European states that had much to lose by not intervening even after it became obvious how dangerous the Germans were, and America too self-absorbed to play its proper role on the world stage.
Corlyss_D wrote:
jbuck919 wrote: I stand by my post.
Me too. To claim that the perpetrators of genocide are abnormal is to remove from the rest of us the necessity, the responsibility, to be vigilant, of ourselves, of others. If they are not us, only moreso, then how can we be responsible for recognizing them and destroying them before they realize their maximum potency? The answer is, we can't. That's too easy. I reject the concept that we are only innocent observers, rather than passive participants, when such people rise up. Their appearance puts our very humanity to the proof. "Good people" who do nothing is an oxymoron.
Well said. :)

The potential for "evil" exists in all of us. By deifying its existence we risk forgetting the dangers of our own actions.
Image

living_stradivarius
Posts: 6724
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:41 pm
Location: Minnesnowta
Contact:

Post by living_stradivarius » Fri Apr 13, 2007 5:10 pm

Evelyn Laden wrote:While I've seen many cogent comments re the mentality of the nazis (I refuse to capitalize this category) above, no one has mentioned "The Banality of Evil," by Hannah Ahrendt. In her book she points out the sorry fact that people like those nazis can become the monsters they did given the banality of their personality and the opportunity to drive it to extremes. I always thought her insights were unusually sharp and largely, if perhaps not in every case, correct.
Yes, she gives some striking examples of the contrast in human behavior under different circumstances -- even instances where certain Nazi rank and file individuals would realize the horrendous nature of their actions and attempt to subvert their commanders' orders.

A close friend of mine who survived the Mauthausen and Gunskirken camps recognizes this very aspect of human nature. His story: www.yellowstarfoundation.org
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests